Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pinocchio

While I visited some blogs today I noticed a photo on Kat's The Kat Eye View of the World, a blog that I read regularly. Kat's photo showed some wooden toy characters, one of them being Pinocchio.

"The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi - written in 1881 - is a very popular children's book in Germany. Kat's picture reminded me of our visit to Pisa in 2000 when then two-year old Kaefer checked out the little Pinocchio string puppets that were for sale almost everywhere.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Art Walk Friday: Halloween


This week's theme at Rhonda's Art Walk Friday is Halloween. During the last ten days I've joined Kim Klassen's Skinny Mini Photoshop class and was a bit overwhelmed by all what we learned - or were supposed to learn. I finally started practicing with some of my photos - this one was the first. This pumpkin sits right next to my front gate. We have quite some lighted Halloween decoration on my front porch and Kaefer and I love to lit the lights when it starts to get dark.

The Rain Has Arrived


The rain has arrived at our part of the West Coast. Last weekend was very wet, we had a couple of dry days during the week and now the next storm is here, providing gray days and lots of water pouring down onto us. It's going to be a pretty wet trick-or-treatin'.

But at this time I love the rain (this relationship turns around a little bit later in the rainy season though). The air is fresh after the rain and there are so many beautiful things to discover.

Like these flowers in my garden.



Or bubbles...


 ... and puddles


 Drops ready to fall...



 ... and little girls who love to play in the rain, racing their rubber duckies.
Even if they're already 12 years old.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coffin Tag

It's been some time since I participated in any challenges. But when Louise at Kard Krazy's newest Tag Tuesday challenge was "black and orange" I knew that I had to make a tag. I got the idea for the shape from Lou and Mel at Scrap-ology.


I had so much fun with this tag that I decided to make more and give them to my guests at our upcoming Halloween party. Here's an entire coffin full of bats and skulls.

Stamps are by Inkadinkado  (skull) and Zimprints (bat).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's on Your Workdesk?

Hello WOYWWers, I hope everyone is doing fine this week. Autumn is in full swing in my part of the world which means we had quite some rain.

Lovely to snoop around the world and look at other people's desks. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please hop on over to the lovely Julia at Stamping Ground to get the whole picture.

On my table today is one of the cards that I am preparing for my next card class that should take place next week, but enrollment is very low. The class is all about fall and giving thanks since we're having Thanksgiving coming up later in November.


And here are the finished pumpkins! Finally I did it. Molly wanted to know how I decoupaged the one pumpkin. Well, since this was my first time using this technique I'm not quite sure whether I did it correctly, but it worked for me.


First, I gessoed the papermache pumpkin and then painted it with acrylic paint (I chose the color 'pumpkin', how inventive is that?). Out of different autumn-colored scrap papers I had cut 1-inch squares (I originally had cut 1.5-inch squares which was too big for the 'curvy figure' and therefore had to cut down) which I glued down using regular gel medium. It gives you very sticky fingers indeed! Some green acrylic paint on the top and then a last top finish with regular gel medium (gloss). The whole process took several days because I had to let it dry in between.

I decided to decorate the second pumpkin with black rick-rack after I had painted it, and that worked fine and was super-easy.

That's it - have a great week and a wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Misty Hike



We are lucky to have a wonderful State Park almost at our doorstep. It's pure wilderness, with wonderful paths meandering up the hills and along the cliffs. I used to hike here a lot, often on my own, but over the past few years I usually hike with my friend J.

And so we did a few days ago, and it turned out to be a pretty misty hike. It was magical and beautiful.


The animals tend to come out in weather like this and they are not afraid of humans at all.
Like this buck, who completely ignored us.


Or this one, who crossed the trail right in front of us.


The bench you can see in the background is the spot where J. and I met for the very first time three years ago - she hiked alone, I hiked alone. She came over to the bench where I was sitting and we started chatting. We very quickly found common ground. We sat there and talked for a pretty long time until it was time for me to get back and pick up Kaefer from school. We exchanged phone numbers, and a few days later J. called me. From then on, we have hiked together, mainly in this park - it seems to be our favorite one.

So it's a hiking friendship. This is the only thing we do together - hiking, talking, having a nice little picnic at the lake, and more talking. It's amazing how close you can get by only doing this - there are no lunch dates, no shopping together, just hiking. Still, she is one of my closest friends. I can be the person I am in her company. And we both get excited when we see the animals - from small lizards with blue bellies to a lone coyote. Once we even saw a bobcat - and fortunately haven't met a cougar yet (would love to see one, though - from a safe distance).


I like the beautiful shapes you can discover here almost everywhere. Can you see the little junco?

And then we met this little guy who was quite curious and wanted to check us out.


I just love this place. It's calming and peaceful. I'm grateful that it is so close to home, such a treasure.
Nature IS most important to me,
and the older I get the less I can tolerate anyone who treats it like a huge trash bin.





What is your favorite place to go for a hike or a walk?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkins in the Mail

Last week I won my first give-away on a blog - a beautiful print of watercolor pumpkins that was painted by Rhonda of Roban Studio.


She also included this cute Halloween card that she made as well. I love her art, and she is also a fantastic photographer. You can check out her beautiful blog here. And - she has a very creative way of announcing her give-away winners!

Every Friday Rhonda does the Art Walk Friday where everybody can join in with whatever medium. This week's theme was "Fall". While at the pumpkin patch, I studied the sunflowers and took several shots of the big flower heads with the busy bees.


Thank you Rhonda - it was a good day when I discovered your blog!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Cats

Hello WOYWWers, nice to "see" you!

I hope you're all having a good week and enjoy this Wednesday's snoop around the world onto other people's workspaces. If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, hop on over to the lovely Julia of Stamping Ground to get the whole picture.


My work table is - empty! Can you believe it? I had to cancel my "Halloween Cats" card class at the Center, but after the cancellation I offered it at my home and I had four people sign up and it was a go. Of course I had to clear my table for that, which actually is a good thing to do every now and then. After each class I tell myself that I should never get the table messy again, but it only takes a very short time until we're back to the same old mess. I guess you know this circle...

These are the cards we made - fast and easy, clean and simple; the big tag was a bonus project:


I've also started working on one of the papermache pumpkins that were sitting on my table last Wednesday. I wanted to decoupage both, but after I had started with the first one I've decided to do something else with number two. What a pain!!! Currently the pumpkin looks like this:


I seem to run around with constantly sticky fingers...

That's it, girls! Have a happy WOYWW and I will "see" some of you today!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn Day

Herbsttag. This is my favorite poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, describing autumn in incredible beautiful and rich language. In our public library I found a translation of this poem - unfortunately it doesn't reflect Rilke's amazing lyrical language, but I think you can grab some of the atmosphere.


Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

Autumn day on the Neckarinsel in Tübingen, Germany

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yes, I can!

Today I want to share some exciting news with you. Recently I was invited to join Vision and Verb, one of my very favorite blogs. It is a collaboration of "women of a certain age" and its collaborators are a pretty international crowd. Back in September I wrote my very first guest post for V&V. Shortly after that Marcie Scudder sent me an email asking me whether I'd like to join.

This was the first time that my reaction was not "I can't do that" but instead a loud and clear "Yes, I want to do that!". Yes, it is a challenge for me and I'm a little bit scared, but at the same time I'm mighty excited.

One thing is sure: Your support has helped me a lot to get here. I was pretty intimidated when I started the whole blogging thing (thanks Kelly Rae!) back in July (only three and a half months ago, can you believe it?) and you came along with your openness, kindness and friendship.

My hope is that you will visit me at V&V (I'll be there every other week or so, starting this coming Saturday) and love that blog just as much as I do. And of course you will always find me here at my own blog.


Have a wonderful week and enjoy the autumn colors!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Yard Sale Finds

Recently I've enjoyed visiting yard sales again. Last Saturday, my friend Cece called me while snooping around some garage sales because she had discovered tons of rubber stamps that she thought I might be interested in. So I headed over - that lady had a huge amount of Stampin' Up stamps. Wow! I got several sets for a song.


So today the whole family joined the hunt. We had checked out the garage sales section in the local paper and planed the route. This doily was sold by a German woman and it reminded me so much of my childhood when this kind of doilies was quite popular. I've always hated them (they represent small-mindedness for me), but when I saw this one I thought what a cool pattern it would make on a paper if I sprayed it with Glimmer Mist! The little shells - well, I love shells, and I can alter the box they came in.


Of course I always look for books. On several blogs I had seen altered cardboard baby books, so I will use this one as my first try-out. Eric Carle is one of my favorite childrens' book authors; "slowly slowly slowly" could be my mantra. The other old childrens' book will be gorgeous for several projects and the big book on the left has blank pages of really good paper - an ideal base for an art journal!


Next - a real, used washboard. I hadn't seen these things in a very long time. While living in Taiwan in the early eighties I had to wash my clothes using a washboard because there were no washing machines, and boy! did I hate that. I didn't need any other workout beside doing laundry. This washboard here will be turned into decoration for the garden.


Finally, I found an unused, good-as-new Römertopf, made in Germany (of course). I'm dreaming up flavorful meals, roasted chicken with peppers and onions, a pot roast... mhm...


Talking about food, we had a German meal again a few days ago. Our neighborhood grocery store makes its own sausages, and this is a beer bratwurst. Of course we had to try it, with mashed potatoes and caramelized onions. It was good, although I found the sausage way too salty and also too spicy. However, at Trader Joe's I discovered Nürnberger Rostbratwürstle, I will give those a try and let you know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Surprise in the Mail

Yesterday I received the sweetest little surprise in the mail. Peggy of peggyapl seeds sent me an ATC that she made - can you see what it is?


It is the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. She was here back in the summer, posted a photo of it on her blog and asked where she was. Well, living so close to San Francisco and having a kid who loves to visit the Exploratorium (that is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts) it was not a big stretch for me. As a thank you for posting the right answer, Peggy sent me this ATC, made by her.

She lives in the Philippines and is an amazing painter. Whenever I visit her blog - usually on a Wednesday since she also belongs to the WOYWW-crowd - a new beautiful painting sits on her desk. Well - hop on over to her place and see for yourself!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Decoupaging Pumpkins

Good morning, WOYWWers -

yes, it's morning here, and I know, most of you probably already enjoy their afternoon tea. I'm still at my first cup of coffee!

So here's my desk this morning:


I'm decorating those paper mache pumpkins that glow in such a nice orange. I painted them with acrylic paint and now am going to decoupage them with all those little paper squares I'm currently cutting. I have no idea whether this will work out, I've never done this before. So it might be a disaster, it might be nice. We'll see.

If you want to peek at work desks around the world, hop on over to Julia's blog to find more!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere


On Sunday we went to the pumpkin patch. It's one of our favorite things to do in October.

It was a brilliant day, with a deep blue sky, bright sunshine and the temperatures were pretty high as well. It always seems to be hot when we visit a pumpkin patch - hot, dusty and dirty. And lots of fun.

Kaefer brought along her friend and both girls took off happily - first into the corn maze, an excellent one this year that kept us occupied for the better part of an hour. Our rule in a maze like this is to always stick to the right which really works, although I sometimes thought "hey, I've been here before". But can you really tell among all those high stalks of corn? This time, our rule worked again and we made our way through the maze.


There were farm animals to visit and hay bails to play on, but we headed straight to the patch and while the girls went on the search for the perfect pumpkin, the Geek and I were in photography heaven. The bright light, though, was quite a challenge! But who can resist that orange?


 Kaefer and her friend with their treasures.

 I love the details.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weekword = Senses

This week I've got an invitation from Christine at Silver Linings 4 ME to join her "week word", theme: senses. I almost didn't make it because this week has been so crazy. But hey, just a few minutes ago I found pictures that would fit SENSES perfectly. These are old pictures, actually old slides that I scanned - pictures were taken in 1996.



The streets of Cairo offer a feast for the senses:
people screaming, drivers who impatiently honk the horns of their cars, clapping hooves, the calling of the muezzin.
Beautiful people, brilliant colors, activity everywhere.


The smell of food and the taste of it. Dust, heat and dirt.
Utter chaos.

Life

Cairo is the most fascinating city I've ever visited.

Art Walk Friday

Rhonda's Art Walk Friday this week is all about fall. How much do I love those fall colors. While walking around the neighborhood a few days ago, looking for some nice autumn subjects, I suddenly saw these leaves in the beautiful light of the sun. I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but the colors really captured me.