Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year MMIX!

I wish you a very, very happy New Year! We'll be on a party and stay overnight. I'm going with a big bowl of salad for a kosher kitchen.
I want to say thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting, for sharing 100 admirable creations and glimpses of every day life. It means a lot to me. Take care, and may you be successful in business, happy in private and vice versa; have wealth and a good health. See you!
The Salad
Cabbage (white cabbage will do)
The dressing: Vinegar, sugar, salt (I use Himalayan salt), Estragon, fresh grated ginger, a little bit of cardamon, olive oil.
The avocado was still hard and bitter! I left it out.
It is a salad that won't give you an onion or garlic smell. Quite welcome sometimes.

A walk in the frost

My husband hates the cold. I don't like it either, but I don't FEEL cold as easily as he does. When I had the shopping done today and he was still at work, I went for a walk with deep frozen pizzas and bread, dangling in a bag from my left hand, and a lot of stuff in my rucksack, but it was so cold I wasn't worried anything might go bad. I started taking pics of the ice flowers on parked cars. Then I went to a part of town with living houses that were built on the tracks of a former horse race course with the streets still following the oval shape. The inner space is still a vast grass aerea with ponds and park-like landscape where ducks and gulls gather around ice holes. There is a playground where a Russian granny was taking a toddler out, and the way she talked to him was exactly the singing tone with stretched vowels as my granny used to talk to me.
In the ponds and ditches I saw interesting ice phenomena. And the sparkling of the light on the frosted green was almost supernatural! I spent an hour in this park until it was getting chilly, but after a few faster steps the warmth came back. Take a walk with me!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Family Site

A few facts were added to

"Where does the light go when you switch it off?"
"I don't know..."
"Into the fridge! Go and have a look!"

In our fridge, the light is all that works. The food is in an insulation bag on the balcony. This morning I had frozen cheese on my toast. Very fresh!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some more pictures in the website

Today I continued work on my family website and added a few pictures and a few malicious remarks; I corrected errors after reading in my documents. I added a picture of my mysterious ancestor, my Granny's Granny. Who was she really? Rumors said she was Jewish. But Jews were not allowed to settle in Estonia before 1865, an era of liberalism under Tsar Alexander II, who also gave more freedom for the Finns. Few years before, 1861, slavery had been abolished. Anna married in 1850. Her husband was Mart(in). When he became a free man, he was allowed to choose a surname, and he chose the squirrel to be his "totem", his name became Orrav. His sons, Wladimir and Alexander, changed this into Eichhorn, the German word for squirrel.
The only way to rise in society was to leave the old life behind.

New watercolour/gouache painting and collage on black paper: A Night in Hortensia Gardens.
Hortensia means Hydrangea.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

About my Ancestors

Inspired through the correspondence with Rayna, I made a little website about my ancestors from Tallinn in Estonia.

Not planned

When it is warm and cozy in the fridge, something must be wrong with the old box. It is 24 years old, after all. Steak, soy milk and veggies -- quick! Out on the balcony in a plastic basket. Then I set about ordering a new fridge on the internet. We chose one at a decent price with high energy saving quality. No idea, how much the old one has wasted.
But the fridge must have heard our conversation. When my husband kicked it, the machine started again. I wonder how long it will hold on. And we are lucky that temps are around zero Celsius. The new fridge is coming on Friday.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A walk in fresh air

Second Christmas day, around noon. A beautiful blue sky, as we haven't seen it for a long time. We take a walk around the little lake near our home. Frost has covered the lake with a thin layer of ice. A jay is our guardian on the path. Frosty moss on a stone looks like green candy. People jog or walk.

This is where we live: In the house on the left side of the bridge.
Neigbours have put a huge inflated Santa on their balcony, together with a poster on which they wish a Merry Christmas to themselves.

Father in law got infected with flu by Mother in law. Husband has to stay healthy, or the company will collapse. So we won't be going to Stade too soon. When will I see our Dad&Mom darlings?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wege zu Feiern

... means: Ways to celebrate and also : paths to celebrations. It is a small night painting, one of those I do when I cannot fall asleep and feel the urge to get me a pair of cold legs which makes it even harder to go to sleep. Melody will scold me for imitating her. But the purer the colours are that you prefer, the less choice you have.
This is about the journeys of people who are on the way to celebrating with their families, about their joyful expectations and decorated houses. And it is the online connection through which we show our work to one another, which enrichens my life. I dedicate this to you, ladies!
(Watercolour on paper, 4,2"x4,2")

And this is another way to celebrate: Butchering the pomegranate. Yummy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays for All of You!

Grey days, no snow -- or too much snow. Nothing really attractive outdoors. A cozy fire, the warmth of people being together and the joy of being close to the loved ones: This is what we need much more than presents. I'll celebrate with my husband tonight. Ancester cult is postponed. My mother in law caught a cold, so we'll see her and my father in law during next weekend. This gives me some more time to finish the weaving.

-- My husband will enjoy some days of rest, for work was hell in the last weeks before Christmas. He had to work for three. No exaggeration. One of his colleagues fell downstairs and broke a leg, the other one was dismissed. It is a miracle how he managed to substitute them.
We'll have supper and a little present and be alone as always. Father, what makes this night different from all the other? -- Almost nothing.
Oh, yes. Chris Gray sent me this absolutely cute Christmas ornament plus a lovely card (middle top), how sweet is this!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weaving on

Oh, my God, what was I thinking, I burdened the minds of my readers with sad stories from more than half a century ago. Okay, now let's have some bright colours.
I'm trying hard to finish it until Christmas Eve, because, as you may know, we have a boxing night, not a boxing day; it is the evening of Dec 24th.
Yet it is unclear whether we're going to Stade as planned. My poor mother in law has a cold now, and we better renounce on closer contact, but before all: Visitors mean more stress to a mother than she would ever admit, and even if we offer help, we cannot do all the work she will have in advance. So our visit is probably postponed.
Obviously we won't have a white Christmas, and we aren't keen on it. I just saw the news from the northern United States and how the storm keeps people in the airports over night. No, this is not what we want. I hope they will reach their destiny in time and be united with their dear ones!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The same procedure as last year

In my German blog I wrote one year ago: Is it Christmas, or is the last boat starting from Zoppot?
Is it 1945, and the Red Army coming nearer?
People are concentrating on this deadline, as if it was a question of life or death. They are under stress, and they demand from my husband to make the furniture delivery possible before Christmas. Later is too late. It's all lost. They behave as if this was the end of the world. My man is working so hard that he is under stress even during the weekend. "Let go", I say, "we can do this later... No. He gets affected by this atmosphere. This is against the spirit of all celebration, whether you call it solistice, Chanukah or Christmas.
Breathe deeply, people. Remember you can make presents even after Christmas.

By the way. When I was corresponding with one of my American blog friends, we were talking about European history. I mentioned the history of my family which is rather interesting, and so I decided to make a little website out of photos and notes that my mother left behind when she died in November 2001. She was born in Tallinn (pic) and came to Germany in 1939. I translated 11 pages into English today.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Morning and Teatime

This morning, a red squirrel pranced about in the tree opposite to the kitchen window. I took it by zoom.
Our Squirrels are bright rust red or darker burgundy, almost black. The breast is bright white. I think they are a lot smaller than the American species, and not quite so daring.

Teatime: I got a present yesterday! From my Vienna friend. It is a teapot that lies on its back while the tea is steeping.
Here is a similar model with description.
And here ours and the source.
My friend gave it to me because it will not be needed anymore by his parents.

Friday, December 19, 2008

For all who celebrate...

This is my Chanukah greeting card for my friend W. from Vienna who is spending a few weeks near Hamburg for family reasons. His parents are old and are losing memory and have to be taken care of. So he is doing a hard job preparing the house for sale. It is a huge house with thousands of items to make decisions on. I'm one of the persons he meets to get distracted from this job. And I painted this last night. It is gouache on black paper.
This afternoon I'll meet him. I'm looking forward to that. We'll be having a good laugh together, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picturesque home town

Okay, I'm weaving, then I had a little job for my website customer. I did not get on much with Joseph's Anorak. In order to reward you for coming to my blog, I'm going to show pictures from the place I live in. So you don't come in vain. The first is a glass window in a branch office, a building from the 1920ies. We have a lake in our town, which was a river before it became a mill pond, now it is the lake Alster. All these canals that make the town look so Dutch used to be for the practical purpose of transporting goods by boat. Last picture: Old parts of the harbour in the moonlight.

The naughty thing

I wrote it last night and put it aside and slept one night over it in order to prevent myself from doing something stoopid. In the morning I knew I can do it, you won't send me stink bombs, willya? So here we go:

Rude and mean

Giving each other awards for the most beautiful, the most creative blogs seems to be an act of kindness. It was invented out of enthusiasm and the pleasure of participation. But why not just read and comment? It may be an educative intention. People will make nicer blogs in order to be honored with a medal. We are so used to medals that we don't think twice about motivation. The greatest motivation for blogging is blogging. It is a new kind of communication, it has been replacing the rural garden fence. Soap operas on TV are another garden fence, you see the same faces every day, a limited number of them, so you can remember the details, and you learn a limited number of new facts every day. Just as it is in village life. The chat in the shop. I can't chat in the supermarket. And I wouldn't. I found a new democratic peer-to-peer communication with nice people who love similar crafts as I do. Now, what happens if someone starts giving awards? She/(rather not)he has founded a jury. Or started being a jury. I'm on top, I can judge other people. Of course, this is a good intention! Being praised is a great feeling, you know you have done something good. We all need that, and we are ready to admire the work of others. That's alright. Well, this can be done in the comments. It's nice, it's rewarding, it's peer-to-peer. It's enough.
  • Creating awards can raise the feeling: "She's got one, but not me. Why not me?"
  • It gives a blog something of kid's play. But many of us are professional artists, we should have a blog with a more or less serious appearance.
  • whereas in our blogs we can define ourselves, we get a label through this award which defines us.
  • praises slow down. Critis increase the speed. This will be explained.
I'm spreading comments, mostly praising, sometimes critical, but if I do, I hope to inspire, nothing else. There are no critical awards. This is impossible. You can give a positive award or a negative one. "Worst Blog Award" -- could you think of that? Everyone must be shocked by this idea. But there's nothing in between. Awards are extremes. Scientists found out that praises sometimes decrease the level of performance. Some snooker players make their worst mistakes within the minute after being successful in a very difficult task. Probably they say to themselves: "Well done" -- and bang. Mistake in an easy task. We need critical remarks. I want them. And this is why I created this award. I'm rude and mean. I'm not giving it to anyone. You have to steal it and put it on your blog if you want to. Is it protected by copyright? Nope.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Looking back 55 years

I was 4 years old when I spent a summer in the very north of Germany, together with my Grandma and relatives. My mother was having a baby, my younger brother, at that time, and my Dad spent the weekends with us.
So, most of the time I walked with my Granny. "Now you will see the sea for the first time", she said pathetically, and this is why I remember the moment very clearly.
She was a very tough and clever lady, a daring black market dealer in 1945, supplying the cosacks with vodka and taking bread home. As she spoke a meticulous St.Petersburg Russian, she got everything she wanted from them. She also spoke a beautiful German, French and Estonian.
She came to help my mother with laundry and ironing, and while she turned the bedsheets into stiff, heavy white boards, she reported the highlights of the Genesis to me. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, she knew them well.
In August 2008, my husband and I went to this place, and I took the colour pics of this vast and beautiful, wind-torn beach.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Painting and sewing

Last night I've been working till 2 a.m., I continued work on the painting. I just can't sleep since full moon, because the HUM is back, the disturbing thing that most people do not hear, and the rest is agonized. I don't hear it all the time, but it seems to be getting worse. Okay. So I paint until I can sleep.

While watching Snooker, I've carried on with Joseph's coat. Potiphar's wife. The brothers talking about what to do with their prisoner. A seal of red paint or blood.
The well he was thrown into. The Desert.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Painting new patches

Today I painted a few new patches for Joseph's colourful coat. And this is the mess in which I work (and I seem to need it):
I use acrylics and disperse them on a smooth surface, then comb it with a selfmade plastic tool to create the patterns and transfer it by just pressing the cloth (old linnen bedsheet) onto the paint. It is much easier than creating a print which is meant to remain after washing. Mine would suffer a lot.
This is the palette.
I was desparate today, trying to iron a laser print onto cloth. Just a faint, dirty shadow! Looks like I have to buy this transparent foil for laser printers. Or is there a cheap and easy way? 50 years ago in school I learnt how to print with potatoe halves into which we cut patterns. But not photographs.

And this is the husband, watching O'Sullivan play a brilliant snooker in the UK Championship.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Should be weaving, but I'm stitching

News from Joseph's coat: 3 new pictures are being added.
No.1: Joseph's brothers are pleading for food in front of the Egyptian officials.

No.2: Wheat spikes, upright and bent
No.3: The pyramid
In the big picture, the fingerprint is there, evidence of crime. So the whole story will be in the coat already, in parts written/drawn with blood -- patterns of destiny.
But I want my spectators to feel free in their own discoveries. Because whatever you see in these pictures -- you are right, your vision is as least as valid as the artist's intention.

Today my man cooked the dinner and let me create. He is such a darling!