Thursday, March 31, 2011

Self Portrait? Hm... Not Quite

"Self Portrait" is this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue. O-kaaayyy.

Easy, right? Just stand in front of a mirror and click away with the camera. Sure, no problem.

The thing is, that wouldn't be a challenge for me. I did that several times when I had finally hung up the mirror that I had found at IKEA and loved so very much, as I told you here. I wanted something more... daring. Something I hadn't done before. Something that for the longest time in my life I had convinced myself I couldn't do.

So I tried. In my art journal that is mostly for my eyes only and no-one would ever see it without my agreement.

Well, it doesn't really look like me. The hair, though, comes pretty close, not quite as red perhaps. But honestly, I don't care if it doesn't look like me. It's my first attempt and for that it's quite decent. I did my best - and I discovered how very very cool charcoal pencils are. So forgiving!

Here it is, the self portrait of Carola Bartz, as she sees herself in March 2011:

Have you done a self portrait of yourself? Does it look like you? Do you like it, no matter what?

I'm linking this also to Paint Party Friday, Sneak Peek Friday, and Creative Every Day.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Hello dear WOYWWers, how are you today? The last two days we had lovely weather and I'm hoping that it will keep like this since I am a bit tired of all the rain. I know that I have no real reason to complain, we're living in a wonderful place with great weather most of the year - I actually sound like a spoilt Californian, and I don't like that at all!!!

Perhaps some of you feel like I do - I can't get Japan out of my mind. This triple disaster has touched me in a way that is quite new to me. Perhaps it is the dignity of the Japanese people; perhaps it is me getting older. I don't know and the why really is not that important. I have these feelings; and finally I took out my watercolors and just put to paper what I felt - a big wave that got angrier with every single stroke.

During the past few days I have prepared my German class that I'm starting to teach tomorrow evening. It's called "Survival German" and is a six-weeks-course for people who want to travel to Germany (or German speaking countries) and learn some expressions, sentences, useful words, small conversations and lots of information about the country and the culture. I have been teaching this class since 2003 and am constantly changing it, learning from my students. Most of all, it's a lot of fun.

Now I guess you want to go on and see other interesting and creative desks around the world. Thanks to the wonderful Julia we come together every Wednesday and visit each other - please join us.


Signs of Spring

Cherry blossoms

After all the rain we had, the last two days brought sunshine and the temperatures are rising. What a difference two days make! Out in my backyard spring has definitely arrived - I'm quite excited about the new growth I discovered!

The peonies have developed little buds - these are dark magenta.

The French Lilac already has flowers, and oh! how do I love its scent!

Clematis come out of the ground again and start to wind around the apple tree - in the fall they show tiny white blossoms that the bees love.

I can't wait for the wisteria to bloom. It's climbed into the dead cherry tree and is stronger than the tree now, threatening to topple it over, so I have to cut it back hard after the bloom and remove the tree.

Another clematis, huge deep pink flowers.

This is a climbing hydrangea right next to the bench in one of the shady corners.

The bees were buzzzzy in the pear tree.

Are there signs of spring where you live?


Monday, March 28, 2011

Made in Germany 2

The building where this wisteria grows up against was in the next village. I often walked there when Kaefer still was a baby, pushing the stroller along - it was a 30 minute walk over there. This village - called Poltringen - had one of the best organic shops, called Mühle (mill) and I loved to buy fresh produce and fruit there. Usually, on our way back, Kaefer would eat all the strawberries (they were so delicious) and present her red stained clothes to me with a huge red smeared smile on her face.

Happy days.

Do you have anything German to share? A photo, a story, a memory - just leave your URL in the comments and we'll come and visit.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hello Spring!

"Hello Spring" - this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue

Well, there still is not much of spring over here, so it doesn't look like in this photo at all. I took this picture exactly a year ago and at that time my little garden was just beautiful. When I look outside now I see a lot of green, but the only other color I see is the orange of the calendula (they are so reliable) and some early tulips as well as the blossoms on the pear tree and a few shy ones on the cherry tree. It certainly is a much slower start than last year. The good thing is that I don't have to water which is always a blessing - nature is providing for that (I have a low-water garden anyway).

Just to give you an idea what it looked like a year ago:

It isn't almost close to that this year. I look forward to sunnier and warmer days and all the color in my yard.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Skywatch Friday - After the Storm

Montana's Glacier National Park

We had just experienced a thunderous rain going up the road to Logan Pass from the north-east when this beautiful rainbow appeared. Unfortunately we couldn't stop since there was a road construction with just one lane, so the earliest time to leave the road was at the parking lot at Logan Pass. The view still was stunning.

For more sky photos please go to Skywatch Friday.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WOYWW 94 - Spring Cleaning

Books books everywhere...

Hello WOYWWers!! I hope you are all doing well. Lots of thanks for all your nice comments on my second girl last week. They really mean a lot to me. You are all so lovely!!

So what's on my desk this week? Actually - nothing!

We're having spring break this week. We were thinking about where to go - Kaefer wanted to go into the snow again, both the Geek and I wanted to go camping in Anza-Borrego in Southern California. Well, we were too late for Tahoe, and the weather forecast was full of rain for Southern California and I really don't like camping in the rain. Then I came up with a REALLY GREAT IDEA - we would stay home and DECLUTTER and CLEAN the house. Honestly, I didn't like anymore what the house looked like, we definitely had way too much stuff and I felt like living on a dump (OK, I'm exaggerating a little bit). I was dreaming of a clean house where you could get from one room to the other without falling over something or moving something in order to reach the printer or just run into stuff.

And you know what - they reluctantly agreed, with long faces and lots of eye-rolling.

Yesterday and today I worked on the bookshelves in the family room. This is what it looked like:

Horrible, right?

I cleaned out all the books and started to organize them. I made alphabetical piles, decided which books I want to keep and which ones would go to the thrift store.

There were books everywhere -

against the wall -

and right at the front door.

The books in this box will go to the thrift store.

Then I sorted everything back on the shelves. After a few hours it started to look really nice:

The little containers on top of the shelf hold sand and soil from places I visited.

I'm still not done, but I'm certainly on my way. I hope to show a final picture next week.

But you came here to see a desk - so sorry. However, if you visit Julia's blog you find a very long list of wonderful people and their desks to visit around the world. Have fun! And thanks for stopping by.

Happy WOYWW!!!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Made in Germany 1

As you know I'm from Germany, and I had this idea to start a series of pictures from Germany, perhaps even accompanied with some words (don't worry, the words will be in English). I looked through my pictures and think that I have enough pictures to get me going for many weeks and hopefully still keep your interest.

Every Monday I will post one picture "Made in Germany" and if I have something to say, I'll do so. If YOU have a picture taken in Germany or of something German or want to share something German, you are welcome to join - just leave the URL in the comments section.

The photo above was taken in the Black Forest, certainly one of the more famous parts of Germany. I used to live close to the Black Forest and often on the weekends I would drive out there to hike or just enjoy the forests and the splendid views. It was my way of "fueling up" between the work days.


Friday, March 18, 2011

What's in the Box ???

The mailman brought a big box to our house - and it wasn't for the Geek neither for Kaefer, but for ME !!!

About a week ago I had won a giveaway on Marianne's blog Life@RuffHaven, a big box filled with goodies. I knew what some of the goodies were, but Marianne was clever and told me that in addition there were many more things I would certainly love for making any kind of mixed media art.

How right she was!

I unpacked the box - and felt like a kid in a candy store.

There was sticky-back canvas, nature papers, stickers and fabric...

... canvas and ribbon...

...beautiful border punches (hello Martha!), more ribbon and brushes...

as well as dimensional stickers, die-cuts and beads.

But this is not all of it. There were two items wrapped in tissue paper:

One was pretty easy to guess - six Mars bars. I had seen one Mars bar on her desk in one of Marianne's photos for WOYWW and had commented how much I like them and that it's difficult to get them here (except at Powell's Sweet Shoppe, and we don't have one in our town). This was BEFORE I had won the box and I had never thought that she would remember that - isn't she a sweetie?

But what came out of the red tissue paper was the sweetest, most thoughtful little gift: 

One of Kelly Rae Roberts' adorable girls.

Marianne and I both took Kelly's Flying Lessons, and Marianne actually was one of the first people to leave a comment on my fresh new blog and she welcomed me in the blogosphere. Since then we have kept in touch and sometimes exchanged e-mails in addition to visiting each other's blog. She is a wonderful warm woman who has a very special love for dogs, and it's a delight to visit her blogs. If you want to "meet" her just hop over and look around at her place.

Marianne - when I unpacked this box I was almost speechless (which doesn't happen very often, believe me). This is such a delight, and I can't wait to play with all of my new toys. The Girl will get a special place in my studio where I can see her every day and remember these wonderful connections I've made in blogland. You are a wonderful blogger buddy and your warmth and generosity has brought so much light in my life.

Thank you so much my friend!



Today I'm over at Vision and Verb, writing about special beacons in the night.


Skywatch Friday: Sunset

During my thirties I lived in a small appartment almost on top of Schloßberg (castle hill) in the southwestern German town of Tübingen. The biggest window was facing west as was my terrace, and from there I often witnessed the most beautiful sunsets. I loved living there for this gorgeous view alone.

I'm linking this to Skywatch Friday - there you can see many stunning photos of the sky.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WOYWW 93 - Another Girl

Hello WOYWWers, thank you so much to all of you who visited my desk last week and left those super nice comments on my first Girl. You are such a sweet crowd! This really is the encouragement that I completely appreciate and each one of you really made my day!

Today I just finished my second Girl - she also is a result of the wonderful She Art Workshop with Christy Tomlinson. This time we added a scene to the background, and I totally loved it. This is already the last week of the class, I'm really sad that it will be over so soon. The good thing though is that the classroom is open for another two and a half months - until the end of May. This is exciting.

If any of you think about taking this class, I can highly recommend it. Registration for the next class is open, and all the information about it you can find here.

Now go and hop over to all those other desks - you can find a list at the lovely Julia's blog.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Working With Cork

Kaefer found some of the cut up corks the Geek created :

Since she wants to make a cork board, she was ready to make her very own designs.

The only thing you need - beside the cork of course - is a magnifying glass and the sun. Collect the sun rays in the magnifying glass and direct them to the cork. The moment you see smoke, guide the cork with your fingers to "paint" your own design. Make sure to wear sunglasses - it's extremely bright!

Kaefer made this beautiful swirl:

I love her creativity.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Second Girl - WIP

I'm late this week for Sneak Peek Friday over at JRU Studio. All morning I was reading and trying to get more information about the enormous earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan. Living in earthquake country myself, every earthquake hits home with me. Christchurch in New Zealand only a short time ago, and now Honshu. My heart goes out to the people in Japan, my thoughts are with them.

Therefore, I went to my blog only half-hearted and then decided to leave it all together. In the afternoon, my husband's company had an Open House for the families of the employees, there were tours and demonstrations about the products they are developing. Interesting enough, they talked about GPS that have the ability to measure along fault lines that can trigger earthquakes like the San Andreas fault. I wish there was a device that could give us an early enough warning of earthquakes, more than just a few seconds (although, if you get a signal for example through a special tone on your cell phone, 10 seconds would be enough to dug under a desk - an early warning system, by the way, that is already practised in Japan and unique in the world).

Compared to this disaster, my efforts of creating some art appear meaningless and small. I was struggling all day whether I should even blog about it and then decided to do it, against all odds.

This is my second girl I'm creating as a result of the She Art Workshop by Christy Tomlinson that I am currently taking and that gives me so much joy (you can find my first girl here). As you can see, this is a work in progress, the girl is not even glued down. I enjoyed making the background on a 10x10 canvas and getting my hands dirty again. I think what I really like about this work is how my hands are getting into the paint, how messy they get, it's downright dirty and incredible satisfactory. Honestly, I feel like a child who got permission to play in the mud to her heart's desire. I used some stamps (the houses, tree and flower heads) because I'm not good at drawing/painting (which would be the right word?), paper and acrylic paints. Next I'll work on the girl; I wonder how she will turn out in the end. I'm a slow worker, I really enjoy the process.

Actually - I'm really glad I blogged about this. Somehow I feel better now. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Hello WOYWWers, are you ready to hop around the world? Take a peek at other crafty people's desks, thanks to the wonderful Julia of Stamping Ground who gathers a whole lot of those people on her site. Take a look and have fun visiting all those creative spaces.

Perhaps some of you remember what was on my desk last week:

Over the past few days I continued working on this canvas - I'm not a very fast worker, especially not when there are so many other things to do. Yesterday it looked like this:

And today, I was finally able to finish it.

This is my first canvas for the She Art Workshop with Christy Tomlinson I'm taking at the moment. Her girls usually don't have faces, but I couldn't leave my girl without any kind of face. I haven't painted faces before and I practised a lot until I just did it - nothing elaborate as you can see - and I'm quite happy with the result. I had incredible fun creating this canvas, playing around. I looked forward to it every day. I'm so glad I signed up for this class.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I had read on Gina's blog about National Day of Unplugging and thought what a wonderful idea that was. I'm spending so much time on the computer, especially right now because I'm taking two online classes. Over the past few weeks I've tried to limit my computer time, switching on the PC not before 2:00pm, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I'd rather spend the time creating and the morning is my most productive time.

So I unplugged Friday night and didn't return to the PC before this morning.

The Geek was gone the entire day - yesterday was the regional competition for Odyssey of the Mind and he served as a problem captain for the Mousemobile problem. Kaefer woke up with a sore throat and coughing, but no high temperature. After getting some medication at the pharmacy, she spent the day bundled up on the couch, reading four books (Nancy Drew) and watching the 2010 Winter Olympic Games events we had taped last year. Some of them we actually watched together and it was amazing how exciting it still was although we already knew the results! I also spent time in the studio, working on canvas for the She Art workshop and thoroughly enjoying it. It was rather pleasant outside, so I worked several hours in the yard, weeding, cutting back and watching the birds. In the evening, after the Geek had returned exhausted from an exciting day, I cooked dinner for the family and we spent a good time together. It was just a lovely day. We all need those from time to time.

Do you unplug every now and then?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Even Angels Have Doubts

"Celestial" is this week's challenge over at Inspiration Avenue. Since I've started the She Art Workshop with Christy Tomlinson last Monday, I immediately put to test what I have learned so far. I can't tell you how much fun I have with this class, I so love to get my hands dirty and be messy. I feel like a child who is playing in the mud. Aah.

And I had fun with my little angel! I got messy on the background for the canvas (this is a 5x5 canvas), made a template with my star punch and then remembered this stamp - I got this one years ago on EBay and don't remember which company it is, sorry. It came with the angel and the text in one part, but I cut the rubber apart into two individual parts (angel and text). For this canvas I stamped the text and then cut the words apart.

I loved creating this little project. My soul was singing!

I am linking this to Sneak Peek Friday as well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Hello WOYWWers, nice to "see" you. I hope that everybody is doing fine and if not, I hope you'll be fine soon. It's March already and this means that spring should be here this month - yay!! Although we really don't have bad winters here, I can't wait for the temperatures to go up, and work in the garden.

On my work table today are actually two projects. I'm working on my second page for my art journal and have just created some kind of background using watercolors. The last time I painted with water colors is ages ago and I feel that I have to learn and practice a lot. I'm so impatient - and this page will be about that, my impatience.

Project #2 is a little piece for an online class about mixed media I'm currently taking. This is so much fun!!! I was so tired today, but when I started working on this canvas I had a really good time. I'm creating the background at the moment, this is just the beginning. I wonder where it will take me. This picture shows the canvas just after I had put another layer of Modpodge on, it's still wet. So far, I like it. Next, I will slash paint on it.

And those of you who wanted to see my finished art journal page from last Wednesday can see it here.

There are many more work tables to visit around the world. For a list, please go to the Queen of snoop, Julia's blog. Thanks for stopping by.