Sunday, March 30, 2014

Oh Happy Days

When I visited denthe's blog this morning I saw that she has joined the 100 Happy Days challenge. I hadn't heard about it before, so I was quite curious. After following her link and reading all about it, I decided to join as well. Surely, it can't be that difficult to find at least one thing a day that makes me happy? Take a picture of it and post it to my Facebook page?

I take this as a reminder that there always is something that puts a smile on my face. This challenge will be especially important on days I feel gloomy.

So I will post one photo each day to my Facebook page and Google+ and every now and then I plan to write about it here on my blog.

Today is the first day - and my happiness started early, with baking these Brötchen (German rolls). In Germany it is quite common to eat fresh rolls for breakfast every morning. You can get them in every bakery and they taste best the day they were made.

Since the three of us have breakfast together only on the weekends, I decided to bake some Brötchen for today's breakfast. I made the sponge yesterday afternoon and let it sit on the counter until this morning. I got up at 6:30 and started to make the dough, which again had to sit for a couple hours.

Shaping the dough into Brötchen was more challenging than I thought - out of 25 I managed just one almost perfectly shaped Brötchen:

I definitely need more practice! But who cares about the shape when these heavenly smells wind their way from the kitchen through the entire house and you're really hungry when you finally could sit down for a very late breakfast?

The Brötchen were delicious, although I can think of some way to further improve them. Of course we didn't eat 25 of them - I just threw the remaining Brötchen in the freezer for some weekend breakfast in the very near future.

You can find the recipe for the Brötchen here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Dream

I'm still painting, though not quite as much anymore - because I have discovered the joys of baking bread. The house is filled with wonderful bread-baking smells every other day at the moment while I try different recipes and desperately search for a store here that sells fresh yeast. I haven't been successful so far.

But I digress.

Painting... on Pinterest - another addictive obsession - I found a painting by Marc Chagall, one of my favorite painters, called "The Dream":

I love the colors, the idea of the people in the "bubble" - and I decided to work from that idea and make my own "dream" painting. Which, of course, turned out my style and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the inspiration. 

Perhaps that's what inspiration is for...

This is the Carola-version - don't even mention Chagall, please. But... I wouldn't have painted this if I hadn't seen the beautiful painting by him. So there.

I'm linking with Paint Party Friday - so happy that I can join this awesome group of amazing artists again.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Blueberry Muffin Kind of Weekend

We had a very quiet weekend, the last one of spring break. On Saturday Kaefer had a friend over, and the girls did their history homework. I thought it might be nice to sweeten up the work for them and decided to make blueberry muffins.

As usual I went to Pinterest to look for an easy and fast recipe, and luckily I was successful and very quickly found one. It was a bit of a stretch to finally get to the recipe, but it was well worth it.

I love the smell that fills the house when something tasty bakes in the oven. It feels comfy and very much at home. Making the muffins was a piece of cake - I loved when the dough turned purple after I had added the blueberries (I used frozen ones). 

These blueberry muffins were yummy! The teenagers devoured them in no time at all. If your mouth is watering right now - here's the link to the perfect blueberry muffins!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Tree, a Girl and Lots of Hugs

Sometimes a painting just flows.

It doesn't happen too often since my head is mingling in my painting too often, and I still haven't learned to quieten it. But when I started this girl, the entire process was smooth - the painting almost created by itself.

The prompt was "Tree of Life" in Life Book 2014 - and then take it from there. First of all, I loved the prompt since trees are important to me - can you imagine a world without trees? Second, I imagined something tender and strong at the same time, protecting - and I saw this girl embraced by the tree. Lots of tree hugging, so to say. I picked up the graphite pencil - and off the painting went. 

I love when that happens.

It feels like it is my heart that is pouring into the picture, that my hand is guided by my inner self, by what is really important to me - uh, I sound like being "enlightened" - don't worry, I'm not, it's still me. Anyway, I loved how this painting developed without much thinking, it was done quite fast (very unusual for me) and on top of that - I like it. 

My idea of creative happiness.

It's the first day of spring - so I wish all of you in the Northern Hemisphere a wonderful spring with lots of blossoms and flowers, and to those of you living in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy the abundance that autumn brings. 

I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday - even though it's Thursday. Enjoy the beautiful artwork you can see on all those artists' blogs who join this special party.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luck of the Irish

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Since we are not Irish, we don't, but it's still quite an important date here in the North Bay. There are St. Patrick's Day parades and 5k runs, of course we have Irish pubs and everywhere you can get Guinness and soda bread.

Kaefer, however, dresses up to show her Irish spirit - after all, we're all one world. She made this t-shirt herself when she was representing Ireland during the Economic Summit in 9th grade at her high school

This is supposed to say "Got services?" - they had to trade service coupons during the summit. (They kicked butt!!!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A New Girl

Recently, I have painted a lot. It seems to help me to get through these sometimes confusing times after my Dad died. It is strange to be so far away, on the other hand it helps as well. I don't think I've talked so much with family in Germany, especially my brother, on the phone as I did over the past few weeks.

But back to the painting. I already told you how much I love to work with watercolor crayons, and those crayons were my main tools in all the little paintings I created. There are ATCs and tiny paintings that I attached to cardstock and thus made some bookmarks. But there is also Life Book with Tam, and I enjoy the lessons so much, especially Tam's lessons. She is such a funny and at the same time serious and deep person, I always feel that I get a lot out of her lessons.

And so my girl for week 10 emerged. The theme was "positive connections", but I didn't write them in my painting. Sometimes I feel shy to put these inner feelings out into the public.

We started out with some collage and a girl we found in a magazine or catalog etc. I found "my girl" in one of the Gudrun Sjoden catalogs that I like so very much. It looked like this:

Then we painted over it, created our girl out of the magazine girl. Since I liked her face quite a bit I decided not to go too far away from it and basically kept her face.

Here she is.

Since it is Friday I'm linking with Paint Party Friday, glad to join this group of talented artists. It's their third blogoversary!!! Congratulations!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Could Open a Mushroom Farm!

processed with Kim's "golden"

Finally we had quite some rain which did wonders to my garden. Not only did the flowers grow and new green appear everywhere, I also had a LOT of mushroom growth! The soil I have - compost that I got delivered two years ago when I turned my lawn into flower beds - seems to be a great breeding ground for all kinds of mushrooms.

The mushrooms seem to change from year to year. The first year I had some very weird looking ones, but this year they actually look like mushrooms!

Last weekend I did the big clean up in my garden. Weeding, clearing out overgrown areas, sowing more seeds and pulling mushrooms. This one was the biggest one:

processed with Kim's "pinitonly2"

Quite the beauty, eh?

Yesterday I started playing with textures again - I hadn't done that in a long time. So I'm joining Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday today. The theme is "from above" - as you can see here:

processed with Kim's "warm grunge"