Big Little Steps : First days in Kita ( German Kindergarten)

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Her smile , its priceless!

Milestone Alert : My green Goblin 3-Year old daughter goes to the Kindergarten!

It’s been a while since I’ve written some personal updates about my daughter whom I’ve written a lot about here  in “Raising Natalie “. So I thought that after squeezing some quality time with my ever-beloved laptop which always reminds me of my Expat days in Kuwait since it has Arabic characters in the keyboard, I finally managed to put together this post to celebrate my daughter’s first days in Kita ( or  German Kindergarten). And yes, I called it celebration, because I think, starting in Kindergarten is a great milestone to celebrate just like a promotion or a raise. After all, it’s a signal for growth. Not only for your kids, but for parents as well! Finally, my Third Culture Kid goes to Kindergarten!

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Young, Wild and THREE!

So first, if you are a parent and your child goes to Kindergarten for the very first time, let me give you my warmest congratulations, and say “Well, done!”

I wanted to share our experience how did it go for us with my daughter starting her days in Kita here in Germany. I’ve written before how insane it is here to find a spot for our child to be admitted in the Kita. We literally waited for almost a year! Yes, A YEAR! With almost 10 schools we applied, only 1 responded. Sure thing, as a parent we all have our own preferences for which school we want our children to go, but here and on our case, it’s not just possible. You gotta take what’s given to you. The competition is so tight that you just put your hopes on luck! Anyway, we are grateful for the slot that has been given to us by the local ministry which takes care of these things. It is just in time for my daughter to be readily accepted since she just turned 3 years old last August and her school starts this September.

We ‘re all excited for her! Few weeks before she start, we always talked about Kita to her so she gets familiar with it. When we had our meeting with her teachers, we were asked to prepare the things that she needed like Regenkleidung ( rain clothes) like Matschosen, (which is really a German thing!) a raincoat,rain boots, hat, gym shoes, house shoes and extra pair of clothes(seasonal) just in case she make herself wet or dirty. We brought her some extra diapers just in case, toothpaste, tooth-brush, and her own File folder with her personal identification and a family photo.

Here in Germany, the education system is totally different from where I grew up, or from Kuwait, or in the Netherlands. Here, German focused more on children’s early development through free play, totally opposite from the American system where there is a stress on learning the academics at the very young age! Here, in simple layman’s terms: Kita is a place to play and learn things through play. Social skills are polished by  stimulating the child’s development through unstructured modules. They learn things naturally and reading comes later. I never see any alphabet or numbers on the walls. I remember that in Philippines, Kindergarten & pre-schoolers are taught to read and write, paint, count and so forth and there is a reward system. Like if you behave well or achieve something remarkable for a certain activity, there is always the recognition. Remember the stars on the hand? Over here in Deutschland, those things are not the norm. I think I am the only one whose teaching my daughter to write and count!

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Ich bin Krankenschwester! ( I am a nurse!)

When her teacher saw that my daughter reads the writings on the bulletin board and the names in their coat racks, she was really surprised! To top it off, I already announced to the teacher that my daughter is the only one who just can’t sit. She is so restless that she always wants to be on the go, running, playing and hyperactive. They saw it on the very first day. I haven’t even had the chance to say a proper goodbye because she already run into the playground and her teacher is running after her! We start with her staying in the Kita from 8 am to 11 am for the first 2-3 days, then gradually increase the times she spent there up to 2pm. On the first day, they asked me to leave after 1 hour and stand by phone to wait for any updates. Around 11 am, I picked up my daughter and felt relieved that she was playing by herself, cried a few times but they were able to calm her. I can see signs that she is ready for Kindergarten but the  challenge of Separation and Hunger are two big things she is overcoming slowly, at her own pace.

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Reading books is one way to make her calm.

My daughter is very social and yet uncontrollable especially when she is too absorbed with playing. She’s the explorer type so I know that the hardest part for the teachers to do is to tame her and make her listen. She has a lot of personality and her attitude stands out being the defiant. Oh yes, there were lots of crying, screaming, and defiance on these days and the worst thing is, she doesn’t like to eat or drink during Brotzeit (snack time) or even during lunch. She doesn’t like to be in their group, she refused to stay there in their room and prefer to be in the middle group where she spends her time pretend-playing, and obsessing about dressing up as a nurse and Doctor. By the end of the week, she caught her first virus , also maybe because we are having a terrible rainy-cold-crazy weather these days, so she got  severe colds and when I pick her up, she was already warm.

It was not an easy start  for us. In fact it gets bumpy at the end of the first week. Nevertheless, during the course of the  days up until today, I saw that she made some progress. I was happy today because when I opened her lunch box, only few pieces of cucumber are left, we are making real progress! She sat in the table with her classmates and began eating together.I know there are more challenges to come for her, like sitting in the potty and probably sleeping there, but I trust that my daughter will overcome all these in due time and finally adapt to her new routine.

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First Days in the Kindergarten

As for me, I don’t know about you or for other parents how did it go, but I really felt weird during the first day of my daughter in the Kita. Call me crazy, but I felt sad, disoriented ,and a bit out-of touch. I missed my daughter from the moment I left and my heart was crushed during the time I was going out to leave and  heard her crying. I asked myself if I am a terrible mother? I can’t imagine that my hyper-active kleine madchen(little girl) will be needing me less and less. Its a mixture of happiness for her growth and yet why all these weird feelings inside me!? The separation anxiety is real now!

When it comes to the familiarization phase, it is important to observe and regard the many signs that our children sends out. There is a possibility that children react at a delayed stage (even months later) to an unsuccessful adaptation.

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Big Little : First days in the Kindergarten

As the winds get chillier, and colder, signalling that Autumn is here and soon everything will be in full Autumn colors once again, my daughter is facing the new chapter of her life ; taking the Big Little Steps in the Kindergarten and we as parents, need to moved on as well. This Familiarisation period  ( or Eingewöhnung in Deutsch) might not be easy from the start but I know, soon she will feel secure, safe and comfortable in her new environment. I am relieved that though the teachers barely speaks English, still we found a way to communicate and understand about the matters of her settling-in the Kindergarten.

 

How  about you? How was your own experience when your child goes to Kindergarten for the first time? (If you have a child...)

What were the struggles you’ve met along the way?

 

 

 

 

 

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Abstract painting : The rhythym of Crimson

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Abstract Artwork : Rhythym of Crimson ( 40 X 40 cm  Acrylic painting on canvas , JustbluedutchArt 2017)

“People, even those who don’t like abstract art, know art when they see it..”

Have you ever looked at a cool abstract painting  and said to yourself ;

I can make a painting like this myself “!

or I can do better than this!

and yes,  even a 3-year old toddler can make that! ”

Oh yes, I know it’s not only me,  I heard you and I can totally relate. Just like you,  I’ve said it to myself a million times. But to tell you frankly, as a self-taught artist, when I started my journey in creating an abstract, I was  also squeezed between this dilemma.It is not just all about splashing your favorite colors into your canvas. Not all people love Abstracts and many have raised their eyebrows, trying to decode what does it mean. In fact, there is a scientific study about this matter and based on the statistics, people, even those who cannot appreciate an abstract piece, knows a good art when they see it.

Before I thought it was that easy. As we all know that Abstract artwork can be a complicated artwork, sometimes they might look carefree, boundless, but also confined. But each piece  shows a statement of the artist’s  personality. Others see it as an organised chaos.

But how you squeeze an idea out of it?

When I started making an abstract painting, I said to myself that it’s gonna be an easy-peasy job. I remember visiting the Museum of Concrete Art and I saw this big painting in  bold, plain pink and green  paint, and I really thought, what is this?

Abstracts can be just splash of colors, few strokes and that’s it. I was wrong!I was disillusioned to the fact that I have made many bad paintings, muddy ones and I call  a crap. It didn’t stir any feelings in me. It took a lot of time for me to finally create something that “pleases” my senses and feel a satisfaction with it. I’m still an amateur, a beginner and I still have a lot to learn.

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“Gone Fishing ” ( 50 x 70cm  Abstract / JustbluedutchArt 2017 Acrylic painting on canvas) 

I personally  observe as well that artistically inclined persons tends to enjoy more abstract than people who only “see “it at a glance.  I have tried to ask opinion of my mother or my friends about my work and their opinions are all varied. Someone even said “Why is the color like that? or What figure is that? It’s totally different when I have conversations with my fellow-artistically-inclined friends. Not that their opinion is biased, but their comment is really more than the normal “I like it, or It looks so nice “.

Wassily Kandinsky, a widely credited as the first abstract artist, called it the ‘science of the soul‘ and his art explored the relationship between colours and form. I personally believed in this because I consider my artwork very personal, but it needs to follow the trajectory of technical skill. For me, I think it’s just impossible to create something “moving” without putting your heart into it, no matter how talented you are!

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My road to creating abstract paintings
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Shades of Autumn, plum, scarlet red, blacks, and mauve, Burnt sienna and lots of texture.

But how can you really tell a good abstract from a good one?

What makes an abstract a good one?

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Visual Art Collage :  Koleidoscope world of Abstract Acrylic paintings 

Take for example this piece I have made last week. I called this  set the “Rhythym of Crimson“, a 40 x 40 Original acrylic on canvas which is inspired by the scarlet skies, mauve reddish plum autumn colors. I used a lot of layers and colors of red, burnt sienna, black, white, yellows and burgundy. I painted with various strokes of brushes, but I achieved the texture using a pallet knife. When I was making this, I don’t have any concrete figure in my mind, I just let the mixture of colors and composition says what I wanted to impose. The metamorphosis of autumn, the natural course of changing colors and them decomposition of matter.

What is your opinion of this artwork?

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I remember the time I walked through the Gallery of the Dutch Masters inside the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands. For me, that was one of the highlights of my artistic endeavors. To be able to see the works of the famous works of Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, and Johannes Vermeer leaves me in awe. Their painting moves me. Their works are ethereal and considered as legacy. But talking about Impressionism, you learn to appreciate an artwork because the subjects are clearly noted in the painting, the story can be clearly seen and even so much more insights comes to those who took time to study a certain artwork.

But with abstract painting, you have the fundamental elements of design like size, shape, color, texture etc. that compose together to create a statement. Well I am not going to talk about the theoretical fundamentals, I simply wanted to share my own experience how do I view an abstract artwork and what difference does it made to me when I decided to plunge into “creating “one.

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How do you distinguish an abstract to be a good one?

If you might want to know,  I consider an abstract artwork a “good”one if it stirs me, if it has the “moving factor”that catches my attention.  If it holds my stare and made me hold my gaze further, longer than expected, and that my feelings are affected. Sometimes it made my mind travel into deeper context and start creating a story out of it. It’s like a puzzle I need to put together.

Have you ever experience this feeling when you walk into a Gallery or into a museum and you see a painting that is so striking and  instead of just passing through it,  you’ve stayed?

A good art can be a matter of good concept or excellent skills in execution, but I think a great art touches the mind, heart or soul of the viewer. No matter if you’re an art enthusiast, a collector, a housewife, a carpenter or just a random stranger. Art is art when you see it. That moment when you just can’t take your eyes off from it. But as a budding artist, It takes one to know one.

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New paintings adorn our living room.

“Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? …people who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.” ( Vincent Van Gogh)

 

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20 x 60 cm Abstract paintings /JustbluedutchArt 2017

Now the opinion of the viewer is totally different from the Artist itself. Many times, I asked my husband what does He thought of a certain piece and his opinion is totally different from my views. There are just some things that I can perceive that He can’t .This made me understand more and more how I see Abstract.

I respect the fact that my works can’t be accepted by others, or other people might not see it as an artwork either. Abstract for me is never subjective. It’s something that you see that strikes your soul to the very depths, that opens your eyes and your mind to the beauty of it.

 

How  about you, how do you appreciate an abstract painting? Do you like it?

 

Let’s get connected! Please don’t forget to visit my Instagram page for more updates of my Journey with Acrylic Painting. Oh do you fancy Acrylic pouring ? All my artwork are available for purchase and I can do some commisioned artwork or customed-made pieces.For inquiries, please send me an email at justbluedutch@gmail.com!

Thank you so much for reading , looking forward to read your comments and wishing you all  a lovely week !

 

Acrylic pouring and why its a Thing!

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“Bluecrush ” Acrylic Abstract painting on canvas

Do you like acrylics?

Lately I indulged myself in experimenting with another medium, one that is still strange for me, Acrylics! This time, I got my inspiration from a fellow friend who also paint with acrylics and pushed me to try it.Also, in my Instagram , my feed is flooded everyday with all these gorgeous, vivid and exceptionally creative artwork done with Acrylic pouring. This technique is unknown to me since I am working more with Aquarelle, or watercolors and as a self-taught artist, where I don’t have a formal learning about art, it’s just all in my mind and my own creative drive. I did some research , look into some other artist’s works and observe. Watching video tutorials really help especially about the technicalities of mixing paints. This process reminds me of my previous work where I also mixed many powder coatings  in different shades to create designs. I just realized that colors, chemistry and creativity revolves continuously in my life.I am all about colors and that’s why I’m so happy that I finally be able to share all the bits and pieces I’ve been learning so far from painting.

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Acrylic Abstract painting for beginners!

Soon ,I saw myself hauling and hoarding for acrylic supplies and stuff. I got tubes and pots of  pots of the primary colors, more whites and blacks, and some metallics. This time, I wanted to paint on canvas so I got canvasses of different sizes to try on. I am super excited for this new adventure of creativity.

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Creative art : Wouldn’t this look great as a throw pillow case ? 

At first the idea of using acrylics intimidated me, but then I give it a go. It’s not that easy to get the paints and supplies that I specifically needed. I’ve searched many art shops here locally but I can’t find almost everything.When you are just a beginner, you can  try on student’s grade paints first  and small canvas,  or if you can get it online, it all depends on your budget and preferences.

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Watching the cells form

 

Just look at these magical colors, all stunning! IMG_2672 (1)

I love the pouring process where you see crazy patterns, cells developing and the sheer shine of the paint forming into a myriad of beautiful artwork. Gravity knows its way!

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“Bluecrush” ( Justbluedutch acrylic painting on canvas )

Acrylic pouring is simply mixing different acrylic colors and pouring it directly on the canvas, rather than using a brush or other painting technique. This involves using a medium like an acrylic medium to make the paint more fluid and flow easily to create patterns which called  “cells”. There is a chemistry behind this process but I can’t tell you more since I am just starting. I find the whole process so challenging. In watercolor, I am in control of my brush and the degree of strokes I wanted to make, but this time, I let the time, gravity and the chemistry do the creative part. The thing is, the agitation and the flow of paints during the mixing part is also something that you need to master.

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You think acrylic pouring is easy? I don’t think so…

Pouring is a great way to smooth out unwanted texture, get marbleized effects, rich colored glazes, and add some fun to many painting process. Although pouring is a relatively simple technique, ( as people say it) ,  it is not always easy.

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Acrylics is a water-based paint so the ratio of mixing with water depends on the amount that you need to use for a painting. Normally, and as per experience, I don’t dilute the paint not more than 30% of the paint or else it will lose its binding properties.

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Colors and acrylics are always a marvel to watch!

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The luminous sheen created by pouring paint

What I’ve enjoyed much is the “pouring part“. I did the swipe method where I poured the paint and swipe it all over the canvas to cover all areas, then adding paints as the flow goes, and the other one is the  “dirty pour“. This time, you mixed all the paint in one cup and pour it on top of the canvas one time and let it flow to create patterns. The thing with acrylic pouring painting, the idea that you squeezed in your mind is solidify only when the painting dries. You don’t have a control over the course of the flow. That is why every artwork is unique. Yes, patterns maybe duplicated with similar parameters but it’s never the same as the other. To master repetition, you need time. This is one thing I have learned while doing the Acrylic pouring painting ; learning to paint with time on my side. If you rush, then you miss out on its essence.

 

Over the next days, I will be sharing more of my paintings with you .Stay tuned. Meanwhile, please don’t forget to check out my Page for some artworks that I am doing while I squeeze time to paint.My artworks are available for purchase if you want to have one and I can also accept commissions. Just drop me a mail at justbluedutch@gmail.com.

What about you, have you ever tried Acrylic painting?

Oh did I tell you its getting chilly over here! Sweater season is definitely back. It is almost Fall season here in Germany, my favorite season as it brings the fire in the skies with the lovely colors and the different shades of trees. Soon my whole neighborhood will be transformed once again into another world.

What are the first signs of Autumn do you have in your area ( if you are having one..)?

 

 

 

 

Aintazar (انتظر) | Waiting

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Old man waiting for costumers inside the Old Souk Mubarakiya

“Everybody gets tired of waiting ..”

Aintazar…

This is the image I captured during my numerous visits in the Old Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait. Vendors normally sits in vain, helplessly killing the time and enormously looking so bored waiting for costumers to passed by, if luck comes by, buy some goods that they sell.

It is so true, a picture says a thousand words…the face, the expressions shows a myriad of mysterious cloud of thoughts, feelings and emotions. No one, but only the old man knows what he is thinking.

Have you ever wondered how you looked when you are waiting for something?

This post is inspired by this week’s WPC  Photo Challenge |Waiting

Exciting first artwork in Acrylic

 

“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real. “– Lucian Freud

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” Excite “( JustbluedutchArt Acrylic on canvas /2017)

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”— Pablo Picasso 

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” Excite ” { JustbluedutchArt Acrylic on Canvas /2017} 

 

My first hand on doing some Abstract painting using Acrylic as a medium. I have been using Watercolor in my artwork and some inks for quite some time now but I fear to use acrylics . I thought that its so hard to control and I don’t really have an idea how to start. I find a new excitement in using acrylic to create something as I am inspired from great examples. I am excited to create more and express myself through this .

What is your perception of this kind of art?

I am not that good yet, for a fact that I am a self-taught artist,  this is really my first attempt to use acrylic so I find the whole experience both a learning ground. So thankful that I have this Blog to document all my Artwork experiences.I truly appreciate your feedback and opinion on this piece so I look forward to your comments.

 

Do you like Acrylic artwork?

What are you techniques to create unique patterns for abstract paintings?

 

 

9 House Plants that I actually didn’t kill

 

 

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One DIY Project  and starting from scratch : Urban jungle in our home

I am very motivated person, especially when I am painting, but I discover that lately, my mood is greatly affected by the kind of surroundings that I am into. I realized that adding “greens”and cultivating plants have helped me so much to manage my stress and helped me take control of my focus. When I visit gardens, botanical or plant shops, I am in a happy place. It’s not just about the visual effects from plants that I love, I also adore the fact that houseplants add texture and life to a space especially with a more minimalistic theme like what I am into.

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Cactus crush : Incorporating cactus in our home

I am no-genius gardener or a skilled horticulturist, I just LOVE plants!

I don’t call this an obsession but a new passion. I guess if you LOVE  something that you do, then it’s really good for you.  For me, Green is the new Black. So I don’t feel guilty that I am indulging myself into my plant therapy and so far, I am so happy with the results. But it was not that easy at the beginning. The moment I bring home the plant, it starts dying, I feel frustrated. I won’t lie, I have killed so many until I have finally settled on best approach to keep my plants healthy, green, thriving, and best of all——keeping them ALIVE! 

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Two  things that make me happy : Succulents and some constellations Aquarelle artworks

What is your plant’s personality?

One way I learned about plants is to do some research about them. It’s easy to take care of something that you are familiar with since plants are variedly different.

If you have a small apartment, better choose plants that can adapt to your space.  It’s not just all about  buying plants from the store and bringing it to your home. It’s all about incorporating it to your lifestyle. If you’re thinking of adding some plants into your home, then this post might inspire you. I have said to myself before that I am a notorious “brown thumb“, but then I bent myself in keeping them alive or else, I  would really consider myself a “complete failure”! ( Crossing fingers!)

 I wanna share with you 9 plants that I manage not to KILL  (Hooorraayyy!!) and gratefully nurturing up until now .

1.Dumbcane ( Dieffenbachia , Leopard Lily)

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Our Dumb cane Dieffenbachia thriving in our home

This is actually a present from my parents-in-law once we moved to Germany. The photo above shows the mother plant, I already transplanted the other sprouts into another pot and that one is also thriving. It is very sensitive to direct light and overwatering is very crucial since it will rot the roots.I find this plant so pleasant that it adorns or living room in all seasons. Best to put in a corner where there is indirect sunlight .

Note : This plant is toxic. Not to be eaten.  The leaves, if chewed or eaten, can cause temporary swelling of the tongue and throat, leading to a temporary loss of speech and the common plant name of dumbcane. While this is usually not serious, it can cause suffocation. Avoid placing the dumbcane plant where curious children or pets might be tempted to taste it. 

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Cornstalk Drachaena ( Drachaena Fragrans)

 

2.Cornstalk Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ) or Massangeana

One of the best plant for purifying the air and removing several types of toxins. Its tall tree-like shape makes it a great addition to any room.Very easy to maintain. Take note that its leaves are toxic so keep away from pets.

Did you know that the dracaena fragrans was a plant used in the NASA’s clean air study which proved to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the environment.The worst thing’s to do with this plant is over water it or let it stay in direct sunlight for too long, otherwise it’s a tough cookie.

3.Silver Bush , Cushion Bush ( Calocephalus Brownii)

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Silver Bush

This is one of my favorite houseplants since late Spring. I find it so pretty and unusual. It looks so artificial with its silver bush and can add instant “life”once you place it near the other greens. It’s very easy to maintain this plant, again, it needs a good draining soil and too much water is the friend of this plant.

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My Silver Bush among the other Greens

 

In Australia, Silver bush is also called cushion bush, because the twigs used to be used as filling for mattresses and cushions. Its suffix is ‘Brownii’which refers to the Botanist Robert Brown who discovered this plant in 1817.

4.Purple Shamrock , Love Plant ( Oxalis Triangularis )

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Oxalis Triangularis or Purple Shamrock

I got this purple gem as a present from my neighbor. She gave me a small pot of this with only a few strands. Since then, it grew wildly, so I propagate and transplanted a total of 4 plants within 3-4 months. Yes, it’s really that easy. Oxalis triangularis or commonly known as ‘Purple Shamrock’ or  Love Plant. Its purple triangular-shaped leaves are so beautiful, so amazing that during night-time, it closes and opens up again once it sees sunlight. It needs a good draining soil, and requires less water and moisture.

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I place this plant in our kitchen window where it has an abundant indirect morning sun and glows perfectly well.This plant is a must have if you want to keep a homey atmosphere in your patio, balcony or just beside your bed.

5. Spider plant,  (Chlorophytum comosum, airplane plant, St. Bernard’s Lily, spider ivy, or the Ribbon plant)

Another plant that I love is this cute Spider plant. It reminds me of the wild plants we have in Philippines .The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is considered one of the most adaptable of houseplants and the easiest to grow. This plant can grow in a wide range of conditions and suffers from few problems, other than brown tips

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Easy to grow Spider plant

I find them Spider plant so easy knowing that they are one of the most popular houseplants. Best for beginner plant lovers just like me.These tough plants tolerate lots of abuse, making them excellent candidates for newbie gardeners or those without a green thumb. Provide them with well-drained soil and bright, indirect light and they will flourish. Water them well but do not allow the plants to become too soggy, which can lead to root rot. In fact, spider plants prefer to dry out some between waterings.

6.Succulents

Succulents hit me hard. I find them so addicting. The first time I lay my eyes on them I immediately wanted to take home a bunch. But sad to say that because of my over-enthusiastic attitude, I have also “killed”so many. Back them I didn’t know how to keep succulents alive and I don’t have much idea. After learning my mistake, I manage to grow them and keep them thriving. I actually have so many “babies” which I replanted .

Number 1 tip : Do not over water and sometimes, its best to leave to actually leave them alone. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight. If you have winter season, its best to keep them indoors before winter comes so it helps them to acclimatize.Avoid glass containers or anything that doesn’t drain.

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Different textures, shapes and colors of indoor plants (Succulents and Pepperomia Argyreia)

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7. Jade Plant  (Crassula Ovata)

This is one of the first plants that I successfully grown from cutting a stem. Often called as a money tree ( as per Feng shui) and when grown indoors, Jade plant attains size like a small shrub. I keep in a place with partial indirect sunlight. I find this plant super tolerant of poor soils and its thick leaves and stems acts as reservoirs of water. Just take note that they are not thriving well with Overwatering so resist your urge to water often.

Do not water a jade plant too often,or as per schedule as this can cause root rot, only when the top soil is dry to the touch.

 

8.Dragon Tree or Drachaena Marginata

Just like my Yucca palm, the Madagascar Dragon tree  is another perfect plant that requires little attention you can totally forget it exists.It can grow up to 8 feet and also toxic for pets.

Dracaena plant care involves keeping the soil  moist, but never soggy. Drooping or yellowing leaves indicates over-watering or poor drainage. Learning how to care for a dracaena includes finding well-draining soil in which to grow your houseplant dracaena.

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Dragon Tree

This plant prefers warmer temperatures. Be sure to remove any yellowing leaves and trim brown tips to groom the natural leave shape as needed. This is also a great plant for natural air purification. Yes, plants cleans the air!

9.Cactus (Kakteen, Cacti)

Need I say more, cactus are super trendy and is everywhere. From chic homes to effortlessly stylish spaces, cactus is definitely one of the popular houseplants. I love Cactus and I have always dreamed of having a huge cactus collection but my daughter seems to be so charmed with it so I best keep it to minimum since she has already hurt herself by the pins and hairs.

The photo below shows the very first cactus plant that I bought. It was so tiny back then with one single pad .Look at it now after a year, the sight of the new spikes are getting me super-excited I can’t wait to propagate them next spring.

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Nurturing Cactus for Beginners
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My very first cactus  since last year (2016)

If you are a Decoholic like me, then you might as well jump into this cactus trend and start your own indoor garden with cactus.A popular plant during fifties, it seems only natural that with the revival of mid-century design elements in home furnishings and accessories, architectural plants like cactus would be embraced once again. But how you display your cactus plant and what you display it in, is the key to creating a fresh, modern look fit for today’s interior. Best of all, they will survive even if you neglect them! They will greet you alive even from a 2-months holiday! They are known to be drought-tolerant instantly highlight the mood in any space.

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Other plants that I nurture is the English Ivy which is thriving so well, my  Christmas Cactus, Anthuriums, Lavenders, tomatoes and sweet peppers along with Begonias. I also love to grow herbs which I usually use in cooking like Rosemary and Basil (Basilikum).Will definitely do an update of this post next year for their growth status so stay tuned!

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The most obvious benefit to having plants around your home is the visual impact. Of course flowers around your home can bring color and interest, but simpler green plants can also help a room look cleaner and more polished. They can even help you cover up blemishes on your walls or unsightly cords running along your floors.

How about you, Do you have plants in your home?

What are your favorites?

How was the experience of growing them?

 

Wild carrot | Structure

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Nature tripping: The structure of the wild carrot { Daucus carota)

Yes, you might have noticed that I am under the spell of Greens nowadays. I am loving all plants and thought that green is really the new Black! Here in Bavaria, the southern part of Germany, I have seen such an expanse of wild fields. From exotic plants to fine greens that all my Bavarian neighbors adorns their gardens and balconies to colorful blooms, especially in Springtime! One moment I am walking in the cobbled stone streets in the Old town where the stones speaks of hundreds of years in history and for a few minutes, I am lost in the middle of a wild fields full of greens and wild flowers. I find it rather luxurious to have the best of both worlds, seeing the urban developed structures, and the virgin, raw, and natural beauty of forests surrounding our city. Take for example this wild flower we’ve seen in a field full of bushes and wild summer flowers near to a playground.

In a typical place lies a nature wonder, a sweet surprise which goes unnoticed by hurries of life.

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Spiny fruit?

Taking a closer look at this flower, from the umbellifers ,from the family of Apiaceae , the Daucus dakota, or the wild carrot. This wild child is so striking, with its well-structured seeds covered in spikes and form into a ball while the umbels are still young. When they sprout, they have the same patterns.

The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath.
A solitary purple flower often occurs in the center of the umbel. After flowering they turn to seed and contract and become concave like a bird’s nest. The dried umbels can detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds.

Did you know that the fruit are egg-shaped with seven ribs and hooked spines which will attach to animal hair.
Daucus carota is very similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock but Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves and a root which is a slightly thickened tap-root that smells like carrots.

Amazing right? I never knew that wild flowers could be so interesting as this!

What about you, have you discovered anything about nature and its structure?Or what about the wonders of 2017 Germany’s flower of the Year?

Inspired by this week’s Daily Post’s Photo Challenge |Structure

Germany’s Flower of the Year 2017 [Poppy]

 

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New painting inspiration : Germany’s Flower of the Year 2017 : Papaver rhoeas or Poppy

Summer is doing its sluggish exit by now. The sight of this beautiful, fragile flower is nowhere to be found in the wild fields here in Bavaria. Once full of wild flowers and Poppy, the fields of Golden yellow Rapeseeds , the Ooh Shiny and glorious Sunflowers  and Gladiolas are slowly fading. As I relive the memory of Summer this year, I discovered by chance that 2017 Germany’s Flower of the Year is none other than the Poppy or commonly known as Papaver rhoeas . It’s no surprise that due to its delicate and vulnerability features, this flower is the symbol of remembrance for dead soldiers from World War I.

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Scharmel Iris – “The poppy opes her scarlet purse of dreams

Poppy seeds are rich in oil, carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Poppy oil is often used as cooking oil, salad dressing oil, or in products such as margarine. Poppy oil can also be added to spices for cakes, or breads. Poppy products are also used in different paints, varnishes, and some cosmetics.Poppies have been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, and death. Sleep because the opium extracted from them is a sedative, and death because of the common blood-red color of the red poppy in particular. In Greek and Roman myths, poppies were used as offerings to the dead.Fascinating facts about this flower, right?

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Germany’s Flower of the Year 2017 : Poppy

Since 1980,  Loki Schimdt of “Blumes des Jahres “(or Flower of the Year) initiated the campaign for Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen (“Foundation for the protection of endangered plants”) which became the Stiftung Naturschutz Hamburg und Stiftung zum Schutze gefährdeter Pflanzen (“Foundation Nature Conservancy Hamburg and for the protection of endangered plants”) in 1985. One of the main purposes of this organisation is a public awareness campaign about the ecological value of wildflowers. Every autumn, the Loki Schmidt foundation announces their chosen flower of the year.

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Poppy flowers I spotted while cycling!

I find the sight of wild red poppy flowers in many fields here in Bavaria so beautiful. I felt like I am transported into another world just by gazing to a wild field full of these blooming Poppy. It grows abundantly here in the Bavarian region and when its sunny, we have a very nice scenery . It was actually the first signs that the heat is on and its summer officially here.

Do you love Kenzo Flower inspiration perfumes?

Then you might love that this flower is an iconic symbol of their perfume line. As Kenzo quoted What if the poppy previously planted in the city, could now rise into the air? It would blossom the sky… 

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Wild flowers and Poppy, summer 2017 in Bavaria

The idea of this Flower of the Year campaign, called ‘Blume des Jahres’ in German, is to draw attention to the plight of certain flowers which are slowly becoming endangered in our countryside. I hope it helps with awareness, as it would be tragic to lose more of our beautiful wild flowers.If you’d like to know more of this campaign and want to know the other endangered wild flowers, you can see it Here.

 

What are your favorite summer flowers?

Do you know any flowers that are also endangered ?

 

 

Artwork : Face Values and green hues

 

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JustbluedutchArt : Face value and some green hues

Hello friends!

I was feeling ecstatic recently when I received a notification that I got now 502+ followers! I know, I know, maybe I am shallow but I thought “How  in the world did it happened?”I don’t post regularly, let alone being less interactive with other Bloggers! ( I am trying my best to squeeze time!) I wish I could do so much more. Even so,I am thankful and I wanted to extend my gratitude to all my friends and people who “notices ” my Blog and my posts. I may not follow every Blog, or reply to every single comment,  but I just want to say that I am grateful for your support and wonderful feed backs!

So here’s a little update on my Art+Work side. Sharing with you another addition to my series “Faces in the Crowd “series. Another mosaic painting with lots of hues of green and playful imagination. Sorry ,but I am still not over with the  “Dunkelbunt”  ( darkcolorful) world of Hundertwasser after visiting the Kuchlbauer Turm and Kunst Haus in Abensberg! So much inspiration from the works of the modern masters of Art!

Have you seen how colorful and intricate the details of the Tower?

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First drawing out this naked face, then adding some depth through layers of colors, adding personality and feelings to the painting. I used lots of warm tones , yellow, greens, and browns. I blended it with Paynes grey and lots of detailing using geometric patterns and doodles.Finally it has some “Face value”.

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Face Value ( JustbluedutchArt)

Painting details :  The One with the Greens { 30 x 40 cm / 11.8 x 15.7 inches } .This one I worked with Van Gogh Artist ‘s grade watercolor paper in 200 g/m2 cotton fine grain finish and my new Schmincke watercolor pallete. 

I actually made this painting out of the blue. I haven’t painted for quite sometime and when I picked up my brush, I saw that my pallete had a numerous amount of “green hues” and I don’t want them to completely dried up.

Oh yes, I do save paints! I do more abstract pieces just when the urge to clean up the “mess” comes , and I was happy about the result. Tried it while doing some Night Skies and Galaxy  Effect Artworks, constellations cards.  Also, this painting was inspired by my recent-love affair of growing my little indoor jungle. I have always love plants but just like painting, I never had the chance to actually cultivate something “green”a.k.a plants. I remember the first time that I brought my first cactus and looking back, this is actually one of the plants that I haven’t killed. I love to incorporate pieces that I love in my paintings. More like a reflection of who I am. For those of you who follow me in my Instagram, you can see that I love nature, plants, and find my joy when I see something surreal in the artistic world.

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What do you think of her personality?

I think she still looked fine with the fine print and just as clear as the Sicilian Carretto glasses.

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Do you also see painting as “Face Value”or you see something fancy ? Tell me what is your opinion about this artwork.

Is this something that you might want to put in your walls given the chance to own it?

 

If you are interested to look at my gallery at glance, you can check out my Instagram where I post daily my new paintings. If you want to purchase or inquire, just send me an email —justbluedutch@gmail.com and I will get back to you as quickly as possible. I will post soon and share my experience on “How I made my first sale from my paintings”! 

For those of you who are thinking of expanding and having an outlet of your hobbies, then take it from me, everything requires hard work and best of all: not giving up! In the end, it all boils down that you are happy of what you do, and doing what you love!

Until then !

 

Ooh Shiny: What summer means to me, the Sunflower fields

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What summer really means to me : Sunflower fields!

Ohhhh Sunflowers! 

William Blake – 
“Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller’s journey is done.
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire,
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

I have never seen sunflowers in my life for I think more than 8 years and seeing them once again brings back summer memories. Back then in my home country,  I saw them quite often but not in Kuwait. Yes, I saw some bulbs in flower shops, but not really the same wild sunflower fields that I knew.

The last few weeks here in Bavaria have been pretty toasty weather. Great time to stay outdoors, more water fun, and when its sunny, the sight of summer flowers can be refreshing. Fields of  blooming sunflower is what summer means to me here in Germany! These golden-yellow shiny beauties are my favorite summer flowers and here in the southern part where we are rewarded with more sunshine, they grew beautifully wild in many fields. I’m telling you, it’s such a beautiful sight. They are a complete distraction when we cycle along the countryside. I don’t know with you but the sight of them makes me happy, makes me somehow excited. Something about them  gives sunshine to my soul.

Standing in front of them, while you can hear the  sounds of nature, crisp winds,  buzzing of the bees, swaying of the golden glow of strong, fresh sunflowers against the blue sky is to die for. I love the peace and serenity it brings. So simple, so raw, a pure nature’s delight. They are the brightest replica image of the sun. They simply brings warmth!

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Sunflower fields in Bavaria on a bright sunny day

For me summer is no summer without the bright, shiny , golden sunflower fields! Remember how I shared with you how I bursts out in excitement when I saw the tulip fields in Keukenhof, and gazing at those gazillions of multi-colored tulips?

Or my delight when we visited the Rapeseeds? almost as golden-yellow of goodness as the hundreds of sunflowers looking up through the sun. I actually cycled for many times going through the same fields, I can’t get enough  of them. I need to indulge in them before Fall comes and turn these fields into grey, empty and dullness of hibernating earth.

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Summer goodness

I guess this summer we explored so many fields, not only of summer blooms, but also of many different crops. Just beside every sunflower fields we drowned into the acres of sweet corns too. I noticed by now the certain crops that grow in each season. This sunflower fields is the same Rape seed fields that we’ve been ogling for months last Springtime!

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My sunshine

You can see that my daughter was quite enamored of the big yellow sunflower. But hey, she is just as crazy as the wasps who flutters around it! She’s bent on chasing them! Brought her in many sunflower fields many times and she knows how to bring the sunshine home.

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Cycling with my most favorite travel Buddy along the Sunflower fields

A bike ride with this Little One makes it even more special and I can’t complain for anything. Visiting sunflower fields on hot,summer months gives us that holiday feeling for an ordinary day .Here in Bavaria, we have plentiful of these and you can pick them up by yourself and self-pay. The flower fields also have so many different kinds of lilies, and other summer flowers.

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Wandering in the sunflower fields

Sunflowers become one of my painting inspiration. Their image is left in my mind so I decided to paint and make some cards out of it, of course, I didn’t forget to get some bulbs to brighten up our living room.Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks and bright petals stretched towards the sun. This interesting behavior, known as phototropism, inspired a motif that has appeared in many ancient works.

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Flower art therapy

Though they are a crop planted with a purpose, their bright colours spread an instant happiness and positive energies. They look pretty, they give us healthy seeds to eat and oil for our cars.  Sunflowers are the ultimate sign of summer and I love their simplicity and versatility.

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Some of the cards I’ve made  inspired by sunflower

Do you also have a sunflower story? I think for a flower that reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics, it isn’t surprising that people enjoy basking in the sunflower’s warming glow so much, just like I do.

How about you? How are you spending your summer?

What’s your favorite summer flower?

This post is inspired by this weeks’ photo Challenge |Ooh, Shiny!