Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking out into the New Year

I will celebrate New Years Eve twice. The new year won't start on Jan 1st for me. My new year will happen on Feb 14th, according to the Tibetan calendar. This is when the Earth Ox year will end which is regarded as a year of obstacles for the ox-born ones by Tibetan tradition. I was born under the same sign, and this makes the 61st year of life a difficult year in general.

2010 will be the Iron Tiger year. It is double metal, because also the Tiger is seen as a metal animal.
Since I started observing Tibetan New Year, I had the feeling that nothing really changed on Jan 1st. So I abstained from making any promises or pledges. The feeling of a new quality to me is connected with an astronomic significance, with solstices, new moons or equinoxes. Year by year, I had the feeling that something had changed in February or the end of January, sometimes in March; maybe it was just my imagination, but the atmosphere is definitely different. From my young years, I remember the same dialogue repeated in December: "What are you gonna do on New Years Eve?" -- "Dunno. Get drunk, I guess."
Spring is a celebration without wine.

Nevertheless, we will open a bottle of champagne on New Years eve and celebrate with a guest. And I wish you all a very merry celebration and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dark but happy days

Leaving a place full of dirty snow (grey Christmas), we went past the harbour in the fog. Bound to the small town where my parents in law live. No ice on the road. A sleeping garden with finches and tits at the bird feeder.

My P-I-L liked the painting. It will be hanging near their dining table. I finished it in the meantime, added more details and colour and changed the front. Forgot to take a picture.

The light was sad! It was almost like night. Almost impossible to take photos.
J gave me a radio+MP3 player+cd player+cassette player. When we returned home on the evening of 1st Xmas day, we put it up in my room, so I can listen while painting or printing. I have so many old cassettes from the eighties: John Peel's music. I miss him still. He died way too early.
J enjoys to be sleeping late, and I have time to read the book I gave to J as one of my presents. It is about the Baroness Hilla Rebay who initiated the Guggenheim collection and made Guggenheim spend a lot of money on pictures by Kandinsky and Mondrian and other, but also on Bauer whose lack of fame today does him justice.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas is wonderful, it just happens at the wrong time

Sorry, it is me who happens at the wrong time. It is all my fault.
If any of you knows about horoscopes: The sun reaches my midheaven point at Christmas. Midheaven is the point of greatest activity concerning job, work, existence. Every year at Christmas I become extra creative and feel that I am close to something that I should grab ASAP. And bang, celebration starts, and I am kept off by shopping, going to P-I-L and loving all the people around me.
J and I had a look at my latest water color and pencil paintings. We picked out those that promise a development. Oh my god. All so different! Where will I go? J knows about styles in art, and he said a few helpful things. "Maybe you should try and integrate those styles... well... What are you trying to say? What is important for you?"
A message should not be expressed in a penetrant way, maybe I went too far with my latest picture. On the other hand, I like the watercolor+pencil technique. I don't want to discard any path, or I'd miss something.
The research has to go on. I'm satisfied with nothing. And this gives me some satisfaction and allows me to make a few hours break. J is pushing me to get a shower and move along. He is right.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Landing platform

Another watercolor/colorpencil painting was influenced by two YouTube videos, one about an observation from 2006, another from a recent mystery.
Painting such things, to me is a comfortable way to deal with them without straining my poor little brain halves too much, but to let my intuition work on it. Hope it is not too obscure for you.
Should such observations hint on higher powers to be protecting us and to let us know, I feel that it is not only us who take care of the planet -- no, maybe it takes higher forces to do a better job on this issue than we do.

Many cultures emphasize the turn of the light with celebrations around light. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, whatever way you celebrate, and a happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My recipe: Switch on low heat and forget

It has been snowing most of the morning, now it looks much like this (photo was taken earlier). This is where we live. We've been thinking of moving closer to J's company, but we are not likely to find such a snug place at the same price, green environment AND the short distance to the metro which is important for me since I don't drive (right, I'm a person without a driver's licence which is probably hard to believe, but I just never learnt to drive a car. I'm not a great cook either, I like to put all the stuff into one big pot, as you can see it here: Chicken joints, carots, broccoli, an interesting potatoe with a reddish peel, but yellow inside (eager to try it! Did not peel it, I am the laziest of cooks), onions, a sour apple, a little fresh ginger and white wine/hot water to extinguish. I added half a cube of vegetable extract with sea salt. This will be simmering for more than one hour. Dinner for at least two days. I believe in long-cooked food in winter. Vitamines? We need heat. My Tibetan doctor told me so.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, young mothers right after giving birth were served a chicken soup that had been simmering for 48 hours. Reminds of the "goldene joich" from jewish cooking, doesn't it?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weird light, cold nights

All the weekend thru, we had temperatures of about 3° F/-16° C at night. During the day, they did not rise much, so we had about 19° F. This is unusual. I remember warm Xmas eves in the seventies, 63° F on Dec 24th, 1978.
Last night, it wasn't quite so cold, just 28, but the sky was so bright. Looks weird, doesn't it? This picture was taken at 4:38 in the morning, long before dawn. We don't have more than 3" snow, but a Siberian feeling.
J hates it, I can cope with it. Baltic blood? In my parents' old home, most of the winter temps stayed on the above level, and schools stayed closed when it was below -- 22° F/--30° C.
I'm convinced that a warm cap is the clue. In Germany, most people take pride in going out without a cap. I don't know the offspring of this peculiar custom. I brainwashed my husband into wearing a cap. His rate of sinusitis has decreased from 3 times a year on less than once since then.
Solstice! From tomorrow, the light is coming back and days start getting longer!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Distant Ancestors

The stars are matter...
We are matter...
But it doesn't matter.
(Don Van Vliet, also known as Captain Beefheart)

Colour pencil drawing, 19 x 21 cm (7 1/2 x 8 1/4") , with water color in parts, finished (ahem, is it?) last night when the urge to draw forced me to stay up until midnight. In spite of being tired. As my left hand still will not allow me to continue my quilting projects (as painfully experienced yesterday), I'll concentrate my creative ambition on drawing and painting until the problem will be gone. Hopefully.
Could it be rheumatism?
Can a woman with these musical preferences have rheumatism?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Short days, bright sun

It is cold. A frosty night is followed by a sunny day, but before the sun can melt the frozen path, it is on the way down again. We took a walk, eager to see the sun as long as it was there, and starting out after lunch meant we saw it touch the horizon just 2 hours later. There was this house near the lake, empty and with smashed window panes on the back side. Such a beautiful house. What a shame. People walking by stopped to debate ways to save it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting a very conventional picture

Yes, I did this one, WIP, a landscape where J and i like to take walks. The bristles of my brush yearn to wallow in vibrant colours. But my p-i-l don't have a sense for abstract art. And they won't see this before Xmas, they don't have internet access.
On the shelf beside the clock: Yes, it's my husband making a funny face.
No sign of daylight today, even at noon. It is raining unceasingly, and the creek is well-filled.
Not a sign of snow either, and I'm not eager to have any. My dh has to drive to work every day, and he is not really happy if he has to drive on icy streets.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Will I finish my projects before Xmas?

A tenosynovitis keeps me from sewing and quilting. I bandaged it myself. Looks crazy, but helps a bit to avoid wrong motion. Funny -- it's the left hand. Although I've been working with my right hand, I obviously twisted the left hand while holding the piece I'm working on. A consequence of obsessive quilting. Take care!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A weekend in our capitol

"Wedding" is a Berlin quarter, not what it means in English, but a good place for a party anyway. We were in Moabit, the jail place, not in Wedding. J's cousin H celebrated his birthday on Sunday. He invited us for brunch in a traditional looking Berlin pub. It is decorated with old advertisment panels all over.

After eating and drinking, we sat together, chatting; some of our friends had met again after 20 years. Some had brought their kids, too, and the host's wife H started doing origami for them. I took out my embroidery.

A walk around one of Berlin's flea markets followed. The weather was not too pleasant, but dry which made this walk fun! It is a high quality flea market, no rumble, and the traders know the value of their stuff. The times are over when you could make a bargain because the sellers did not know what they had found in the attics.
There were African masks -- no idea how authentic they are, I don't know about African antiques. And there were very good kilims and woven rugs from Turkey, vintage bethcloths in abundance and oriental jewelry. Statues in whimsical combination, I could not take pictures of all what I'd have liked to show you, because we had appointed to meet again after half an hour which was way too short for this market. I purchased an indonesian print cloth in yellow and ochre, sarong size, for 14 $.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Confessions of an addict

So this is a stash, spread out on a bed. How will I be able to justify this on judgement day? I know what to say: This material is no longer produced in Europe. Crewel embroidery is dead on the continent. I had to salvage what I need.
I bought these boxes at about 0.35 $ per skein online. I bought larger stashes for almost no money, because the embroiderers gave up using it or passed away. I sort them out, collect them in groups of reds, greens, blues. I separate bundles. Just got a parcel with wonderful new and used wool skeins. Danish wool. Love it!
And I tell you: never make bundles by tying them together with rubber strings. Never ever. The leftovers after 10 or 20 years are just icky.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I don't have a wall to put up my quilting project. It is all lap work, so to say. But I'll have to arrange the strips before I sew them together. The sunshine brings out the quilting nicely, so I took this picture. I'm not all that pleased with the bright sun, because together with the full moon, it makes my head kind of dizzy. Too much energy, I guess. I found the right material for the inner line. It is the right top turquoise fabric.
I'm still thinking if I should do a wool batting with the lovely material I got from Judy; or should I just give it a backing, as the dark parts are wool fabric anyway? My husband loves warmth. But can the quilt be washed with a wool batting? Do you have a quilt like this, and do you have it dry cleaned?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What the full moon does

It's full moon! And I've been fighting with my German blog. My identities got entangled, and I don't know how. Sometimes I'm suspicious about the hidden connections that we create when signing in into this and that network. I just joint one in order to communicate with my friends. I was musing about networks, and don't they all use the knowledge of our emotional side, the desire to be among the others and not to be excluded, but to be part of it instead? Each of us is 12 years old deep inside, I guess. The inventers of internet communities are very clever to use this emotion and the feeling of being alone in an ocean of websites, unless we start fighting this loneliness by making friends in cyberspace. Is it because you lack human companionship in every day life? In my case, it is a bit like this. My relationship with my husband is very harmonious and full of love. But during the days when he's gone to work, I need you, my distant friends. It doesn't matter if you have 10 or 1000 contacts; the quality counts.
And so, I overcame my suspicion against networks and joint http://handembroidery.ning.com today.