Monday, October 31, 2011

Haunted Neighborhood

The houses in our historic district are usually heavily decorated for Halloween. I took a walk around those streets this morning - many owners were still busy decorating and getting ready for the crowds tonight (they get hundreds of trick-or-treaters).

There were huge spiders,

sinister folks

and flying witches.

Gravesites in front of the houses

and rather spooky companions.

I liked Farmer Eric:

and all the beautiful pumpkins.

This one didn't feel so good...

Some of the fall decoration blew me away:

And then I discovered this - my favorite:

On my way back home I saw this friendly ghost

and realized that our neighborhood had been taken over by vultures.

Happy Halloween from our house to yours!

Made in Germany 32 - Cemetery

Since we don't have Halloween in Germany (although it has been getting more popular in the last few years), I decided to post an image of a cemetery for today's Made in Germany - it's at least related.

Most cemeteries are beautiful peaceful places in Germany. Almost all of them have very old parts, and it is interesting to walk among those old gravesites and read the tombstones. Some of them are so old that you can't read what's written on them. Fortunately, despite the terrible history of my country, there are still Jewish cemeteries that have beautiful tombstones and seem to be a haven for wildlife. The tombstones are beautifully carved, like the one in the second picture.

When I still lived in Germany I often went to a cemetery to sit on a bench, listen to the birds and either read or write in my journal (or both). It was like entering another world, a world of quiet, calm and peace.  It fed my soul. After one or two hours I felt renewed and very calm.

Do you like to visit cemeteries or do you think that's creepy?


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spider Cat

When recently I took some pictures for my Etsy shop, Geeda got very interested in the orange spider fabric I used as a background. She hopped up on the chair I had draped the fabric over and stretched out...

looking curiously at what I was doing.

Then she had to explore the fabric for a little while, mainly using her claws.

Obviously that became boring,

and she lay down,

taking a nap.

It's a good life to be a cat in my backyard.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Photo Art Friday on Saturday

I almost forgot about Photo Art Friday this week - the wonderful place on Bonnie's blog where photographers come together and show what art work they did in their photos.

This beautiful Celtic cross I found a couple of weeks ago in the cemetery of Tomales, a tiny place along Highway 1 between Point Reyes and Bodega Bay.

I did some levels and saturation adjustments first, then added Bonnie's texture "one life" to it (hard light at 72%), then copied it (multiply at 30%) and did another hue and saturation adjustment. At that point I really liked it, especially the warm colors.

This is the way it looked before:

Which one do you like better?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big Mistake (WOYWW 125)

It's Wednesday when we show to the world what is on our work tables that we're working on. Julia had the fantastic idea of this weekly hop around the globe - you can find all the details on her blog, Stamping Ground.

Doesn't this canvas look awful?? I was working on it for days and then were quite happy how it turned out - until I tried to adhere the photo of Mama Owl to it that would have been the final touch. I used Modpodge which was a stupid choice in the first place because it's not strong enough for matte photo paper. When I used a brayer to flatten everything evenly, some of the Modpodge appeared on the photo - it looked awful. I tried to save it, but no such luck. So I ripped it off - of course it didn't come off completely!

The stuff to use for adhering matte photo paper is soft gel - and of course that was the one I did NOT have. So I stopped by the art supply store on my way to pick up Kaefer from school and then tried again to adhere the photo (newly printed of course!) to the canvas. Fortunately it worked this time. The last finish were those three metallic letters on the left and finally the canvas was finished. And I'm still happy with it.

Short Update on my Shop

I just want to tell you about three new items in my Etsy shop that I just listed a few days ago.

Many of you probably remember the Great Horned Owls, and I also told you here that I created a photo book about this wonderful experience. Well, the photo book is now available in my shop.

But wait, there is more about those owls. I also made a wall calendar for 2012 with photos of the owls:

And for those who prefer the coast and photos of beautiful landscapes I made a 2012 wall calendar about the coastal Pacific Northwest: 

You can see all the pictures of the calendars and a peek in the book in my Etsy shop - where I also offer mixed media paintings, mini journals, photo greeting cards and handmade cards. I'd love to see you there and of course I always appreciate your feedback!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Made in Germany 31: Currywurst mit Pommes

Currywurst mit Pommes - sausage with a special tomato-curry sauce, served with french fries either with ketchup or mayonnaise or both - is the most famous German fast food. "Invented" by a clever Berliner woman, Hertha Heuwer, in 1949, this simple meal has become popular all over the country. You either hate it or you love it.

I belong to the "love" side. Whenever I'm in Germany I need my German version of junk food at least once. The "real" Currywurst is NOT a bratwurst as many might think, and the sauce has to be homemade (no ready made sauce that you can buy in a bottle). You don't eat it in a restaurant but at the Imbißbude - a kind of food cart or booth (see picture below). Curry 36 in Berlin-Kreuzberg (the biggest Turkish community in Germany!) is not a food cart but still a Imbißbude and it definitely serves one of the best Currywurst ever. Those in the picture above are ours that we ate in the summer of 2009 while we stayed in Berlin. As you can see we prefer mayo on our fries - yum!!! (I see many of you eye-rolling). This was the best Currywurst I have had so far! The other nice thing - you stand around those metal tables while eating them, and almost instantly you start talking to the other people standing there enjoying their Currywurst - so it's very social as well!

Top photo was taken at Curry 36, lower photo at Kurfürstendamm (Ku'damm) next to Gedächtniskirche.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Canadian Barn

First, I thank all of you who read and commented on my last post - it does mean a lot to me, and your encouragement is highly appreciated. You are the best, and I feel lucky to have fantastic blogging buddies as you are. Thank you!!!

So, here is the Photo Art Friday challenge again - I found this not too long ago, and at the beginning I was a bit intimidated by all the great work that you can see there. But then I thought "oh what the heck" and just participated last week for the first time. It gives me a good excuse to play around with textures and my photos and just change things up a little bit. It is so much fun and when I'm editing in PSE I forget about time.

For this week I picked the photo of a barn that I took a year ago in British Columbia. We were staying with our relatives in Summerland and visited a winery nearby (excellent Riesling!) where we also had lunch. From the patio you had this beautiful view over the vineyards to the barn.

 However, I think the photo looks a bit flat and I certainly didn't like the blue and black bins behind the barn. So convenient that we can just eliminate these things! This is what it looks like after I spiced it up a little bit:

I first did a levels adjustment and then added two Kim Klassen textures, "dusty rose" (multiply 63%) and "warm sun" (linear burn 50%) - that's it. I like the warmer colors and the "rusty" feeling.

I link this up to Photo Art Friday at Bonnie's blog. There are many other fascinating photos to see - come over and take a look!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What is holding me back?

At the beginning of the year I chose "authentic" as my word for 2011. When I look back over the past ten months, nothing I wrote here was not me. Everything was plain, pure me - but to be honest, nothing was revealing. Most of the posts kept pretty much to the surface and didn't really touch what is deep within me. And I wonder why.

What is holding me back
  • to speak of my fears that lie within me and sometimes completely choke me up, so that I have difficulties to sleep?
  • to talk about my health issues that sometimes frustrate me so very much?
  • to tell you about the loss of our second daughter that still haunts me?
  • to admit that I still haven't made my peace with having only one child?
  • to vent even only once about my utter frustration with American politics?
  • to let you know about my fears that this Etsy adventure will be a complete failure?
Am I afraid to offend someone? To lose blogging buddies because I'm honest? Do I fear to receive hurtful comments? Or that people think I'm just ridiculous?

Does it really matter?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just Plain Tired

Do you have those days too? When you feel heavy, your legs are like lead and it's just exhausting to go through the day? I have a day like this today, and it drives me nuts. It reminds me very much of the time before my surgery, and I really don't want to go there again. I'm just plain tired, and I think I will give in and hang out in the hammock for 30 minutes. Hopefully, my energy will come back then. Not very exciting things on the horizon though - have to pick up Kaefer from school and then it's straight to the dentist for her appointment. Which for me means waiting... What do you usually do when you have to wait somewhere? I read a lot, and I hope I can do that this afternoon.

I want to share a Halloween card with you that I recently listed in my Etsy shop:

Usually I'm not a big fan of skulls and skeletons, but when I saw some scrapbook paper covered with these goofy looking skulls I couldn't resist. Making the card was mega-easy, and I don't know why exactly I like this one so very much. Perhaps because the skulls look so goofy and funny, not a bit scary. I was glad that I had this small wooden coffin and the skeletal hand to use as photo props - I enjoy putting some "spice" into my pictures like this. Taking photos of my items for Etsy is a completely new thing for me, and I enjoy learning about how to take pictures of my items to get people wanting to look at them. Thrift stores and yard sales are perfect places for finding photo props.

Okay, I'm going to the hammock now, hoping that Geeda hangs out there already and keeps me company.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Made in Germany 30 - Avenue of Trees

We call this dirt road lined with big old trees a "Allee". When I looked up this word in a dictionary, it gave me the word "avenue" as a translation. I'm not quite sure whether this is the proper word, but I will use it here - and thinking of the Avenue of Giants here in Northern California it seems to be pretty fitting (with the little difference that the "giants" is a paved road...).

Unfortunately we don't have many roads like this left in Germany. There are a few ones that are paved, but more often than not the trees are felled so that the roads can be widened and people can drive faster in their cars. Yuck!!

However, there are a few left, and most of them are in the Eastern part of the country, and I just hope and pray that they can just remain this way. It is so incredible beautiful to see these roads leading to the horizon lined by those old old trees. It reminds me a lot of my childhood and somhow carefree days.

Then I started to play... Pixel Dust Photo Art has some amazing free textures that I love to use in my photos. I used two of her textures - "fanciful" and "dear John letter" textures - in this photo, played with levels and saturation and got this:

It looks way more like autumn, doesn't it?

I am linking this to Photo ART Friday - that's why Made in Germany is on my blog already on Sunday.

Photo Art Friday

Saturday, October 15, 2011

IA Weekly Challenge: Fear

Fear - we all know about fear. But how to express that? How to show which fear? I have several fears - the fear of losing my family, of someone close to me dying, of sickness and no longer being able to lead the life I'm having now. The fear of becoming vulnerable by showing so much of myself here.

Then there are fears that are - well, avoidable. If I fear to get killed in a thunderstorm while being outside - I just stay inside during that time. Easy.

And there are those fears that are also fascinating. I have one of them. This:

Edited in Photoshop using two textures by Shadowhouse Creations.


I'm afraid of snakes. At the same time I find them deeply fascinating. In every zoo and reptile exhibition I go to watch the snakes. I've even touched snakes, held them in my hands. Still I'm not quite as brave as Kaefer who carries them around her neck.

This Burmese Python - and I'm not quite sure whether s/he is an albino snake or not - I saw in the San Diego Zoo. And I actually thought her/him cute - look at that sweet face! It's almost as if s/he wants to say something, like "I'm so lonely, I'd like a companion" or "why do people hate us?" Do snakes have feelings? Do they feel lonely or sad or happy? Are they intelligent?

They do give me goosebumps. Sometimes I dream of snakes, and those are downright nightmares. In my dreams they definitely represent my fears. But if I see one in the road - which sometimes happens - I drive around them. I wouldn't want to kill them.

You can find more about fear over at Inspiration Avenue.


Friday, October 14, 2011

More Painted Papers

It's Friday, and this means Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday, where so many talented artists show what they are working on. It has turned into my favorite blogging day.

Last week in my mixed media painting class we painted on tissue paper - a lovely mess. I painted some more yesterday afternoon, taking advantage of the lovely weather and moving my studio outside, drying my papers in the sun.

We also made our own stamps (or used some foam stamps) and added prints to the tissue.

I think you can clearly see what my favorite colors are...

I will be off to the class in a few minutes, and I look so much forward to it. I enjoy the companionship of the women (and one man) there, the instructor is fantastic, and those are three hours I can make a mess and feel good about it. There is also so much inspiration in the classroom, laughter and just a plain good mood. What a wonderful way to start the way into the weekend.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Hello to "What's on your worktable - Wednesday" that has been going on for more than two years now thanks to the Queen of Snoops, Julia of Stamping Ground.

I'm currently in the Halloween spirit making Halloween cards and starting to decorate the house with Kaefer. She is trying out several of my Halloween fabrics to find inspiration what she wants to be for that fun holiday. We'll be having a Halloween party on the Saturday before since the holiday itself is on a Monday - very inconvenient! Kaefer is also sewing Halloween costumes for her dolls.

These are the cards I made and they are now in my Etsy shop, waiting for buyers.

Geeda is hiding behind one of the cat-lanterns,

watching Kaefer wrapping herself in the Halloween fabric.

She put the purple fabric over a shimmering red one - quite fancy.