Saturday, February 26, 2011

Little Bison

While touring the Dakotas a few years ago, we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and were delighted by all the bison, big and small, who lingered by the side of the road and weren't shy at all.

This is for Weekend Reflections.

Friday, February 25, 2011

With These Hands

It is done - I've finished my first "real" page in my art journal. I had so much fun with it. For quite a while I wanted to start an art journal and never did, but the thought of it wouldn't leave me. When Soraya showed some of her art journal pages here, I was so inspired, especially by her "hand page", that I wanted to create something like that, using my hand. It feels just right for the first page (which is actually not on the first page but somewhere in the middle).

I'm linking this to JRU studio's Sneak Peek Friday - it is so interesting to see what everyone is working on and finding inspiration in different studios.

The Sky over the Pacific Ocean

Evening at the North Coast, near Jenner.

This one is for Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So far, Inspiration Avenue's challenges often were a real challenge for me or at least quite a stretch. This week I thought "I can't do it".

The theme is "Breathe". Oh jeez. No idea, my mind went blank, and I already thought that I'll miss this challenge. But somehow my subconscious wouldn't let go, and I remembered a picture of my daughter I had taken when she was only two and we were visiting the Garden Exhibition in Graz, Austria. Fortunately I had scanned all those slides and it didn't take long until I found it.

However, the picture was crap. Real honest crap.

But... hadn't I just taken an excellent Photoshop class with Kim Klassen? Hello?? Now was the time to see what I could do with that crappy photo.

The first day was just frustrating and I decided to give up. Did I mention my subconscious? That little bugger was not in any mood close to giving up but kept haunting me at night. When I remembered that Kim had talked about vignettes... So today I grabbed my notes and started anew, played with hue and saturation and those fantastic blending modes and finally added my vignette - of course it took forever, but I was so so happy when I was done, and also a little bit proud.

Please note the young lady's pinky.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Hello dear WOYWWers, how have you been doing since last Wednesday? I look forward to another bloghop around the world to have a peek at everyone's workdesk. If you came here by chance and want to know what I'm talking about, check out Julia's blog to get the full picture.

I have been trying to get into art journaling because I really like this way of artful expression. This is one of my first pages, and for this particular page I found the inspiration when I looked at Soraya's art journaling pages that she so generously showed here. On one of her pages she had painted her hand and that page really "jumped" at me and I had to try that as well. My hand turned out almost the same way as hers, only hers is so much more beautiful - she's a real wonderful artist. My hand will actually be the journaling part, I will write over the paint and fill the hand with my thoughts. The pink slip in the middle is just a blank index card that I painted with acrylic paint and then tried several of my pens on it to find out which one writes best on that kind of background. My pen of choice is the purple Uniball  vision elite. It writes smooth and fast, just what I like. To the left is the newest issue of Somerset's Art Journaling. I read a bit in it this afternoon when I took a break and sat outside, all bundled up, because it was kind of chilly but sunny. This magazine is fantastic, there is so much inspiration in there and wonderful techniques that are super easy and fun - I can't wait to get my hands on the next pages that are already building up in my head. But first I should finish this one, "with my hands".

Alright, thanks for stopping by, I hope I can visit many of you, if only I had more time. I want to thank you who always stop by my blog and leave those kind comments - you ALWAYS make my day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

When I woke up yesterday morning and looked outside, I saw this:

We had had one of the coldest nights - remember, this is California, so this is not our typical weather, even in winter. There are only a few days when the frost is as beautiful as this morning and of course, I had to take pictures.

This is what it looked like on the deck

I guess you know what this is

I had forgotten about the hook on the table.

The flowers were cold, too:

Then I took a picture of this:

which is completely unexciting. So I started playing with my lens...

...and remembered the lensbaby. It was fun to play around with THAT one.

There is a big tub filled with water in our yard. Of course there was a sheet of ice on the surface. The Geek and Kaefer started to play around with that, lifting out a few sheets since they couldn't take the whole thing.

They had interesting patterns

One looked like a bird (a woodpecker?)

And these are Kaefer's pajamas seen through one of the ice-sheets.

Makes a nice abstract, doesn't it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend Reflection

I'm quite happy that I'm finding some nice photoblogs out there in blogosphere where you can contribute with your very own shots. My newest discovery is Weekend Reflection.

This is a bridge over a reservoir near the town where I grew up in Germany. This photo is several years old when I still took slides, on a cold but clear winter Sunday afternoon.

You can see more reflection photos here.

I am also linking this to Sunday Bridges.

Skywatch Friday

A full moon for Skywatch Friday

Vision and Verb - Friendship

Today I'm over at Vision and Verb, writing about the friends who go and those who stay - the companions in our life. I invite you to come and read - and perhaps let me know what you think. Thank you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The other day I walked with a friend around the lake. It was early in the morning and the fog was still hovering above the water, creating such a wonderful mood that I needed to take pictures of it. I love how the trees faded in the background. Back home I played around with photoshop a little, pulled almost all of the color out of the picture and, using texture and blending modes, created this. I though it fits the Inspiration Avenue challenge this week which is "faded".

And the OWOH-winners are...

Onehundredandfiftyfour (154) names written on small orange strips and put into a red bowl...

my daughter pulled out eight of them...

these lucky winners will each get one of my tags:

Congratulations!!! The winners have already been contacted.

One World One Heart 2011

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, I'm so glad that you are here!
Like many of you who are stopping by, I'm participating in One World One Heart, the wonderful around-the-world-bloghop created by Lisa Swifka.

I'm Carola, a passionate photographer living in Northern California - however, I am a native of Germany , who came to the United States almost ten years ago, together with my husband and daughter. We're living a wonderful cultural mix of the "old" and the "new" world, treasuring our German customs and embracing the American ones. I'm also a mixed media artist, often including my photographs in my works. At the moment I'm also taking a class in Photoshop, learning how to transform photos digitally into little pieces of art. It is a fascinating journey that I thoroughly enjoy. There are so many things that inspire me - the warm colors of autumn, the birds in my yard, fog, the desert, poems... We love to travel, and whenever we can we pack the tent and the little camping cooker and off we go! Having lived outside my native country - I also lived for a while in Taiwan and Austria - I don't feel like a German nor an American, but more of a Cosmopolitan - I'm a citizen of the world!

Here is some of my photography and what I do with it:

Little Ginger

close-up of Jacob's beard

red wine

handmade greeting card using a photo of the Pacific Ocean

handmade greeting card using a photo of a winter sunset in Bryce Canyon

mixed media on canvas

mixed media on canvas

Now, I guess you are also interested to know what my "door prize" or giveaway is - here it is:

A handmade tag in my favorite colors. I have eight of these, so there will be eight winners. Here is a close-up:

The image in the tag  is NOT one of my photos; it's a sticker

In order to have a chance to win one of these tags, you just have to leave a comment to this post and a way how I can contact you. One of the OWOH-rules is that you MUST have an active blog if you want to enter the drawing, and I'll stick to that. And - this is worldwide! No matter where you live, I'll send the tag to you! The winners will be announced on my blog on February 17th (comments will be closed at 3:00pm PST) and I'll also contact them.

Now have fun looking around my blog if you like and checking out all the other participating blogs worldwide by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Really? It's WOYWW Again?

It feels like our last WOYWW was just yesterday, but no, it's already a week ago! Hello WOYWWers, do you feel like this as well? I bet many of you do.

I'm designing for my next class, "Greeting cards for spring and summer", simple and sweet. Since I love birds, they are my main focus for the spring cards - for me, birds and spring just belong together. The class will be in March and so far only one person has signed up. Doesn't look too promising at the moment.

Thank you for the many sweet comments about the bear photo that was on my table last week. If you want to see the end result - a very simple card - you can click here.

There are many more work tables to discover around the world - if you want to know where, you find directions at Julia's blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Furry, Furry

This week was NOT a very creative one for me - with the exception of the Inspiration Avenue challenge I didn't create at all. And even that took forever.

We still have sunny and pleasant weather here in Northern California, and I was afraid that the fruit trees would think it's already spring and start to bloom before I'm done trimming them. This is one of the garden chores I like the least, but I overcame my laziness and trimmed and pruned those trees - I'm almost done. This is the reason I didn't spend much time at my worktable. However, while I was doing this, I thought about the IA challenge's theme - "furry". Well, I was sweating out there and didn't like the idea of something furry at all! Oh boy, this was quite a stretch.

Animals are furry (well, not all, I know!) and the next thought was "bear" and then it slowly developed in my imagination. I finished the card yesterday - I took the picture of the bear in the summer of 2009 while visiting the Berlin Zoo during our trip to Germany. The bear is the heraldic animal of Berlin, although the most famous Berlin bear of course is Knut, the polar bear cub who was abandoned by his mom (he's not little anymore, but very funny). Anyway, I was quite happy to capture this bear this very moment where you can actually really see his eyes. So this had to be the picture for "furry".

And then I got the idea of taking a picture of the bear card with Kaefer's teddy bears sitting in the little rocking chair that I painted for her several Christmas ago. One picture turned into many, I had such a blast. In none of them you can really see the card, so here's a scan. Oh, and thank you for your patience to read through all of this...

I'm a little bit disappointed that you're not able to see his eyes in this picture - I lowered the resolution for the web.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Skywatch Friday - January morning

The sky wasn't really that interesting today, at least not in those moments that I had my camera... So I remembered photos I had taken in the early morning sometime in January. This is just as it came out of the camera.

I'm linking this to Skywatch Friday.

Winter Wonderland A-Z: Zion National Park

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WOYWW - Not Much

Hello WOYWWers, how are you doing? I hope you're doing fine and those of you who don't I hope you feel better soon.

Well, this week there's not much going on on my worktable.

I'm working on this bear who's picture I took in the Berlin Zoo almost two years ago - he will be the main part on one of my mixed media cards. Do you see the box of tissues? Well, we had quite a warm spell here in Northern California, some of the trees started to bloom (can you imagine?) and that means - allergies. I'm sneezing like mad and am on Claritin again. Drives me crazy, but things could be far worse, so I'm not complaining. By the end of the week there should be rain which we really need. Otherwise I'm afraid we're heading straight into the next drought.

I guess there are many many desks that are far more busier than mine, so check out the list over at Julia's blog and hop around the world! Have fun!

Winter Wonderland A-Z: Wood

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Make Tiramisu

Our family loves Tiramisu - real Italian Tiramisu. Many many years ago - sometime in the early 90's - I got a recipe for Tiramisu from an Italian family. I've never changed this one, stuck to it ever since, and it's a favorite in our family and with many of our friends. It is super yummy, has tons of calories (yes, not for anybody who wants to lose weight, but you need your little "sins", right?) and is so easy to make. The secret is in the ingredients of this guilty pleasure.

This is what you need:
hard Ladyfingers (NOT the soft ones! I usually buy a big package and use 2 layers)
4 super fresh eggs
500g mascarpone (the Italian one, or the one from Trader Joe's)
100g sugar
espresso (I usually use VERY strong coffee)
cocoa powder

Spread out the ladyfingers in one or two layers and soak with the coffee
(make sure they're not getting too wet).

Put the mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks in a bowl.

Mix together until smooth and creamy.

Beat the egg whites until stiff.

Carefully spoon the stiff egg whites under the cream.

Stop as soon as it is blended nicely.

Put a first layer of soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a deep dish.

Spoon a first layer of cream on top of it.

Add a second layer of soaked ladyfingers...

... and a second layer of mascarpone.

When you're done, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Shortly before serving, shake cocoa powder on top of the chilled cream...

until it is completely covered.

And then there's only one thing left -