Monday, January 31, 2011

One World One Heart

Welcome on your travels around the blog world! 

This is the last and final year of One World One Heart, hosted by the fabulous Lisa of A Whimsical Bohemian, who started this international blogging event before I ever dreamed of having a blog. Please click here to read all about it -- but hurry back so you can enter my door prize drawing!!
True Love
Mixed media painting on 4 x 5 inch wrapped canvas.

But first, stay for a bit, have a look around and leave a comment on this post for a chance to win this 4 x 6 inch original mixed media painting. This giveaway is open to all bloggers worldwide!!

And all you have to do is simply leave a comment and make sure I'll be able to contact you should you be the lucky winner. I will draw the name of the winner on February 17 and announce it on the bottom of this post! Good luck!

Now a tiny bit about myself. I was born and raised in Germany, but came to the US 25 years ago, where I immediately fell in love with my husband! We now live in beautiful Savannah, where Daniel teaches illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design and I get to be an artist. Painting is quite new to me - I first picked up a paint brush just two years ago and now cannot imagine my life without art!

I so appreciate you stopping by on your whirlwind trip around the blogging world and hope that you have enjoyed your stay!

To see more participating blogs, simply click here.

Thank you so much, Lisa, for coordinating this amazing event and Happy Blog Hopping to you all...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Landlust - Jan/Feb 2011

It is time to for my favorite German magazine, Landlust, show and tell! You know, after the last post I did about the magazine, I got nervous thinking that maybe I was infringing on copyright laws and quickly deleted all my posts and images. But, after some conversations with the CEO of the publishing house, I now I have the official OK to show you a little of each issue.
And, boy, am I glad about that! It would be hard for me not to share this!!

As usual, the photos are stunning and the articles interesting, and some simply surprising! I had not expected a story on cacti and succulents in a German magazine. But did that ever bring back memories - growing up, my whole room was filled with them. I liked house plants, but I kept forgetting to water them.
Which is exactly what this second write up on those prickly plants is about.

Actually, I had never noticed before how many articles are related to one another in the Landlust.
Like these two - the first about the pretty little snow drops, the first flowers to dare show their tender blossoms at winter's end,
and then the second article about a jewelry artist who makes gorgeous jewelry from delicate flowers!
Or this article on church bells,
and then a second write up on how these giants are made.

I have to tell you, to me there's not much else that compares with the sound of church bells, which I have missed so much not living in Germany anymore. However, in Savannah we are lucky enough to hear real church bells again! What a treat!!
And then there's the fascinating article on a man who looks for the perfect wood for violins,
coupled with this interesting story about the creation of bowed instruments.
Wow, did the memories ever come flooding back to me when I saw these photos of those beautiful wooden sleds. The one we had looked just like the second one from the front. Oh, what joy it was to have enough snow to go sledding...
Just look at these cows! They are a new breed that comes close to the Aurochs, the ancestor of today's domesticated cattle. Don't they look beautiful in this snowy landscape?
From sledding to cattle to knitting - this magazine has it all...

And no issue would be complete without a few knitting or crocheting patterns (most of those you can find here on their website - in German, of course),

or recipes - this time celeriac, which I just love!! I am so glad we can now find it in the grocery stores more and more - it has such a distinct flavor and it's one I grew up with!
Then there are lentils - the perfect legume for nourishing winter dishes!
And, of course, there must always be an article on art,
 and an introduction of an old and intricate craft.
Of course, this is a mere sampling of all the goodies of this issue! I didn't even get to vanilla pudding recipes, warm hand sewn slippers, and then hand made garden signs!

I was thinking about why this magazine resonates so deeply with me. I read plenty of magazines that don't have the same effect on me.

Well, the obvious reason is that I get to connect with the customs and beauty of the county I grew up in, but more than that I think the focus of Landlust connects me to that slower life I love, the life that is linked to the seasons, the crafts that take time to master, the arts that take their cue from nature, and the recipes that nourish not just body, but soul. It is the idea of the unspoiled life in the country that enchants me every time!

For those of you who speak German, Landlust and the CEO of the publishing house, Mr. Bonny, were recently honored with the prestigious Horizont Award. If you click here, you can see a very interesting video talking about the magazine and its founder.

Thank you so much for indulging me!!

Tomorrow, be sure to come back for the One World One Heart blogging event and giveaway!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Art Journal - Page 5

In the end, there was only surrender
7 x 10 inch acrylic painting

Ok, friends, I am beyond excited about this little painting in my art journal!! Truly thrilled!!! Some time ago, I had looked through an old Somerset Studio magazine, which had an article by Misty Mawn on art journaling. (I think her art is actually on the cover of the current magazine.)

I was so entirely captivated by her art, her limited, soft palette, that I wanted to try something like it. So, this is my Misty Mawn inspired portrait, which is much like the portrait in the magazine and yet quite different, and I LOVE it!! I painted it on a coat of gesso covered by a thick layer of fiber paste (great stuff!!) mixed with Phthalo Turquoise. The texture is amazing and perfect for dry brush painting with heavy body acrylics!

The experimenting I am doing in my journal has been an eye opener for me. My "real" paintings have made me afraid to experiment and I don't know exactly why. And because of that, the joy I usually feel is eluding me. But in my journal, I feel like I did when I first started out.

This painting certainly made my heart skip a beat...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Comfy Cozy

After yesterday's post brought up such intense feelings in all of you stuck under blankets of snow, I thought today I'd show some more appropriate winter photos....
Daniel is traveling this weekend (enjoying the snow in New York City!) and I did something very unusual. I built a fire in the fireplace this afternoon. When Daniel is home, he builds the fires and when he's gone, I never think of doing so myself. But this afternoon, I had hankering for real coziness and a fire in the fireplace is part of that for me.
Add to that a good cup of tea, a walnut brownie, another Miss Marple mystery, and a beautiful slouch hat in the making,
and the result is a truly cozy afternoon!

When I had the privilege of meeting Vicki of 2 Bags Full in person here in Savannah a few months ago, she brought me three skeins of  this gorgeous silver yarn with sparkly sequins. Then she also gave me the pattern for this perfect slouch hat. I think it'll look great with my silver hair...  Thank you, Vicki!!

Tomorrow, I may actually have some art to show you. I'm working on a small piece that just isn't quite there yet. The talented Anne of El Milagro Studios gave me some valued input (thank you, Anne!!) and now I have an idea of what must be done to move this along. We'll see...

Thank you all for your comments on my last posts! I always love, love, love hearing from you!!! Wishing you a great start to your weekend...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A January Garden in Savannah

Today, my trusty helper (who is laying on my lap assisting my typing at the moment) and I grabbed the camera and went on a stroll through the garden. On the whole, it seems quite dormant, but when I looked closely I saw that actually a lot was happening.

Like these daffodils peeking out.
And there are actually a few brave flowers refusing to fade even with our night freezes.

And most beautiful fruit!
Do you see the buds on our ornamental pear tree?

And an interesting seed pod.
Just look at that color!!
And in our veggie garden, we get to harvest daily from our arugula,
and cilantro. I just love the color the leaves took on after the freezes.
And our collard greens are getting bigger every day!
And then ... we spied these perfect little stick maidens.
I might have to bring them into the house to keep. So pretty!
"Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them."
-   Vincent A. Simeone

We agree wholeheartedly!!

A Nesting Day

We've been having a lot of weather changes lately, low pressure systems coming through and moving up north. And on those days like yesterday, when the pressure is changing rapidly, I feel a little "under the weather." 
Nothing serious, but I just feel like I never get going properly. So, I find that on those days I tend to do a lot of quiet nesting. I read, I knit, I cook and I bake. And so I did yesterday! I made a batch of these most yummy oatmeal dinner rolls. Remember them? Click here for the recipe. I find making yeast dough amazingly soothing, both the kneading of it and the slowness of the process. Plus, nothing can beat the smell of these rolls baking!
While the dough was rising, I made some progress on this sweater I am knitting for Daniel.
When I first started, it took me forever to knit a couple of rows, because the pattern is somewhat complicated. I'd knit three rows and undo two of them - you get the idea. But at some point, it all started to make sense and now it goes much faster. Don't you just love that celtic knot pattern?
While I was knitting I watched a Miss Marple mystery I had gotten at our public library earlier in the morning. I've seen them all, but somehow I just love British mysteries, especially those set in the country side. The scenery is so pretty, the gardens so beautiful and even in a murder mystery everything seems orderly and civilized...
At the library I also got a copy of this sewing book and am totally in love with the pictures in it. I want to make one of everything!! If you want to have a peak inside, click here and you can do so at Amazon. I can't wait to get started with one of the easier projects.

And then, the make the nesting day complete, I made soup! There's nothing that's better to me than hot soup on a cold and windy day, and yesterday morning I got totally inspired by Juliette Crane's blog post on the Roasted Squash and Apple soup by Andrew Weil. I hadn't made it in ages and so dinner was decided right then!

Doesn't this look delicious?! I even found the recipe online, so if you click here you can make it, too!

There you have it! My nesting day. What are some of the things you do when you have a day like this?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Enchanted and Bedazzled

Do you remember last year when I told you about the bear den web cam for Lily and her cub Hope? Well, it's that time again! Lily and her one-year-old cub, Hope, have moved into a den together and a few days ago Lily gave birth to at least two more tiny cubs. 

I have this link bookmarked and whenever I remember, I check on them for a couple of minutes. Often nothing is happening, but yesterday I was lucky and got to see one of the little newborn cubs. Utterly enchanting! Click here to go to the live webcam and here to go to a collection of videos that are just wonderful! 
Photo courtesy of North American Bear Center

Then this morning I had a great surprise. I had finished this painting when it was gray and overcast outside here. But this morning, the sun came out and I was totally bedazzled by the sparkle on my painting when I came into the living room. The photo does not even come close, but it gives you an idea.
I have so much to share with you that I have to sit down today and make a list. Otherwise I'll forget. There is knitting, felting, cooking, baking, more art, and my favorite magazine to name just a few things that are on my mind. Plus I just love lists, so any excuse to make one is welcome...

Wishing you an amazing Wednesday!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Altered Art

Taking Off
Mixed media painting on 11 x 14 inch wrapped canvas.

Do you remember my duck painting from here? Well, it obviously was nowhere close to being finished. I used to ask Daniel how he knew if a painting was finished and he used to tell me that you just know. And he's right. This one stayed on my mind and I needed to play with it some more.

I totally love the texture and composition of this latest version. I look at it and keep seeing different things. And the gold... I don't think you can see it all. Some of it is gold watercolor powder, plus some of the fiber paper contains thin gold strips. So pretty!! My old love of paper and color is taking a new form...

Now I am off on a little jaunt through blogland. Hope to see you there...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pretty things...

I always have many books, magazines and yarn laying around in various places. When I looked at the coffee table last night, I was struck by how everything sort of matched in terms of the colors.
They were so pretty! All muted and soothing. And then I noticed something else. All of those items to me are evidence for a strong pull toward a slow life with simple joys, things to be savored and enjoyed.
Sometimes I am not even aware of what I am yearning for at the moment until I take a cue from what I'm collecting around me. Does that ever happen to you?