Friday, November 26, 2010

WeekWord: Lacuna

Carmen at Tails of a Biomouse chose the word "lacuna" for this week's WeekWord.

Boy, that was a hard one for me - at first. It refers to a hole or gap or break, but I was still stuck. I had to consult my English-German dictionary and than the German dictionary to get the idea of the word. Next step was to go through my photo archive, looking for that natural hole or gap, those you stumble over all the time - and I think I've found some nice examples for "lacuna" in nature - at least as far as I understood the word.

So I just stop rambling here and let you look at my photos - hope you like them.


Slickrock in Canyonlands, Utah


If you want to see what other bloggers came up with, you can find a whole list at Carmen's blog.

Worthington Glacier, Alaska

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frosty Thanksgiving Morning

We woke up to a very frosty but beautiful morning.

The night was clear, no coastal fog, and that means frost. It also usually means a beautiful sunny day, but cold. The heavy wind seems to have disappeared, blowing somewhere else. I guess there's a lot of snow dumped onto the Sierra.

The reminders of summer looked pretty cold as well.

All the water was frozen including everything that it holds.

But the frost painted all these amazing pictures, I couldn't help but just love it. No matter the cold.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday? Again?

Hello WOYWWers, just a quick one today - it's Thanksgiving week, always a crazy busy time and I'm not even hosting a Thanksgiving dinner but we're going to spend Thanksgiving with friends in town - wonderful German-American company. It means bringing a SpiceNogg cake from Trader Joe's and some red cabbage, that's it. Easy, huh?

Okay, so this is what's on my work table:

I'm working on the St. Nick's presents for my neighbors. In Germany, all the children put out a shoe on the evening of December 5th, and during the night St. Nicholas comes by and fills the shoe with sweets that the kids find in the morning. After we had moved here, I introduced a slightly altered version into my neighborhood, leaving some kind of German sweets at my neighbors' doors. This year it will be a little bag filled with sweets plus these bottles with cocoa powder and marshmallows in them. The bottles are Starbucks Frappuccino bottles.

The finished bottles will look like this:

If you want to see what work tables around the world look like, hop on over to Julia's Stamping Ground to find a complete list.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Home

Today I'm over at Vision and Verb, pondering the possibility of owning a home. Why don't you come over and visit?

Friday, November 19, 2010

WeekWord: Rock

Maria at Simply Cool Stuff chose the word for this week - rock.

The very first thought that shot into my head was 'Rock', the German word for skirt. A rock is 'Felsen' or 'Stein' - completely different words.

Second thought - rock 'n roll.

As a third thought I saw a beautiful little spirit rock with an engraved coyote that I bought several years ago at some Native American store and that I carry around with me pretty often. And this rock stuck with me.

The coyote is one of my favorite animals in the wild - and a wonderful spirit animal of the Native American World. No one other than painter and children's book author Harriet Peck Taylor can describe coyote better than she did in her note to her book "Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies":

"Coyote is a popular character in Pueblo legends as well as in tales of other native peoples. Most often he is called the Trickster. But he is more complicated than that, and therin lies his appeal. He frequently brags and gets himself in trouble, but he is also courageous and has magical powers that he sometimes uses to help others. He does not always follow the rules, but sometimes acts in bold, impulsive ways. Often foolish and lazy, he is full of life and we can see ourselves in him. Coyote makes us laugh and can teach us about ourselves and the world around us."

I love the special spirit of Coyote, and this rock is my spirit rock or worry stone. It pretty much lives in the pocket of my jeans where I can always feel it or touch it when I need to. Its smooth and fits perfectly inside my hand. When I have it with me, I feel Coyote's magical powers, his courage and boldness, but also his wit and his liveliness.

Each one of us has her own rock. If you want to read more, look at the list on Maria's blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Tuesday Challenges

Over at Kard Krazy the challenge for this week is to create just the background of a tag because often a background is beautiful in itself. So true. I've chosen a snowy background - I'm really getting in the Christmas groove. I guess it's about time.

I put snowflake templates on the tag and then sprayed it with Glimmer Mist in frost, then stamped a snowflake (Paper Candy) in silver metallic randomly all over. As a finish I added a white snowflake embellishment that I tied to the ribbon.

Tuesday Taggers wanted to see the word Love, Peace or Joy on our creation. Here is my little ornament - gessoed first, than painted with garnet metallic acrylic paint. The angel (Tin Can Mail) is stamped on a piece of cardstock that I distressed (mustard seed, tattered rose) and colored a little bit. Some patterned paper glued to the star, topped with the angel panel, the letters for the word "joy" and a poinsettia.

This is my 100th post!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another Wednesday

... and we all know what that means! Snooping around the world's crafters' workdesks and get inspiration from everywhere! If you want to see what artists and creative souls around the globe are doing this very Wednesday, hop on over to Julia's Stamping Ground for a list that seems to grow longer and longer every week.

I took a break from the little angel ornaments - I have to work on their hair and I'm still not quite sure what to do. So I decided to prepare my next class, Christmas tags. Enrollment for that class looks good at the moment, so it actually might be a go.

This is the stuff that I pulled for the class, now I "only" have to design the tags and put the class kits together.

My Autumn greeting cards class at the center was cancelled (again!), so last Monday I offered it at home and had a full class! Here are the cards we created that evening:

Short and sweet today. Happy WOYWW!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New WeekWord Host

The wonderful Maria at Simply Cool Stuff will be our next host for the WeekWord.

Please hop on over to her beautiful blog on Monday and find out about the new word. Please remember to leave a comment for Maria if you want to play.

I very much enjoyed being host this past week. I enjoyed reading and seeing all of your thoughts about November.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Inspiration Avenue's weekly challenge really got my thinking cap on this week. "Community" is the theme, and if possible connected with food. Think Thanksgiving, huh? After all, it's November. But I thought there must be more to it than a turkey and a friendly gathering of family and friends.

And I remembered the third weekend in December back in Tübingen, Germany, where I spent twenty years of my life. It's a medieval university town with its typical old buildings that look like they're straight out of a fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers. Narrow lanes wind among those houses and cars are not allowed within the city center. It's a huge pedestrian zone that makes wandering the old alleys so peaceful.

This is the setting for one of the most beautiful traditions of the town: the Christmas Market. It's nothing like its big siblings in Nürnberg, Stuttgart or München and so many other cities. First, it only takes place from Friday to Sunday and not weeks and weeks and weeks. Second, it's not commercial. There are tons of local artists who sell their work, school classes who raise funds for their annual end-of-the-year trip, small local environmental groups who fight for preservation, neighborhoods who try to raise awareness and money for the disabled - the list could go on and on.

So that's the eye-candy. The next is the food - just one word: delicious. The food is mainly local specialities, the best time to eat "Bubaspitzle mit Sauerkraut" (a thin rolled kind of potato pasta with sauerkraut and sometimes bacon), one of my fondest memories in the food department. There was a guy with a complicated portable special oven who made Swiss Raclette that was to die for. Of course there was Glühwein (mulled wine), very welcome in the cold. None of the food or the drink was allowed in any kind of plastic or paper container, everything had to be re-usable! So you bought a beautiful mug with the words "Tübinger Weihnachtsmarkt" written on it and this could be refilled at any booth that offered Glühwein or juice punch (I still have half a dozen of those mugs - each year has a different color). Most of the plates were eatable - envision big sturdy waffles for apple strudel! No trash!

Throughout the market you could listen to music. Children were singing, little choirs stood at the fountain in the market square, someone played the violin, another one the bagpipe, and again another one the flute. There was a cantata concert in the main church. There were jugglers and clowns. It was a very festive atmosphere.

We felt like community, we were community. People spending three days in the cold in order to help someone else. To serve others. To share stories. To entertain children and their stressed parents. To bring smiles on the cold faces, red cheeks from the mulled wine.

That third weekend  in December, no matter whether the sun was shining, it was raining or snowing, was spent in the streets among those medieval buildings. It was freezing cold - always. But everyone was there. Community.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


 I selected November as the WeekWord. Why?

November had never been one of my favorite months. I experienced 40 Novembers in Germany, and what I remember is grey, grey, grey. The first frost, the first snow.

Chaos on the roads in the early morning on your way to work. Going to work in the dark, coming back home in the dark. The sun played somewhere else. It was just the beginning of the long and dark season, while completely lacking the warmth of Christmas and being burdened down by somber holidays, only lightened up on Martinstag (I blogged about that special day on Vision and Verb).

Then I moved to California, and suddenly November became something different - often the first rain, desperately needed after months of drought, and oh how lovely is that sound of rain! No more heavy religious holidays, but a celebration of gratitude, a gathering of family and friends. Stunning autumn colors that always amaze me. Autumn at its almost best (nothing can beat October, though).

And through the viewfinder of a camera, both Novembers can look fabulous and give both their very own right. Grey and color, frost and sunshine.

 Please take a look what other bloggers' thoughts on November are. Here are the players:

Christine at Silver Linings 4 ME

Rhonda at Musings on Art

Sally at  Sow and Sew

Mandy at Mandyland

Maria at Simply Cool Stuff

Sally at  Diario

Cath at Musings in Mayhem

Joye at Joyefulart

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wow - it's WOYWW

Hello WOYWWers, how are you doing? I hope you are all doing well and for those who aren't I wish that you will be better soon.

Sorry I missed last Wednesday, life got in the way (again), but I'm happy to be back today! If you have no clue what I'm rambling about, just hop on over to Julia's Stamping Ground to get the full picture.

So what's on my desk today (or yesterday evening when I took this picture, it hasn't changed much since then)? Angels!!! I've joined Louise Gale's Creative Color Challenge Ornament Swap and am preparing these angels as my contribution. I have loved these little guys since my daughter was a baby. I found the template in a German crafting magazine and since then have made an angel for her window every year for Christmas. This is the first time, however, that I add some painting.

THIS came in the mail and shows how hopping around the desks on Wednesday can directly effect you. Sometime in September Michelle at Thistles happy place posted some crafty stuff that she got and I left a comment that I like the sticky ribbon (on the left). She then asked for my address and mailed me the ribbon PLUS all the other yummy stuff that you can see here. Now, how sweet is that? Thank you so much, Michelle, I love my new stash!

I hope to visit as many of you as possible - I have several projects going, but I'm sure that every little break will be spent at the computer, hopping around the world. See you there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Frame within a Frame

Last week, Kat of The Kat Eye View of the World wrote about her compositional technique "a frame within a frame" when taking photos. I was very intrigued by her post, and when I went through my archive afterwards I realized how often I have used this technique myself. Never before had I given it a name! Now I can show my own frame-within-a-frame-photos. Like the one on top - the view from Tabgha church onto the Sea of Galilee.

Bebenhausen Monastery near Tübingen in Southwest Germany, where I used to live for twenty years (in Tübingen, not the monastery).

 Tintern Abbey in Great Britain

 This is Big Ben seen through the legs of Winston Churchill (well, the statue of WC).

Here I framed the Empire State Building.

 The view of the Old City of Jerusalem seen through the window of the Dominus flevit chapel.

A street corner in Prague reflected in a traffic mirror.

Sometimes your own equipment can help you to make a frame.
I used a fisheye here and didn't take down the lens hood.

Nature is a great frame creator - a natural bridge or arch in Bryce Canyon opens the view to the trail in Queens Garden.

 El Capitan in Yosemite seen through the broken stump of an old, burnt down tree.

The overhanging branches of a tree frame the sunset at Kölpinsee in East Germany.
If you look close, you can even see kind of a heart shape around the sun.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New WeekWord: November

Christine over at Silver Linings 4 ME has asked me to host WeekWord this week. My chosen word is NOVEMBER.

November is such a weird month. Its reputation of grey, cold and monotonous days is nothing to be proud of. For many it's the crossover from the last glorious autumn days full of color to the short days and long nights of a cold winter. A month everybody wants to get over with quickly. Really?

On the other hand, at least in the US, November provides us with one of the most beautiful holidays, Thanksgiving, a gathering of friends and family, a time of gratitude, a feast for the eye - and the belly.

It was these opposites that made me chose NOVEMBER as our WeekWord. What are your feelings about November, what does this month mean to you?

Express it on your blog and let us know about it, share it with this community by Friday, November 12th. Everybody can join in. Leave a comment to this post with your URL so that I know that you're participating. In the evening of Thursday, 11/11, I'll post a list of everybody's blog so that we can visit each other and share our thoughts.

I look forward to it - hope you do, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happiness is...

I just discovered Inspiration Avenue less than 24 hours ago. They have weekly challenges that sound tempting and so I decided to join. Since they close on Sundays at 12:00 EST I knew that I have to post by tonight - and my design is clean and simple, the way I like it best. It's a card I think cat lovers would like.

I sprayed the background with Glimmer Mist in sweet clover and patina, then stamped the birds at the birdbath (Inkadinkado) with Distress Ink black soot.. The cats (Inkadinkado) were stamped on cardstock that I had inked with Distress Ink in wild honey. Finally I tyed the words, inked the paper with Distress Ink in mustard seed and shabby shutters and ahered to the card with foam tape.

Fast and simple. A fun challenge.

Nights of Lights

Today I'm over at Vision and Verb writing about a beautiful tradition in Germany that lights up the long November nights. Please come over and join me!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Art Walk Friday: Blue

Rhonda's theme at this week's Art Walk Friday is "blue". My contribution are photos from two very different parts of the world.

The Red Sea as seen from the Sinai peninsula, Egypt

Icebergs of Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska

If you want to participate in Art Walk Friday or just want to see what others have created, hop on over to Rhonda's blog.


This week's word for WeekWord is abundance, chosen by the lovely Christine at Silver Linings 4 ME.

There is a lot of abundance in my life - love, friendship, interests, books, nature - but at this time of year I'm so delighted by the abundance of COLOR that I chose to focus on that.

The beautiful colors of autumn - nothing beats that.