Flower talk

I might have mentioned before that I have a "black thumb". I'm not good around plants. I say Hi to a flower and it drops dead in agony.
Inside the house I can't have any flowers because the cats always think it's a special gift to them. I won't take the chances.

Nevertheless I love flowers. Often I find I walk by them carelessly, just seeing the nice colors, maybe sniffing a rose in summer, but not really looking at them closely.
Sometimes, though, I take a moment to squat and take in the details of a plant. And if I happen to have a camera on me, I take a picture.

This week felt very springlike again. It was warm, there was sunshine and suddenly I noticed how the flowers in our "garden" (it's not a real garden, but a strip of plants behind our house) had grown. You wonder how there can be flowers if I have the black thumb disease? Our neighbors take care of that and they do a good job.

These are the hyacinths that we got from visiting friends. The tall guy had put them up on the wardrobe, but once Ponder started climbing it with an excited howl, we knew they had to go outside. When we got them, they were only little buds, but that sure has changed and the bee was quite happy about it.

The daffodils are getting ready for Easter. In German we also call them "Osterglocken", meaning "Easter bells".

Some of the pussy willows haven't opened up yet, but these are already fluffy and soft to the touch.

Daisies are some of my favorite flowers. We call these "Thousand beauties" in German, "Tausendschönchen". I fell in love with them when I was about 12 and got some to put into my own little corner of soil in front of the house. They and the sunflowers were the only ones who didn't die right away, maybe that is why I am so fond of them.

This pansy is not ready for spring yet, it seems. That's ok, I love the bud just the way it is. Maybe it likes to sleep in like I used to do?

Our garden cat is watching from behind the hyacinth pot. Not without reason. Poor Kitty is mainly a head and only half a body after the neighbor dropped her. She used to be painted, but I like the way she looks now. And nobody would think she is broken, hidden like that.

And this is what I mean by taking a moment for the details. Standing up I didn't notice this drop at first. Bending down I was fascinated as I am always with drops on leaves, hanging from branches or sitting on tables. I am glad I took that moment.

I hope you enjoyed that little tour through our "garden" as well. Have a great spring, all of you!


Tree of life

The tree of life is a symbol in many cultures. It can have different meanings depending on if it is shown with or without leaves, with or without roots.
But you know what? It doesn't really matter. A tree is beautiful, one way or the other.

For some it's just a piece of wood that you can burn, for some it's inspiration, for many it is a friend. It's a place you can sit underneath, enjoying the shade, reading, chatting, dozing or sleeping. It's something that can accompany you your whole life through and many people are sad when they see an old friend like that being cut down.
There have been songs written about it (a favorite of mine being from 1968 sung by Alexandra) and there are countless poems and stories.

Of course I have my own tree stories to tell
- about the walnut tree in my godmother's garden that had to be cut down because it got to tall for its spot so close to the house
- about the cherry tree that my friend and I climbed in her garden picking the gorgeous deep red sweet cherries
- the sour cherry tree in our garden (when there were no garages there yet) I was sitting underneath with my grandmother telling her that my doll needed clothes
- the chestnut trees in the school yard and the park nearby where we collected tons of chestnuts to later make little horses and other animals out of
- the apple trees in our pastor's garden that were raided by the boys from our confirmation course until the pastor put a big bowl of apples on the table with a wink in his eye (he was the coolest pastor ever!)
- the lemon tree in the back of my friend's house in California where I sat for four hours with White Dude, the later foreign exchange kitty we took home after that vacation, in my arms

.... oh, I could go and on, but I'm sure you have your own stories.

My muse made me create two tree pieces lately. She can be a mean kicker if she wants me to do something!
One of them is a polymer clay piece. By making it I expressed how tired I was of seeing snow. I can't wait for the green to come back.

The other one is a piece of ocean jasper looking like a winter landscape (thanks, Ness, for pointing that out!). At first there was no tree, but when I felt I wanted to make the bezel even safer to avoid the rock jumping out of it, suddenly a tree began to shape and I followed the direction willingly.
I also love bare trees, maybe because they seem to be a promise life will come back?

These two pieces couldn't be more different. Just like my memories of trees.

I would love for you to share one of your memories with me.


Where's Flappy Flambé?

You know I'm member of the ArtFire Guild "Handmade in Europe" together with some very talented artisans.
You know that our logo is the phoenix (if you looked at the right column on this blog).
What you don't know is that we had job interviews for logo models. It was a tough choice.

Flappy Flambé didn't get chosen because he is a little wild, so he stormed off to take over our studios. Scary stuff regarding the fact that he is a fiery little dude.
Where is he? Help us find him!

You'll find all the information you need to join our posse right here.
Did I mention there is an award, not to say a bunch of awards?? :-D



That's the title of my latest T-West.
Sometimes when browsing I am just stunned by the talent of others, their visions, their patience, their technique.
This treasury was a last minute catch and I was absolutely clueless about what to choose when this theme suddenly came to mind.
I hope you'll enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
And now go over there and comment!! Go, go! It's so worth it!


How desperate can you get?

Ok, so today it's rain and no snow. The snow on the streets is melting. But hey, this is still not at all spring and I am desperate for spring!

When reading a forum thread about gardening and mild Californian weather (!!) I decided to plant snow flowers to have some flowers at least. I thought sticks with snowballs on top would look nice, but no, one of my forum fellows said it was not enough.
And that was how she planted, not flowers, but an idea in my head.

I'm not the gardener type anyway, I might have mentioned it before. I say Hi to a flower and it cringes and dies, but there are ways ...

Voilà, my spring has officially started. I don't know what kind of flower this is, but frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn ;-)
(Don't be surprised, I love movie quotes!)


The train lady strikes again

Is it really so unusual nowadays for people to help others?
Let me tell you another one of my train "adventures" and please keep in mind that I don't intend to brag about being such a helpful little soul, but rather want to encourage others to take a moment and wonder what it's like to need help and not get it although it often would be so easy.

I walked to the train station and at the escalator there stood a lady with a cane and a big trolley and told me to go first. I asked her if she needed help and took her trolley so she could step on and off the escalator easier.
She met me again at the ticket machine and asked me if I could help her with buying a ticket. I know many people, older ones in particular, have a problem with these machines, so I let out her ticket. She happened to go to the same place as me, so I already expected to see her at the platform again.
And yes, there she was when I came there after buying my beloved ginger snacks and the yummy rice nachos with cheese that are so addictive ... oops, digressing, sorry - again, there she was. On the wrong side of the track. She had told me she had just been out of the eye clinic and couldn't see well yet, so she must have taken the wrong turn, to the side where you can't get on the train. I walked after her and took her to the right side (not the dark side ;-)).
Waiting for the train there she told me she had been released from hospital earlier than expected and couldn't even tell her daughter about it because she couldn't read the display on her cell phone. So I called a very surprised daughter telling her that her mother would be home today. I recruited a young man standing nearby to put the trolley on the train because I am not allowed to carry heavy stuff myself at the moment. And on arrival I recruited another passenger to lift the trolley out again, took her to the elevator that she hadn't known about yet, but which was much easier than the stairs of course, and said goodbye in front of the train station. I hope she caught her bus in time.

All that didn't cost me much energy, time or nerves, but she was so grateful that I really wondered if being helpful is a dying trait in today's society.
I sure hope not.


Do you know ...

.... how difficult it is to stay concentrated and not lose patience when a very loud cat is sitting in front of a closed door?

When I started to work with polymer clay, the upstairs kitchen became off-limits for the furry inhabitants of this house. As the fur tends to creep in under the door, it's hard enough to fight it off without having a wild chase around the table with hair flying in all directions.

The fact that there is a closed door is particularly hard for Ponder and Esme. It starts with a soft sound that changes into a yodel (Pon) or wild squeaking (Es) pretty quickly. Ponder takes it even harder than his sister. Even when he hasn't been around me for an hour or longer, he seems to feel that I'm behind "The Door" suddenly and he just won't have that.

So imagine me trying to roll clay with my hands while nerve-wrecking yodelling comes through the door, so loud that I'm afraid the neighbors will get me for torturing my cat. Imagine me trying to poke holes into about 40 beads while the yodelling starts to be accompanied by scratching on the door, not to mention the attempt to climb the door. Yes, Ponder walks up doors and it's a very distinctive sound.
I'm weak and can't stand that for very long which is the reason why it took me a few days to make all the beads.
I had started with the big focal one. The smaller ones are not as clear in their pattern, but that is why a focal is, well, a focal.

The necklace is not finished yet. I still need to string the beads and add a clasp, but I was curious to see what it might look like.

And now I have a purring black cat in my lap, happy that I came back out of the mysterious room, back to him, to serve him, in good days and in bad days. Doh.


If I could be ...

If I could be a month I’d be June
If I could be a day I’d be Friday
If I could be a time of day I’d be midnight
If I could be a planet I’d be Saturn

If I could be a sea animal I’d be a whale

If I could be a direction I’d be northwest
If I could be a piece of furniture I’d be an armchair
If I could be a liquid I’d be spicy chai

If I could be a gem stone I’d be an opal

If I could be a tree I’d be a willow

If I could be a tool I’d be a multitool
If I could be a flower I’d be a daisy

If I could be an element of weather I’d be warm summer rain
If I could be a musical instrument I’d be a saxophone
If I could be a color I'd be sunny yellow

If I could be an emotion I’d be love

If I could be a fruit I’d be a ripe strawberry
If I could be a sound I’d be a cat's purr
If I could be an element I'd be fire

If I could be a car I’d be an old VW beetle

If I could be a food I’d be "Spätzle" (Swabian noodles)
If I could be a place I’d be the woods
If I could be a material I'd be velvet

If I could be a taste I’d be spicy

If I could be a scent I’d be the scent of onions fried in butter

If I could be a body part I’d be eyes
If I could be a facial expression I'd be a smile
If I could be a song I’d be a ballad

If I could be a bird I'd be a sparrow

If I could be a gift I'd be coming from the heart
If I could be a street I'd be a small hidden street with old houses

If I could be a city I'd be San Francisco
If I could be a door I'd be left ajar

If I could be a pair of shoes I’d be a pair of worn sneakers

And what would you be? How do you see your inner self? This was given from blog to blog, I can't say where it came from first. My inspiration came from Teri's blog.