Friday, April 29, 2011

WeekWord: Book

For ages I haven't participated in WeekWord. I wanted to last week, but totally missed out. So this week I actually managed to join in - no wonder, the word is irresistible. It's book.

If I have an addiction, it's books. I love books. I can't imagine a world without books. Places like book stores and libraries are magic for me. I can easily spend hours in them, totally losing track of time. Sitting on my bench in the garden, getting lost in a story - is there anything better? I like the smell of books, the feel in the hand - I don't think I can ever be happy with a kindle. It has to be a real book. Yes, call me old-fashioned, I take that as a compliment.

I like really good fiction,

biographies (these are all about women... hm...),


books about gardening,

the art and photography stuff,

and, of course, my scrapbooks!

Go check out at Sow and Sew what others have to say about books!

Paint Party Friday

I wasn't that creative this week - at least not in my studio. I worked a lot in the garden - something I thoroughly enjoy and that usually puts me in an excellent mood. Neighbor's cat kept me company, sniffing at the paydirt and new plants that were supposed to go in the ground.

However, I started a new canvas; it will be another girl, one who loves dogs. I have no idea how to paint dogs, but since this is mixed media anyway I will probably get help in form of stickers etc. It will work out somehow.

I think I need to tone down the colors a little bit, it looks too busy to me, but perhaps that will already be different when I will have finished the girl figure. She is still pretty raw and very "innocent".

This is my entry for the wonderful Paint Party Friday and I also link this to Jennifer's Studio Sneak Peek.


Dressed Memories

I'm over at Vision and Verb today, writing about the memories that some clothes hold for us.
I would love to welcome you there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


One more week and we'll have the 100th WOYWW - thanks to our wonderful Julia who every Wednesday motivates people to show their desk to the world and let each other find inspiration by visiting work desks around the globe.

Nothing much on my desk. I have started a new canvas for a girl, this one will be a dog lover - at least that's the plan. I never know where it will take me the further I get along with the work. I actually should work on tags since I'm teaching a tag-making class next week and it's still not completely designed. I have sort of lost my energy for these classes... I am so much enjoying teaching the German class at the moment that there doesn't seem to be much room left for the other classes. Perhaps it's also getting "old" and I'm looking for something new to teach. The problem is that I have to give in my class proposals extremely early, when I really don't know what I would love to teach six to nine month in the future. Or perhaps I'm just a bit burned out and simply need a break. I know that in the end I will enjoy teaching this class just as I did all the others.

Enjoy hopping around the world and visiting so many different desks. Until next Wednesday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Made in Germany 6

A church during the week in a small village on the Northern isle of Sylt. It's a Protestant church as most of the churches in the Northern part of the country are. The red book is the book of hymns, ready for the next church service on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

The light was pretty bad when I took this picture, so I worked in Photoshop and added two textures by Kim Klassen, first "Silence" and then "Sweet Treat". It gives the church a welcoming warmth.

If you have anything German to share, please leave a link in the comments and we will come and visit.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Baby Owls!

Today the Geek, Kaefer and I went to the lake to check on the Great Horned Owls (you can read more about them here and here). Both the Geek and Kaefer hadn't seen them before, and I'm glad that they could experience this. This time I also brought my tripod - and today, BOTH baby owls peeked over the edge of the nest. They seem to grow daily, they're big, white and fluffy. They seem to eat well - there was an owl pellet under the tree that contained some crow's feet. Yummy.

It's funny, as soon as you're standing there with binoculars and long lenses on tripods people stop and ask what you're watching. We were happy to tell them, to help them find Mama Owl and Papa Owl high up in the eucalyptus trees. You start to talk and quickly you have a crowd of people around you, all happy to witness nature's beauty. I love it when people come together this way.


For He Shall Give his Angels Charge over Thee

Do you believe in angels?

I really don't know whether I do or not. I love the idea of having a guardian angel, and I often thought that one was watching over me in particular moments. As a child I loved the idea of little fat angels with long wavy hair sitting on clouds and making music. This is still a nice image with its own charm.

Sometime during my life I found my fascination with angels on cemeteries. And many of those angels I found on cemeteries in England - I love the cemeteries there, they're wild and kind of overgrown and nestled in the churchyard of these old old churches. It reminds me of "Woman in White" and other somber literature.

I found this particular angel in the churchyard of Guiting Power, a little honey colored village in the Cotswold Hills, one of my favorite areas in England. The picture I took of him is not very good, but with the help of the magic of Photoshop and one of Kim Klassen's textures/backgrounds the angel turned into something else. I was searching for a sentiment for a long time until Psalm 91, 11-12 came into my mind.

For He shall give his angels charge over thee,
that they shall protect thee in all the ways thou goest,
that their hands shall uphold and guide thee,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

This comes pretty close to my idea of angels.

"Angels" has been this week's challenge at Inspiration Avenue, where you can find many more beautiful and amazing angels.


Friday, April 22, 2011


It's Kaefer's birthday on Easter, and a day later she will have four of her girlfriends over - so convenient that there is no school this Monday (one of those darn furlough days the State of California has ordered for the current school year). It will be a pretty low key "party" - there will be a scavenger hunter, cake and just time for the girls to hang out and do whatever they like. A good start for the teenage years!

There won't be "goodie bags" or anything like that, but the girls each will get a "girl tag" as a party favor to take home. I've tried to represent each girl in her tag by the color of her shirt and her hair. I liked painting their hair the best, and I mainly used Golden fluid acrylics for that. And of course, those of you who are regular visitors to my blog certainly recognize some She Art here!

And since it's Friday, I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday. These are all wonderful artists, and you can find some amazing art work on their blogs. Go and take a peek!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Baby Owls are Growing

Mama Owl sitting close to the nest

Yesterday morning, Jo and I went back to the nest to check on the owls. By now, two weeks after we had seen them for the first time, some serious birdwatchers were there all the time, with big binoculars and huge zoom lenses.

But we didn't come unprepared either. Jo had brought her binoculars and I was carrying my DSLR with the bigger zoom, hoping to get better shots of the owls than last time.

And we weren't disappointed.

The babies have grown considerably, so much that their parents cannot share the nest with them any longer. Great Horned Owls don't build their own nests, they usually occupy nests of other birds. This one had been a hawk's nest. So these nests are pretty big, but those owls are big, too. And the babies grow quickly.

One of the babies was so kind to lift its head and look down on us.

You can see how big s/he already is compared to the size of the nest.

Mama Owl perched close to the nest, supervising her young ones as every mom in the world does.

And Papa Owl was sitting in the eucalyptus tree just across the path - perhaps waiting for another crow to get and feed to his offspring (yes, they eat the crows).

I will be back again at the nest, and if I happen to snap a few decent pictures I will post them here.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Hello WOYWWers, how are you all doing? I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, hopping from one creative desk to the next, thanks to our wonderful Julia, the Queen of Snoop. I'm currently having a hard time getting around the desks, there is so much going on here, and on top of that it's my daughter's birthday this Easter, she'll be 13, oh my. A teenager!

And it's her birthday I'm working on, or better say little girls that her friends will receive who will come over on Monday afternoon. She has invited four friends, so there will be five girls, that's manageable. Each of the "tag girls" represents one of her friends and I'm glad that she could recognize each single girl when I showed her the tags. She also wants to do a scavenger hunt, this time about the Olympic Games. Oh boy. She was very enthusiastic about the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver - I mainly remember Apolo Ohno, and just a few others (the German bobsled team and the German female speed skaters). Nothing is left in my memory about Beijing. But hey, ask me about the Summer Olympic Games back in 1972 in Munich - I remember those very well. I was 12 years old and a fan of Mark Spitz!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lazy Weekend

We had a wonderful lazy weekend - no appointments, nowhere we had to be, nothing. Just free time that we could spend to our heart's desire.

The Geek decided to do his homework for his college classes. Kaefer went ice-skating and just hang out in the hammock.

And I thought it was a perfect weekend to add some smelly stuff to the garden.

My family hates it, but I love the smell of chicken manure when I spread the paydirt out over my flowerbeds and where the veggies will go. For us gardeners, this stuff is black gold.

Doesn't it look lovely?

And everything looks so good and healthy when the dark soil gets layered into the garden - just beautiful.

It took both Saturday and Sunday to lay out a decent amount of the lovely stuff, there is still more to do. But it's a good beginning and I can't wait to continue. Next, I will prepare the barrels for the veggies. I first had to clean them out and get rid of all the old soil from last year.

And after all that hard work it was time for a good barbecue on Sunday evening.


Made in Germany 5

The Sunday before Easter is Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) in Germany, remembering the day when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem. It marks the beginning of the Karwoche (Holy Week) which finds its peak with Karfreitag (Good Friday), a holiday in Germany, and ends with Easter. In the more Catholic parts of the country you find a lot of crosses on the side of roads or in front of little chapels.

This might give you the impression that Germany is a very religious country.
It is not.
However, it is in line with a Christian tradition which is mainly shaped by the Catholic church and the Protestant church. There still is religious education in elementary school which I find hopelessly outdated. If you belong to one of the two main churches, you have to pay taxes to the church (collected by the state). You have the possibility to leave the church and it is very easy to do so.

Whatever position one may have to religion, these crosses belong to the German landscape. They talk about tradition and culture. Even though I am not a religious person at all, I don't want to miss these landmarks in my country. They just belong.

Do you want to share anything German, be it a photo, memory, food, whatever? Please do so with a link in your comment and we will come and visit.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Helping Hands for Japan


Boy, I'm late for this week's Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday - simply because I just finished the hands for the Helping Hands for Japan project a few minutes ago. If you don't know what this is and you're on Facebook, you can check it out here and hopefully join - it's a great way to help raise money for the victims for the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe in northeastern Japan. Every little bit helps.

Truth be told, I'm not quite sure whether these hands are really done. I have the feeling that something is still missing, on the other hand (!) I certainly don't want to overload them. What do you think?

Short and sweet today - please feel free to visit all the other fantastic artists. It is very inspiring.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Helping Hands for Japan

Hello WOYWWers, yes, it's Wednesday again... How are you? I hope you are doing well and enjoying this ride around the world to peek at other peoples' creative workspaces thanks to the wonderful Julia.

This week I'm working on "Helping Hands for Japan". I had first seen this on Rhonda's blog, then went to the Facebook page. If you're on Facebook, you can join, too. Artistically created hands will be auctioned off at the beginning of May, and all the funds will go to the Red Cross to help victims of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

The tags you can see in the upper left corner are humble beginnings for a tag class I'm teaching in May. I also want to start another girl canvas. Let's see how far I'll get by the end of this week.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Made in Germany 4

The Black Forest - Schwarzwald - is not only forest. It has an abundance of high meadows that stretch over hills and on sunny slopes. They are really warm spots in the summer where you can hang out, have a nice picnic and where you occasionally can find the Kreuzotter, the only poisonous snake in Germany. They are very shy - in 40 years I saw only one! The Black Forest has miles and miles of hiking trails, from easy strolling trails to highly strenuous ones. Many of them present you with gorgeous views, often you are able to see the Swiss Alps in the distance. When you're tired you'd stop at a restaurant and have a Radler - a mixture of beer and Sprite. I know it sounds horrible, but it actually is very tasty and just the right thing after a long hike when you're tired and thirsty.


Christine has posted about her trip to the Rhine Valley on her blog - you can see her beautiful pictures here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Girl in the Garden

Yesterday, I finished Girl #3 that I attempted as a result of the She Art Workshop - you know, that wonderful online class I rambled about all the time. I've finally finished watching all the videos and just love to play around - I have several ideas for different girls in my mind and I hope I get over my lazyness and create a little bit more. Well, I just need to kick my butt and keep all the other things out of my mind.

This is my "Girl in the Garden" who turned out a little bit different than I had imagined. Some accidents happened that I worked around, and I still don't know how she got a nose - I didn't put it there! I can't draw noses, but somehow this perky little thing suddenly appeared in the middle of her face. Perhaps I tipped the pen or had paint on my fingers - whatever, it's there, and I like it. It makes her way younger though than I intended her to be which is just fine.

Yesterday I also started a 5x5 canvas for a friend and I'm quite surprised that I'm already done. Perhaps I'm getting more confident in what I'm doing. My difficulty is to get started - after that I can work myself "into the zone" very quickly when drying times become a real challenge for my impatience...

The butterfly didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to be, but in the end I'm okay with it. Glimmer Mist might not have been my best choice here, however, I like the color and how it blends in.

As it is Friday, I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday which this week is on the (in)courage site, as well as to Creative Every Day. There are many more brilliant artists to visit.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hoo Hoo-Hoo

"What is this?" you may ask.
Why does she post a photo that is
and I don't really see anything?

look again.

This is what we discovered
on our walk around the lake,
my friend Jo and I.

High up in a eucalyptus tree
only showing his ears
that are so telling

a Great Horned Owl.

The highlight of my day.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Another Wednesday!!! This IS getting fast...

Hello WOYWWers, how are you today? Do you have spring feelings or does winter still have a strong grip in your area? I am happy to say that we have had some lovely weather, I've been working in the garden a lot and I even had my first few naps in the hammock. That clearly spells good times for me.

Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments last week. I am sorry that I can't get around to everyone, but I try to visit as many desks as possible. It's something I thoroughly enjoy and I always get my Wednesday inspiration.

So, on my table today - another girl. Now, what a surprise...

 I seem to be pretty addicted to making these girls. This one is almost done - the phrase has to go on there
(something along the lines of "she loved tending to her garden") and something else that I am still not sure of, and then it will be done. Before I said that I am a rather slow worker, but this canvas was done rather quickly; especially the background was completed fast. Needless to say that I enjoyed it very much again.

Please visit the Queen of snoop, Julia, to find a long list of other creative people who show their busy or messy or tidy desks. Have fun!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Made in Germany 3

This is the view from my apartment in Tübingen - it's to the west over the Ammertal (later, after I had met the Geek, we moved to a village in the Ammertal). This was the first thing I saw in the morning when I stepped out onto my terrace and the last in the night, and often I witnessed gorgeous sunsets. It was wonderful to watch thunder and lighting in the comfort and safety of my home. In the valley you can see the road I took every day to go to work - that was the time when I still worked with Hewlett-Packard, where I also met the Geek. It was a 20-30 minutes commute, depending on traffic. Since I always left very early for work I seldom had problems with bad traffic. It was different on the way back, but I just wouldn't take the autobahn then but some back roads through the forest (I didn't do that during winter, though). I felt lucky to live in such a beautiful place. These were the best years before my marriage.

Do you have anything German to share? Just leave your link in the comments and we come and visit.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Heart is Full

When I looked into Kaefer's room this morning I saw this:

The Geek had just set up the sewing machine, and Kaefer was watching him, hoping to learn from him how to use it. Why she hasn't asked me? Well, I can't sew, have hated it since school thanks to my evil teacher who couldn't stand any non-girly girl which I certainly was. However, the Geek learned to sew during his years in the German military - very practical. Kaefer is designing clothes for her doll at the moment and wants to sew them out of fat quarters (cool patterns, not much fabric, affordable), so she had nagged for quite a bit that the sewing machine be set up, please.

When I saw the two of them so close together, engrossed in what they were doing, I felt my heart almost overflowing. I was so touched by this image, father and daughter together, doing something they enjoy and just spending this time together. I love them so much. I can't imagine being without one of them.