Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fun, fun, fun!!

Dear Friends,

Just a quick hello to let you know that all is well. I appreciate all your comments on my last posts and as I have time, I will reply to you via e-mail.

Right now, my days are filled with fun, fun, fun with my sister and her family who are visiting from Germany. My nephews are here of the very first time and I am soaking up every minute with them.
Can you tell they love the beach?!?

Sending lots of love your way!

Silke

Friday, April 11, 2014

How my thoughts lie to me…or a day pulled from the ditch

Once again, the photos have nothing to do with the blog post. These are again from our latest cruise, arriving into  Cartagena, Colombia and our first sightseeing stop at the La Popa Monastery. 
Yesterday, I spent the morning (almost) finishing our taxes. I have spent many an hour doing them this year, the reason being that last year I somehow missed out on being organized. I say “somehow,” but I know exactly how.
Early last year, a few major things happened to people I love and it threw my world off kilter. Life felt out of my control and I had a hard time just trying to hold on to my calm and happiness. Anxiety ruled most days and nights and organizing paperwork was not high on my priority list. Actually, it wasn’t on it at all. I made sure I collected everything in a pile, but that was it.
And this year I am having to deal with the aftermath of it. Endless hours of organizing, entering data into the computer, etc.  I’ve almost got the beast tamed, but yesterday as I was working on our taxes, I realized how my thoughts were running away with my emotions.
By lunch time, my head was filled with thoughts like:

“You used to be the queen of organized and look at you now. You aren’t even good at that anymore. What are you really good at? Not being a housewife, not building a creative business, not painting. Not anything, really. Why can’t you shine at anything? What’s wrong with you? You are almost 50 and what do you have to show for it? You must be such a disappointment to those you love. Heck, you’re a disappointment to me!”

And so on. You get the idea.
Now that part of me that is separate from my thoughts and was able to stand back and observe them knew that these were lies, but even so I couldn’t stop them. Momentum can be a wonderful and terrible thing. It was like I was being run over by the negative thought train. My ego saw an opening and dove in with relish.
By the time Daniel got home from teaching, I was eating ice cream out of the container, which I have done no more than five times. Ever! I was a mess. I felt a total failure, and I knew I’d have to do something to stop this onslaught of negativity.
And here’s the really ridiculous part of it: nothing bad (nothing!) happened in real life. This whole thing happened only in my head. It amazes me - and I often think about - how powerful our thoughts are, but that’ll be for another blog post.
Often when this happens, I take a nap and that breaks the spell. Or I play with Winslow - pets are such masters at having fun, aren’t they? Yesterday, I turned on Pandora with 50’s Rock ’n’ Roll music. The first song that played? “It’s my party and I cry if I want to.” Really?!
Daniel suggested we go out, run a couple of errands, then see a movie (we go to the movies about once a year, so it was a big deal) and afterwards have some vietnamese food at our favorite little place.
It was perfect. We went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was just what the pity party doctor ordered. It was a poignant story based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, whose novellas I had to read in school and just loved! It was beautifully filmed and it was funny. I laughed out loud throughout the whole movie and felt like seeing it again immediately. Click here to see the trailer.

That followed by vietnamese food and my day that could have completely landed in the ditch, ended on a high note.
I’m sure (I hope!!) I’m not the only one whose thoughts run away in undesirable directions from time to time. What are some of your secrets for turning around your energy?

P.S. Your comments on my last post really touched my heart. I am in the process of responding to each of you by e-mail. If you haven’t yet heard from me yet, you will!

With love and appreciation (and feeling positively positive today), I wish you a wonderful day!


Silke

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Permission Granted!

The photos have nothing to do with the blog post, but they are pretty! All from our recent cruise and taken in Costa Rica. It rained profusely and it was gorgeous!! A place I'd love to visit again... 

Yesterday I came across this blog post from Leonie Lawson entitled “You have permission.” I started reading it and halfway through I found myself breathing a sigh of relief. And I was stunned. Someone else was giving me permission to be who I am and I felt relief. That really made me think. 
If you know me personally, you know that I am somewhat tightly wound internally. I may seem relaxed on the outside, but I’m rarely relaxed in my mind. Somewhere along my life’s road I have picked up that strange notion that I need to be a certain way for others to approve and for them to know that I am doing well.
I was thinking back to when that started and I think the origin lies in those years after I left Germany to study in the US. I was very young and naive and I know that some among my family and friends were worried and doubtful that I would make it. Nobody said so, but I did get that feeling. Plus, I wasn’t so sure myself.
And because my family was worried and communication then wasn’t what it is now (the occasional phone call and real letters!), it was important to me to stress in those communications how well I was doing all the time. When I’d go back to visit, it was important to me to still be the same old Silke that they knew and to look good and be happy.
If I had problems I would share them with Daniel and friends, but hardly ever with my family as I didn’t want them to worry. I would pick and choose what I’d share. I’d pick and choose which people got to see which part of me. And I still do that today almost 30 years later!
I seem to be a very even person on the outside, but on the inside I am one of the most emotional people I know. I don’t listen to just any music (or much music at all), as I find it powerfully affects my emotions. The same goes for movies I watch, TV shows, books I read and people I spend time with. I am an emotional sponge and I soak it all in if I'm not careful. Even when I watch a TV show, I deeply feel for the characters and often I can’t stand it. And often I can’t help it. The same when I meet a person and I'm not careful - I know instantly how they are feeling. I don't just know it, I feel it. Over the years I have learned that that makes me an empath - and most of the time it’s not fun!
I am a very spiritually oriented person, I have witnessed real magic and I believe in angels - always have! My dreams at night often are amazingly real and at times have been predictive. I am really fascinated by everything invisible to the eye. Yet, those people around me who prefer the practical me don’t ever see that side. I’ve become excellent at compartmentalizing and trying to be the person that everyone is most comfortable with. 

Except of course Daniel - he knows all of me…  And a handful of others in my family and among my friends, who know most of "crazy" me.
I find that living this way is exhausting! Always censoring what I share and with whom I share it gets really old after so many years. It’s a hard habit to break, but I have every intention to do so. And those of you who so openly live who you are, are my inspiration!
I have decided to give myself permission to be who I am - fully and wholly and without apologies.

I give myself permission:

to believe what rings true to me
to share with an open heart
to create only what makes my heart light up
to love, love, love what I create
to be as great as I can be
to be as flawed as I am
to have a body that isn’t the same as it was when I was 20 or 30 or even 40
to celebrate my older and wiser self
to be good at some things and not so good at others
to feel great some days and not so great on other days
to not always look fantastic
to be productive some days and not on others
to be a couch potato when I need to be
to be inspired by many different things
to allow inspiration to take me to different places
to leave those things behind that no longer light me up
to not finish things if they don't need to be finished
to have days when I get nothing done
to be silly when I feel like it
to be an inspiration to others
to live up to my fullest potential
to shine brightly
to love deeply
to feel how I feel
to look how I look
to be who I am! 

With deep love and gratitude,

Silke

Friday, April 4, 2014

Full Steam Ahead!

Dear Friends, do you sometimes feel like your life is running away and you are barely keeping up? Yes? I feel that way right now.

And I think part of the reason is that I would like to think back and reflect on the wonderful travels we've had, things we've done and people we've met since December and there is just not much time for that.

Life goes on and it does so at a good clip. New fun things are waiting to be explored and discovered. And maybe that's the solution.

I often think about the concept of living in the present moment and how that is really where I would like to reside. Well, if that's true, then maybe it's enough that I enjoyed all the present moments when I was traveling and now I am on to new adventures that demand my full attention.

Still, I want to show you some travel photos after Daniel is done editing them all so patiently, but for now I'll share a new oil painting portrait I started today and hope to finish this weekend sometime.
It's coming along nicely.

If you haven't done so, remember to enter my giveaway in my previous post. If you have done so, thank you so much for your comments and your continued visits!!

With love and gratitude,

Silke

Monday, March 31, 2014

Giveaway! And Happy Anniversary...

... to me!! Today is my five-year blog and art anniversary. Five years that have changed my life. And, really, it's all of you who have played the biggest part in this. Without you, this journey would not have been this much fun or filled with inspiration!
I've been traveling in Europe for the last few weeks and will share photos of that with you over the next few weeks and months (there are many!). When I got back, I had trouble getting back into painting.
So to overcome that, I did something totally different than I did before I left. I played with an abstract background in acrylics and then just doodled. I'm getting ready to take Michelle Kral's Gone to Seed class and dried flowers are on my mind.
Winter's Bloom
11 x 14 inches, mixed media
I was just going to use it as an exercise and then paint over it, but I like it a lot. So, I'm giving it away in celebration of five creative years and more to come!

To participate, it's easy. Simply leave me a comment. If you share on your blog, facebook, etc. Just leave me another comment for more entries.

I will have my sister and family visiting soon (yeah!!!) and will be busy with sightseeing and having loads of fun, so I'll leave this open until April 30th!

With gratitude and love!

Silke

Monday, February 24, 2014

Time sure flies...

Dear Friends, I thought I would blog more last week, but then my life suddenly got busy. This morning I am leaving for almost a month in Europe - Germany, France and Spain - to visit family, meet up with Daniel (can't wait!) and do a little sightseeing.

So I spent last week getting the house ready for our house/petsitter and myself ready to travel, which didn't leave much time for blogging.
I may post the occasional blog post while I am gone, but that depends on my amount of free time and my access to wifi. 

In the meantime, I leave you with this picture from Winslow's and my morning walk through the neighborhood. 

Happy trails... 


Silke

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Potpourri

Good morning, friends and Happy Sunday!!

1. For Christmas, my sister and her family gave me a Troll Bead charm bracelet with a very beautiful glass bead. Because the beads are somewhat pricey, it's going to take me a while to fill up the bracelet.
In the meantime, I found a youtube tutorial (click here for the link) on how to make beads from paper and made eight of them yesterday! I might make some more today. They aren't as stunning as the glass beads, of course, but they still look great I think.

2. The results of last weeks life drawing class. It was a whole different story to draw someone with glasses - so much more going on with the shadows: deep shadows, lighter shadows cast by the glass, shadows through the glass, etc.
I kept having to tell myself to just draw what I saw and not what my brain was telling me. In the end, the drawing pretty much looked like the model and I was very happy with it.

3. I did some more tweaking with my oil painting and it is now done. Signed and done!
 I am so pleased with it and enormously proud! She is hanging in our living room until she's completely dry and ready to be varnished.
After that she might wander into my Etsy shop or she might stay put in our living room. I'm still quite attached to her.
4. I had mentioned before that last year there was a lot of emotional upheaval in my life and for that reason I somehow felt I needed to hang on to everything, including my art. That energy has shifted and I listed most of my artwork in my Etsy Shop. I am ready for my babies to fly the coop... You can click here to have a look or on the Etsy links on my left sidebar. I'll be adding more as I create more.


5. I am also selling my knitting, crocheting and sewing again, but I have migrated that shop from Etsy to eBay. I seem to be doing better selling my scarves and things on eBay. If you want to have a look (there is lots to choose from, crazy knitter that I am!), click here or on the eBay link on my right sidebar. I'm adding new items all the time...

That was it for the potpourri of stuff on my mind...

I wish you a wonderful and relaxing Sunday!!

Silke

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Congratulations!

Today was the deadline for my Grow Your Blog Party giveaway and I finally decided what it would be that I would give away. As some of you know I've been on a dishcloth knitting spree and it is still ongoing.

So I'm going to give away two sets of dishcloths. I picked the winners via Random.org
The first set goes to Donna of Donna's Designs.

And this happy second set is going to Judy of Judy Cooper Textile Images.
I'll send you both e-mails to get your snail mail addresses so I can send these off.

Congratulations and thank you all for visiting!!!


Silke

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My first Oil Painting

Because of Kelly Berkey's online class I finally started painting with oil paints. I had wanted to try oils for months now, but never could quite get myself to do it because it seemed so overwhelming.
Well, it isn't overwhelming anymore once I've had Kelly explain to me what I needed and how I needed to work. Oil paints are really wonderful for the exact opposite acrylics are great. Acrylics dry so fast that you can easily do a very texture and layered piece in a day.
Oil paints dry so slowly that you can do wonderful blending with your colors and work into the them even after a couple of days. Plus, the sheen of oil paints is just gorgeous - there's a glow about them.
The only problem I had was that by the end I was as covered in paint as the canvas was... I hope that'll get better with practice. 
For this painting, I really wanted to practice working with light and shadow, going a bit darker with my shadows than I usually do. There are a couple of areas I might tweak with a little bit more, but overall I like it!! A lot!

As temperatures are dropping and rain is about to fall, I am grateful that we are not in the snow and ice path of this latest storm. Stay warm and safe, everyone!!

Silke

Monday, February 10, 2014

Surprise!

Look what I found this morning in the garden!
Pure sunshine!!
Especially with everything else being so brown from the big freeze we had.
Wishing you a beautiful day filled with happiness and wonderful surprises...

Silke

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I feel inspired!

I almost didn't bring the camera on our walk this morning, but am I glad I did. It was another foggy morning, but the sun was shining through the fog and starting to burn it off.
The light was so beautifully golden.
I couldn't stop taking pictures.
It was so perfect.
Mysterious.
Inspiring!
I tried to catch all the dew drops with the sun shining through them.

The fort still in the fog.
The sun making everything sparkle.
If you click on the photo below to see it bigger, I bet you can see the beautiful stag watching us.
Winslow saw him, too, and was contemplating briefly if he felt like a chase. He didn't. I'm so glad he's not a hunting dog!
Just look at that light and the fog!

Some grazing...
...and more grazing.


 Wishing you an equally inspired Sunday!!


Silke