Fortune favoered me with some spare time last weekend. And so – with my boyfriend busying himself with bike preparations – I took my chances and a box of dried geranium flowers and started another attempt at producing paint.

As usual the flowers were cooked in an alum solution.
The crystals disolved rather quickly in the hot water. (I used about 15 teespoons and about 300 ml of water)
After adding the flowers it looked like this:

After 15 minutes of cooking.
At the surface there happend some crystalisation each time I stopped stirring.

And indeed there water was red:

I put the whole bulk in a jar …

… and then sifted it.
The result was a jar full of red sap colour with a layer of crystal at the bottom.

And now for the really interesting part:
When painted it looks like this

The darker stain glitters!
It’s the same effect as with the elderberry batch.
The book does not mention this – I think it’s some of the remaining alum crystalising.

I already started drying some of it in a shell, and I plan another attempt at producing some pigment – using a different method this time.

The Gladden Fields – Project – First Part Finished

I recently finished the first unit of the bathroom decorations.

The transparent stuff worked pretty well. It gave me a better grasp at the whole piece, which behaved well and didn’t tried any funny things.
Also I used more paint, so the pieces were thicker and didn’t went out of shape that much.

So for now it looks like this:

The colour of the flowers are actually more lilac, but the rest of the colours is pretty godd.

I’m thinking about flipping the next unit vertically. Like it’s mirrored … There would be two units of reeds next to each other … what do you think?

Urban Permaculture

I have a new book. It’s called ‚Jedem sein Grün‘ (which roughly translates to ‚Green for everyone‘, here’s the Amazon link.

It’s a book about permaculture. If you’re not familiar with the term, the Internet has a lot to say about it.

Basically it’s about sustainability, self-sufficiency, making do with what you’ve got and, of course, saving the world.

This book is not only about permaculture, it’s about urban permaculture, which means the same but not as an romantic, ideal dream about a big farm far out in the countryside, working in accordance with nature itself – no, it means starting right were you are, making the best of what you’ve got (a little garden, a small balcony, maybe only a window …).

It’s not a book that teaches you very much. It’s more the sort of book which reveals possibilities, shows you what others are already be doning. It gets you in the mood to do more yourself.

There’s a lot I could do with my balcony. A lot of space unused. I think next year will see some chances. More balcony boxes, maybe a salad tree, more vertical gardening, compost, insects, birds … much planing to do.

In the book there is one example of a urban farm.
There is a property in the middle of Pasadena, about 1/10 of an acre of garden, which is self sufficient. They even produce more food than they need, they sell some of it.
1/10 of an acre! That’s about 404,7 square metres!
If you don’t believe me, that’s the way to the homepage.
There’s even a short film which you find here.

This all starts me dreaming. Dreaming about turing my parents home (which is much more than 400 square metres) into a sort of village farm, maybe selling a some of my art, selling bikes too … growing stuff, transforming the whole ground, doing crater paches, sun traps, insect hotels …

Maybe …

First of all I need to turn my balcony into some kind of mini farm
– and I need less working hours to do all the stuff I want to!

Contrada Della Corte

Last weekend we visited the „Peter und Paul“ festival‘ at Bretten, which is a small town somewhere eastward of Karlsruhe.
It’s some kind of annual renaissance fair including the reenactment of a battle which happend 1504 and was about the citizens of Bretten defending their home so as not to becomme a „Swabian“ town but staying a „Baden“ town. By now the whole area is a integral part of Baden-Wuertemberg but every year they remember that in truth they are people of „Baden“ only.

Apart from that it was really nice there.
There was some arabic tea, great friends, splendid jugglers, good artisans, music, food, flag throwers and a marching band. Some marching bands in fact.

Flag throwers an a marching band.

I know it sounds a bit boring, but yet …
.. you had to be there.

I’m talking about the italian group called Contrada della Corte. (I know some of you speak italian) They’re really awsome.

You may think there is an end to what you can do with one flag, and also there has to be a limited number to how many flags one person can handle, but, BUT like in juggling there’s a lot more posible than you can imagine.

They are just guys, but sometimes they look like butterflys and most of the time I just stood there wondering about what exactly they were doing.
And they acted with this sort of pomp and ado as only the italians can do…

Whatch this:

Well, here you can see only three flags, last weekend I saw some guy juggle with up to seven flags!

They don’t just do this juggling thing, they also have a bunch of choreographies which include a lot of throwing and waving.


They also have a fire show, but we didn’t stay long enough to see it (this time).

You Had To Be There!

The Gladden Fields – Project

I’m happy to declare my decision on the naming of the bathroom project.

I’m calling it The Gladden Fields Project

Hands up everyone who saw it comming!

I had a lot of reservation to choose that particular name, and I’m affraid that I there will be an increase of juwelry sock losing, but I just had to!

Also I want to share a picture with you
It’s about a crane becomming … well a crane.

I’m really hoping this transparent spacing stuff will help. I would hate to do this bird more often than necessary.

Update on the bathroom project

Windowcolor is a bitch!

I remember now why I did not do more projects with that stuff.
It takes a lot of time. You do the outline, you let it dry for some hours, you fill the spaces, you let it dry for some hours, you correct some details, you let it …
Also the finally finished pieces are awfully sticky and tensile, they tend to warp if you just look at them in the wrong way! Once they started to stick together there is almost no way to seperate them again AND retain a basic idea of the original shape.

This stuff is supposed to be for children!
How do they manage to do this little pictures you can see everywere?

Anyway … I’ve done a test piece which will be lodging in our tub for a couple of weeks to see if it likes it there. (I’ve read that some sorts of windowcolor tend to liquidate in moist environments, … so test piece)

This is how it looks like


You can see that there is only one flower left. Two didn’t survive.

I’m going to buy some of this transparent space filler stuff, maybe it will help …

Any ideas concerning a name for the project?

When things get tough

Here’s a speach Neil Gaiman gave last May:

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012

There’s also a comic strip by Gavin Aung Than, who took a bit from the middle of the speach an made it into a comic.
(Actually I read the comic first and until today had no idea what the original speach was like)

zen pencils

This speach is floating around the internet for some time now, so maybe you have seen it already.
But maybe you don’t and you’re listening to it now and you’re feeling as touched and inspired as I am right now.

Do what only you can do best.