Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August Break

This is the third year that I am participating in Susannah Conway's August Break. Every day there will be a new photo - either embedded in a longer post or just a "no words" post. I hope you'll enjoy it. For me, it's always a challenge to come up with an image that captures you - a challenge I deeply enjoy.

It's hot here right now, very hot. Time to drink some ice cold lemonade. Enjoy!

Seagull on a Mission

This seagull looks like it's on a mission - look at that determined step! The end of this driftwood log was what it had in mind because the view over the beach (and possible sources of food) was unlimited from there.

Blended with Kim's texture "providence" in soft light at 100%.

It's Tuesday, so I'm linking this to Kim's "Texture Tuesday" where you can find an entire "market place" of wonderful textured photos.

Monday, July 30, 2012


For the first time ever I've participated in the Sketchbook Challenge. The theme for July is "circles". I like circles, it's one of my favorite shapes, and I use them a lot in my art work. And as many of you have probably noticed, I like to use either sheet music or book pages in my mixed media art - it works so well with the circle theme.

Friday, July 27, 2012


After a long time I have finally worked in my art journal again. At the moment I love fresh, light green, so this was the color of my choice for the background. I love the smoothness and feeling of Liquitex acrylic paints and their colors are so vibrant and brilliant. Just wonderful to work with.

This is a very simple page and done very quickly. The joy I felt while doing it was priceless though.

I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday and Studio JRU where very talented artists meet and show what they're working on - please go and take a peek.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Neighborhood Photowalk in Soft Light

"vintagetexture" in soft light at 75%

A few days ago I did my first photowalk in my new neighborhood.
As I mentioned before, it is an older neighborhood with houses built in the 40's and 50's - and many of them have beautiful fences in the front. A photographer's paradise.

When I came home and looked at my photos I wanted to play with Kim's textures, but use only blending mode soft light. For some weird reason, that's a blending mode I have used very rarely. Only recently have I discovered the beauty of it and now wanted to experiment with it a little bit more. All of these photos have some kind of texture (all Kim's) blended in soft light.

It fits this neighborhood!

"vintagetexture" in soft light at 100%

This house looked very inviting and cheerful

"warmsun" in soft light at 64%

I liked how they decorated their fence.

"dustyrose" in soft light at 100%

"evolve2" in soft light at 73%

Did I ever mention that I like Shasta daisies? They are so cheerful and happy.

"golden" in soft light at 89%

This is my favorite house on the block. However, I would probably paint it in a different color - I'm thinking a warm sienna or even adobe red.

"warmsun" in soft light at 100%

This house reminds me of Italy. Think Romeo and Juliet...

"vintagetexture" in soft light at 100%

And this house I can picture in Massachusetts. Gorgeous tree.

"pumpkin grunge" in soft light at 100%

I found all kinds of inspiration for creating a front yard. Using broking pots, for example.

"pumpkin grunge" in soft light at 54%

Or growing veggies and flowers in the same place.

"vintagetexture" in soft light at 100%

Of course I had to stop and chat with this little cutie. She had huge ears and looked like a crossing between a cat and a coyote.

"vintagetexture" in soft light at 100%

There can never be enough sunflowers.

"warmsun" in soft light at 83%

This was my favorite garden - just beautiful, brimming with colorful flowers, ornaments and bees.

"elevate" in soft light at 100%

The little angel even blew a kiss to people passing by.

"elevate" in soft light at 69%

It was a wonderful photowalk during which I also met nice people and enjoyed friendly chats. I am so happy that we live in this neighborhood.

I am linking this to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday - it's the outdoor edition this week.

"chamomile" in soft light at 100%


Saturday, July 21, 2012


... is this week's theme at Bonnie's Photo Art Friday.

Immediately I remembered a visit to England back in the summer of 1997. It was a bit of a weird week. The weekend before Princess Diana had died, and the country was in mourning. Wherever we went, if there was a church there were huge piles of flowers, cards and candles. Sometimes even on the sidewalk at the village green.

We went to Gloucester and visited the magnificent cathedral there. While an entire wing of the cathedral was crowded with people waiting in line to finally get their turn to write into the book of condolences, we strolled around the otherwise very quiet old grounds until I stopped short when I saw this beautiful reflection at the foot of one of the mighty pillars. The sunlight fell through the stained glass windows and threw the colors on the old stones as if he was enjoying himself tremendously. I loved it then, I still do now.

Thank you, Bonnie, for another great challenge! Please visit her blog to see way more fantastic photos of light and more. Pure eye candy!

I'm also linking this to Mandarin Orange Monday - check out all the other ornage images there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Peaches Peaches Peaches

When I recently met my friend J. for another lovely hike in our beautiful state park, she brought me a box of fresh delicious peaches as a housewarming gift. These weren't just any peaches, no, they were from her very own trees. The smell alone could make me faint. Peaches are my favorite summer fruit!

There were so many that I had to act fast to use them all. Is there anything better than to make peach cobbler? So I grabbed a recipe and got to work.

Here's what you need -
For the filling: 
4 cups (or more) peeled and sliced peaches
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour

For the crust:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt (the recipe was actually asking for buttermilk, but I didn't have any and used vanilla yogurt instead)
1 tablespoon brown sugar for topping
Ice cream or whipped cream

Generously butter a big shallow baking dish. Place the sliced peaches in the dish and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and flour. Mix gently and spread evenly.

Combine all dry ingredients for the crust in a bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers and make the texture like coarse crumbs. Add the yogurt and stir to form a soft dough.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with last tablespoon of brown sugar and put into oven. Bake until fruit is bubbly and crust topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

 Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, whatever you like better. It tasted delicious!

What is your favorite summer dessert?


Monday, July 16, 2012

Christmas in July

It's only July, the middle of the year, but at Etsy we're already thinking of Christmas and therefore have a Christmas in July sale. My shop is participating and I want to show you a few of the items I'm offering in this sale. About half of my items are 15% off through July 31, 2012.

There are handmade Christmas cards, of course, both made of paper (below) and photo cards like the one on top.

I love to make journals from regular composition books that you can buy in the office supply stores or at Target. They're fun to alter and make something "new" out of them. A journal always makes a good gift for people who enjoy writing.

My mixed media paintings are also included in the sale. This one, "The Mermaid's Dream" is on a 8x10 canvas and one of my earlier works.

Handmade all occasion cards always come in handy, and it's good to have some cards on hand when you need them. This is a all year round set that includes birthday cards, thank you cards and greetings for Mother's Day and much much more. This is a set of ten handmade cards.

Last but not least, ornaments - for your Christmas tree or to decorate the house.  Angels and birds are available right now. They come in sets of three or six and are all paper made. The little angel below is like the angels I made for my daughter throughout the years - she got a new one every advent season and could hang them in her window. She has quite a collection by now.

I'm listing new items all the time - I am really busy at the moment making Halloween and Christmas items, mainly cards and tags. Quite glad that the creative juices are flowing!

I'd be happy if you stopped by my store and checked it out. Perhaps you can let me know what you think. And tell your friends!!


Friday, July 13, 2012


"Fencing" is the theme of Bonnie's Photo Art Friday for this week. I had to participate because fences are a favorite photo subject for me. I played around with some of Bonnie's textures or just changed the photo a little bit.

The top one caught my attention because I like how the jasmin curled around the fence. I used the "yesteryear" texture in blending mode Hard Light at 90% and did some levels and saturation adjustment.

The next fence meanders around the churchyard in Chipping Campden in the British Cotswold Hills, one of my favorite places in the world. Here I blended Bonnie's texture "vintage wine label" in Multiply at 66% and also did some levels and saturation adjustments.

Oh, the fences at the beaches on the East Coast! I loved them, so photogenic! Along the New Jersey shore there are miles and miles of these fences, a paradise for me. Bonnie's texture "everything is illuminated" worked perfectly in blending mode Linear Burn at 37% and a few levels and saturation adjustments.

I passed this beautiful fence in my old neighborhood almost every day when Kaefer still went to elementary school. I like the sepia tone.

Of course I had to go crazy on one picture. This is a very low fence around a graveyard in a small cemetery in Tomales. The texture is Bonnie's "Ephemeral" blended in Exclusion at 85% and then some heavy levels and hue/saturation adjustments. It was fun!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Almost Too Late to the Party

Paint Party Friday, that is. The wonderful weekly get-together  of some awesome artists who show their work on their blogs - quite a fascinating and very inspiring party. I haven't participated for so long. I really wish I could join again on a regular basis, but at the moment I can just play it by ear. At least I made it this week.

I've recently started to work on canvas board and include my photography, something I have been thinking about for a very long time with various results. When I had a bit of time a few weeks ago I just sat down and got started. I have these pictures of Antelope Canyon. We visited that gorgeous slot canyon a few years ago in the winter when we stayed in Page, AZ. I was fascinated by its incredible colors, and I tried to capture these colors in the mixed media painting. Do you think I did it?

I also love poppies, especially those fields of red poppies that always meant summer to me when I was still living in Germany. With this painting I had a bit more difficulties as I didn't like the first version of my background at all. I toned it down with some unbleached titanium and used some stamps instead. I knew from the start that I wanted to include the dried poppy seed heads that I had kept from last year's poppies. Now I'm quite happy with it.

Both paintings are available in my Etsy shop. I am having a Christmas in July sale - all my mixed media paintings, art prints, big journals and Christmas items (mainly notecards and ornaments) are 15% off until the end of July.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence and Liberty

Happy Independence Day!

For this picture I merged two of my photos and used two of Jerry's textures

It's the Fourth of July, the day of fireworks and barbecue - and sales. At least that's what it seems like when you look around.

When I think of Independence Day, what it actually means to me, the answer is not easy. Growing up in Germany in the 60's and 70's we kind of avoided anything patriotic - a sad lesson from our dark history in the first half of the 20th century. We didn't wave any flags, we didn't sing the German anthem at school (and it's such a beautiful one). We cheered for the national soccer team, though!!!

So I always get a "funny" feeling about all the flags here in the US, especially those on pick-up trucks. Flying the flag for me doesn't symbolize Independence Day either.

What comes to my mind is this:

I still get a bit teary-eyed when I see the Statue of Liberty, this gorgeous present France gave to the US. I try to imagine what it meant to the many emigrants when they saw it after a long boat journey, often combined with fears - what was waiting for them on the other side of that big sea? This was the first they saw of their new home. What an incredible symbol.

When I came here in 2001, this wasn't what I first saw in my new home (at that time we still thought it would be home for us for only three years - how things have changed) - instead, it was the San Francisco airport. I came from a free, democratic country, entering a free, democratic country. But they were worlds apart. 

So often we take liberty for granted. Sometimes we even think liberty is that we can do whatever we want. It certainly is not. Liberty involves a lot of responsibility. Duty. Consideration. Respect.

The list could probably go on.  

In 1997 the Geek and I (we were still dating and living in Germany at that time) visited the Statue of Liberty. The Geek was working in Allentown, PA for two months, and I took ten days off before Easter and we met in New York. We had a fabulous time. On one of those days we made the trip to Miss Liberty. It was a sunny day with an awfully cold wind. The first boat to the island was cancelled, and we stood at the pier in that freezing wind, huddling against each other and waiting for the boat, with hundreds of other people. Since this was the first boat, we didn't have to wait in line for getting into Lady Liberty and up to the crown. Quite an experience. I enjoyed the view of the Manhattan skyline, so different at that time from what you see now. Taking pictures from different angles of the grand old lady was exciting as well.

This is my favorite one:

What does Independence Day mean to you?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada Day

Kaefer is obsessed with Canada.
She loves our neighbors to the North, always enjoyed our visits to Canada and has already decided that she wants to go to UBC in Vancouver after graduating from high school.

In honor of Canada Day which is celebrated today, she wore the Canadian colors with pride -
on her fingernails....

...and on her toenails.

She made cupcakes for all of us with a lot of white frosting and red sprinkles.

They were really good!

Happy Canada Day to my relatives and all my friends in Canada.