Thursday, October 27, 2011

Short break.

Last week my sweetheart and I went to Germany for a couple of days. We went to Zorge in the Harz. It's about 450 km from where I live. We both badly needed a short break. Zander stayed with one of his coaches at her home. He doesn't like to travel. 
We were very lucky with the weather and visited lots of different places. Because we're not used to walk in the mountains we only made a couple of short walks, but even then we had sore muscles. 

On Monday we went to Goslar. A city with lots of Fachwerk houses. My sweetheart needed some new walking shoes, so we bought those too.

On the way back to Zorge we stopped to take pictures of a small waterfall.

After we returned home and had Diner, we went for another short walk near the apartment. 

On Tuesday we first went for a short walk near Zorge. There was a small stream, a waterfall and a lake. It was very charming.

After lunch we went to a small town called Stolberg known for it's Fachwerk houses and castle. In this castle used to live Juliana van Stolberg (1506-1580). Our Queen Beatrix is a descendant of Juliana van Stolberg. 

They were renovating the castle.

On Wednesday we went to a nice sauna in Bad Lauterberg. We first looked around in the city and then took the cable way to go up the mountain. We had a cheap but delicious lunch in the restaurant. The sauna was great, with an Aufguss every half hour. When we came home I felt very lazy and we went to bed early. 

The next day I was feeling great and although it was rainy at first, it turned out to be a wonderful day with lots of sun. We went to the Brocken (highest mountain of Northern Germany) by steam train. We left our car on a parking-lot in Schierke and walked up the mountain to the train station. It took us about 15-20 minutes because it was very steep. When we left the station of Schierke the sun was shining but by the time we reached the top of the mountain it was foggy and there was snow! We found out later that the fog is there for about 300 days per year. Although we didn't get a nice view over the Harz it was fun anyways! It was freezing cold on top of the mountain but there was a guy running past us in a t-shirt and short pants. He was one of several people who runs up and down the mountain every day!!! When he was passing us the second time (still running!) he had a sandwich with sausages and something to drink in his hand. On our way down to Schierke I took pictures standing on the balcony just behind the steam locomotive. 

After this experience we left for Rubeland where there are 2 caves open for tourists. We went to the Hermann's cave. It was nice but not as impressive as the cave I once visited in France. 
The plan was to visit the old town of Quedlinburg but it was getting late and we changed our plan and decided to go to the Rosstrappe (cliffs) instead. It was too late to also go to the Hexenplatz, famous for gatherings of witches! I would love to go to the Harz again during Spring or Summer. There's still a lot for us to see!

On Friday we had to go home again. We started out to take small roads to visit Hameln. Hameln is known from the story about the Ratcatcher. There was a large Mall (4 stores) in the center of the city (very nicely built we thought because they kept the outer walls of the old buildings that used to be there, but the inside was very modern) and I bought myself some new boots. We also did some last shopping in the supermarket before we returned home.

Have a colorful Fall!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Something old turns into something new!

Just finished collaging 2 deer figures I bought some time ago. Cor and I went to a pumpkin market 1 week ago where there was this lady from Bontgeblokt, who collaged paper mache figures with just any kind of paper (wrapping paper, paper from magazines, etc.). I bought a reindeer from her and collaged that one first with the paper that went along with it. 

I liked doing it so much that I immediately wanted to continue with a new project.  I saw the deer figures I bought some time ago at Action and decided to collage them. They could use some color! I just used wrapping papers (about 4 different ones for each animal) and wallpaper glue.

You could collage lots of other things you don't like anymore. Make sure to protect the paper with varnish once you are done with collaging!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girls rule!

And here's my latest mixed media painting for Suzi Blu's Lalala class! This one was a bit of a struggle and I'm not very excited about how it turned out, but I show it anyway. 

This is how I started. I used a copy of an image from a book with images from the fifties and collaged it on a canvas.

Then I collaged the 2 girls in the middle of the painting and collaged all kind of different papers around them. 

After that I used all kind of different techniques to finally come up with this:

As I wrote before, I'm not really happy with this painting myself. What do you think?

Monday, August 29, 2011

New painting!

I just finished my latest mixed media art painting for the Suzi Blu class LaLaLa! 

This is also a painting I loved to make!! There had to be a bike and a fence in this painting and you had to use a sentence from a children's book.

I used a sentence from the book Harry, the Wild West Horse. Because it was about a boy and his horse I had to change the sentence: "Thomas loved to feel the wind blow through his hair" into "I love to feel the wind blow through my hair" Sara said. From another book I cut out the name Sara.  

I made the fence myself (couldn't find the fence Suzi used over here in my country) from some white card board and thin wire. After I finished making the fence I painted all of it with white gesso. 

This painting is about me when I was a child. I loved to feel the wind blow through my hair when I was riding my bike! Red and blue were my favorite colors growing up.

Here's a detail of the painting where you can see the glitter paint I used:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Going healthy!!

Today I picked up my first paper bag with organic vegetables. I have the Holland bag for 2 persons with only veggies from my country. This week there are 6 different kind of veggies in the bag. You can't choose upfront what kind of veggies you would like to have, so it's always a bit of a surprise. Of course all vegetables are from the season!

Here's a photo of my bag:

Starting on top left and going clockwise: savoy cabbage, little gem, chard, tomatoes, carrots (in 3 colors!) and fennel. 

I already have eaten some of the savoy cabbage, the little gem and the tomatoes. It tasted delicious!!! There's plenty of vegetables for a whole week for 2 persons and even more and it costs cheap (€7,95) in comparison to the vegetables you can buy at the organic food store. All vegetables are freshly picked the day before you can pick up the bag at one of the many points of sales.

For Dutchies look over here for more information about the bag and where you can get it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A new painting and how to clean raw beeswax!

I finished a new painting for the Suzi Blu class LaLaLa. I already gave it away to a bee-keeper in my village who was very kind giving me a big chunk of raw beeswax a couple of weeks ago. More about that later on!
This is the painting I especially made for him:

I used a shadow box without the glass. I first put a thin layer of modeling paste on certain parts of the frame and than used a small piece of a thin sheet of pure beeswax with a honeycomb motif as a stamp. Let it dry and then put gesso over it. Let it dry again and cover with yellow paint (glazed) mixed with some gold Mica powder. Let it dry and finish with burnt umber (glazed).
For the painting I used a small wooden box. I covered the back with pieces from a page of Winnie the Poeh (where he climbs a tree and flies with a blue balloon to get some honey).

This is a detail of the frame I decorated myself.

And here you can see more clearly that I've used a shadow box.

The bee-keeper was very surprised and he liked the painting very much. He gave me a big hug and told me that if I'm in need for some more beeswax I can stop by anytime!

So this is my story about how I got in touch with this bee-keeper and how I made the raw beeswax suitable for using on my paintings:

On August 1st I went for a bike ride in the afternoon because the weather was finally warm and sunny again (we've had a horrible Summer this year in my country!). In the next village I saw a sign near a house that they were selling home made honey. The bee-keeper was mawing his lawn and I asked him if he also sold beeswax. He told me he had just given away all of his beeswax to a befriended bee-keeper who happened to live in my village. I had a little chat with him, thanked him for the information and bought a pot of honey. When I arrived back in my village I went to see this other bee-keeper and he gave me a chunk of filthy/raw beeswax for free! 

So this is how my chunk of beeswax looked like before I cleaned it:

With a knife I scraped away a lot of the brown stuff. The bee keeper told me 
that it's crystallized honey.

I then put the chunk of beeswax in a small casserole which I then put in a large casserole with water. I slowly heated the water without letting it come to boil.

I put a nylon stocking on top of a square plastic container and pored the melted beeswax through the stocking. All the filthy parts in the beeswax 
stayed behind on top of the stocking.

I let the beeswax in the container rest for about an hour and then used a knife to cut it loose from the container and ... voila : a clean chunk of beeswax ready to be used for one of my next projects!