DIY Unique Bamboo Stand Lamp

Today I was inspired to make some DIY creative project. I wanted something handmade, unique and of course from my own ideas.It is a raining weekend over here in Bavaria, so after I did my usual grocery shopping, I busied myself doing something that I have been itching to do——that is to make a handmade DIY Bamboo Lamp. I was really inspired by a fellow creative Blogger, Emily of Dossier Blog who gave me also awesome tips how to enhance the groth of my Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant.I will definitely share that on another post because my FLF plant is really growing, thanks to her! If you need some green thumb tips on your green babies, check out her page Asap!You´ll never get dissapointed.

DIY Warm Bamboo stand Lamp

My DIY Bamboo Stand Lamp created with Bamboo sticks
Simple Creative DIY Project

We have a stand lamp with bendable stand that stays in a corner.I seldom used it because I prefer normal bright lights so I thought of doing an upscale to make it more trendy, and have a natural ” Asian” look by using Bamboo sticks.

It was quite a simple project actually, nothing complicated and I think even kids can do this. But naturally with a little guide with the glue gun and mounting will do.I did not used any machine or whatsoever. Only with a pair of clippers and handsaw, Gluegun and string, plus the copper spray paint, then I was all set. I got the set of Bamboo sticks from a thrift shop ( Phillips & Hörnbach) which I usually used as a support for my plants.I have plenty of leftovers so this Lamp is actually one of the many Bamboo themed Craft projects that I have in my mind.

First I removed the old covering of the lamp and scrape the adhesive around the frame.It´s like cleaning off the dust to make sure the glue would stick well with the Bamboo sticks.You just need to do a simple estimate of how many sticks you would be needing depending on the circumference of your lamp and how much you want for coverage.The process is quite simple ; Glue, attach, and dry. After covering the whole lamp with the Bamboo sticks, I let is dry for a while then clean the glue residues. Once it all sets, I just sprayed it with my leftover Copper spray and done!

I am loving the whole new look of my stand lamp. I love how the way it turned to be. It gives such a warm welcoming glow beside my plants and I love the whole concept of bamboo and native materials.The bamboo sticks creates a decorative light patterns in the wall and ceiling just like our center copper ball lamp.I think its perfect for late summer nights and lazy weekends while reading or just sitting in the couch.

You can also do this with any lamp that you wanted to do a makeover.I am planning to make a pot with a bamboo covers as well !

Bamboo home decors and lamps are very trendy, sought-after but very pricey nowadays.I noticed that most plant lovers prefer these to accesorize their Urban jungles and green spaces, because why not–-It´s Bamboo! I love Bamboo plant as well and been looking forward to create a small zen corner in our garden.

But this project only cost me a few euros! Most of the things I used are already in my Craft box! In my homeland, in Philippines, bamboo is such an indigenous material and I took it all for granted. Now I am drooling for everything native—from rattan chairs, lamps, pot baskets, plant hangers and even macrame crafts! I wish I could bring them all here in Germany without spending a fortune…

But now, I am enough content with this little unique piece in my home.

ArtBlog : Infinitynets Abstract Paintings

A close up detail of one of my artwork InfinityNets where I used net packaging from Lemons that I buy during the anxious times of Corona Pandemic. Nothing is wasted, only creating a beautiful twist of gold, blues and great myriad of textures.
(JustbluedutchArt/InfinityNets 2020)

It´s been a while since I posted about my artworks. I have been busy as usual juggling everything about life. Actually I have done many paintings nowadays and still so many things are not yet done.Quarantine or not, life for me as an Artist is quite the same. I am so glad that staying at home during the Corona Lockdown has done me good. Time is one of the necessities for me so I am glad that I´ve got it especially when I am driven to create something.

Another close up detail of the net incorporated as an added texture in my abstract paintings.It is the little details for me that really counts. Never put a limit to your imagination because the horizons of Art is endless.

Speaking of creating, I´ve been experimenting a lot with my artwork nowadays, testing new techniques and mediums. I am working a lot with Acrylic nowadays, I do mostly Abstract paintings but this time I am using Nets as as added texture medium. Yes, you heard it right, I am using nets from the packages of onions, garlic and lemons that I buy especially during Corona times. I developed a habit of drinking warm lemonade with ginger every morning so I tell you, I have lots of nets in my kitchen.Bow I have found another worthwhile use for them instead of throwing them in the trash.When life gives you lemons, create a painting inspired by it, as they say.It came true to me at least…

At first I tried only a small cut piece of net and pasted it with modling paste and paints, I waited for it to dry then I started to create layers. I saw that it creates a nice effect on the canvas with all the other layering and textures that I incorporate using paste and Gesso so I continued. I find it so wonderful that I got carried away, then I decided to create a series of paintings! Then that paved way for my series called InfinityNets!

It´s called Infinity because the options are endless, it requires no borders. No single painting is the same as the other. Though I used the same hues, the endpiece is unique from the other.

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

I am using lots of Aquamarine blues, cream, gold and copper accents, carribean hues and an illusion of oceans and islands in my creation. The sea and tropical hues have a very big impact in my paintings. I think blue is such a dominant color that I always use it in all my work.Without blue, I think a painting can be dull. What about nets? I think the texture of nets against the canvas is perfect to create the gradient that I wanted to achieve.Sometimes I´m thinking that I would want to catch a wave and dive back into my childhood or the other way around.

I also love to create small paintings where I love to arrange in rows.With it I have the chnace to play the hues, tints and contrasts with the nets that I used.

It is not always easy to create an abstract painting.My friends always asks me why do I keep on painting, what a stupid question ,right? For me, it becomes a second breath, I feel happy when I´m doing it. Personally, I also never know when to start and when to end it. As I start my first coats and layers, adding the textures and painting again, this repeat process is what makes the painting more special to me.I only know that it is time to stop when my senses tells me to do so.Many people I think are intimidated by Abstract art because they fail to understand its course, its meaning and sense. On the other way around, I think we should not try to understand it, rather let your senses perceive as it is.It defies the norm, it is not normal hues, it is an explosion of unreasonable chaos , but in a colorful, defiant way of Art. If an artwork doesnt disturb you then I think it cannot move you.It´s the same thing with me.I love looking at other´s work, but only a few moved me. Every artwork is different as well as it has different impact.

“The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn.” Lucian Freud

What about you,what is your opinion of Abstract paintings?

Do you like it?

What do you perceive from a first glance?

I would respect your honest opinion about my work.Anyway, this post is not an advertisement or any kind of promotion of my art.It is just a journal of my thoughts on how I create something from nothing, from a blank white canvas into a visual art of my thoughts and emotions.I would appreciate though, if you tell me what you think about it.

I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint…

In the end, my own mind tells me that my paintings requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. Sometimes if you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people because it seems repetitive and obvious….I always tried to make it Less, so it can become More.

Thank you once again for dropping by …Until next time, Have a great day, Tschüss!

Field of Figures in Hessental

Rock Sculptures as memorial for war and violence victims in Figurenfeld in Hessental ~ Eichstätt

May 21 is a special day for Germans because it is Father´s Day (or Vatertag) and also a public holiday commemorating Ascention Day or Christi Himmelfahrt. We have long weekend ahead and the perfect weather gave us again the chance to explore nature and do our routinary Wanderung and spaziergänge. During Corona times, we got used to go to the “greens” instead of wandering in the city. The control measures are more relaxed now here in Germany and since schools and playground were opened,it´s human nature that more and more people go outside, but still with restrictions. That is why we always choose secluded places like this.This time we decided to drive over the hilly landscapes of Hessental in the direction of Eichstätt. We get on early as usual to avoid the crowds and make most of the beautiful weather.


I have never been to Eichstätt so I don´t have any idea what this town offers.Throughout the trip I noticed once again the ample amount of bikers. There are so many motorcycle riders in these area same as in Riedenburg. Probably because of the nice winding road through this vicinity. I have heard that its a Universitätstadt, meaning a home to one prestigious Catholic University here in Bayern. The drive going to Hessental is actually quite smooth, no traffic and the hilly fields amuse us along the way. The Hessental lies in a gentle hollow on the slopes between Eichstätt and Landershofen in Bayern. Finally, we reached the Figurenfeld in time and great thing to know that there is an ample place to park. We saw a small pathwalk that leads us to a vast hilly field, and without any orientation, we just follow the sign of the first Sculpture that we saw and thats it. Just like what my daughter says ; just go with the flow and start an adventure! And so we did..

The first Sculpture in the Figurenfeld in Hessental

The place is really spacious, with every shades of green that you can imagine. It´s ideal to have picnics, and just a quiet walk during these times. If you love hiking, this path between Eichstätt and Landershofen is a great start to explore the beautiful nature in the surrounding areas of Altmühltal. The artist and sculpturer Alois Wünsche-Mitterecker, is a native from Eichstätt, created a captivating memorial against war and violence. I found these solid sculptures really worthwhile to visit and see because it depics the ugly truth of war.For many, it is the ugly version of Art and yet can be emotionally moving. I have watched so many movies about Holocaust and for a moment I´ve perceived one of the figures as a scary visualization of a Holocaust prisoners. There is so much tragedy, sadness and grief, and yet, it is also a depiction of the extent of evil of humanity can do.

I am fond of sculptures and I love researching about them. When I visit any new place, I always look for extraordinary sculptures or any piece of art that represent that place . I have learned that every great art or a statue tells a story. From the unforgettable Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Trains to death, Trains to Life , the Figurenfeld is no exception.

In this large field, there are 78 larger-than-life sculptures that are unrecognizable from a far. I thought for a minute that they are dinosaur bones, or fossils since this place is the barren Jura landscape. Most of them looks like they crouch, rear up and crawl and on struggling state. Individual figures first point the way into the hollow, where the figures come together to form a bizarrely frozen battlefield. This makes me wonder how this place looks like in Winter. I have read that the Artist, Alois Wunsch-Mitterecker worked on these figures made of Portland cement, granite and basalt grains for over 20 years. He himself never saw the completion of the work, he died before it was finished.The figures were erected according to his plans only after his death (December 1975) in the years 1976-1979. Come to think that the field is still unfinished.

Figurenfeld in Hessental

I guess the artist wanted to create a “Monumentum perpetuum”, a memorial to eternity, a warning of war, in which there are no winners and vanquished and he succesfully achieved that through this. The erection of the figures lasted from 1958 until the artist’s death in 1975.

I saw some children climbing and playing along the figures and it made me wonder how do parents explains to their children the meanings of the figures. I have read in the signs that it is prohibited to climb on it because there has been many damages already on some of the statues.My daughter loved dinosaurs so she thinks that they are dinosaurs, or rather looked like them. But them if you play a closer look, every figure is never the same. Every single one is really different and unique in its own shape.

Walking through the field is quite manageable but I think for elderly people, there are paths that are quite steep and would be challenging. The whole place is green, wild nature and full of overgrown heather grass, hedges and juniper bushes, which is full of hollows and hills, which contributes to the impression of a battlefield. I think that it can be scary at night because of lack of lighting but i think it is actually safe.But anyway, how would you appreciate the figures in the dark?

We explored the whole field in approximately an hour and then we decided to explore the rest of the inner city of Eichstätt.If you happened to be in the nearby vicinity, I highly recommend to check out this place. More information of other fascinating things to see and explore can be found here.

Have you done any walk lately?

See you next time in our next Spaziergang! Stay safe everyone.

Isolation. Children, paint yourselves! (Self-portrait of children in Corona Times)

I want to play Football outside and not in the garden! This is my daughter´s entry for this drawing exhibition hosted by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany.

I am sure I am not alone in this dilemma.We don´t know yet until when will this all be over, but as long as it is not yet safe outside, children needs to stay at home.Here in Germany, the lockdown measures were relaxed, some shops are allowed to open, wearing mask is enforced, and some schools will open soon next week.But daycares and Kindergarten remains closed. I know personally that staying at home, confined and can´t visit playgrounds and play areas can be tough and is never easy, it is messy, chaotic,sometimes out of control and dramatic. But our times together these days become so meaningful, I guess there´s so much difference when we all take things slowly.

How does she feel about the isolation?
She said her inspiration for her Portrait is that she wanted to play Football and run in the field freely .She wanted to go back again to the Kindergarten and see her friends.

For those who are staying at home with kids during this Pandemic, what have you´ve been doing with your kids lately?

I love to paint and it´s one of my favourite things to do during this lockdown.I think I can paint the whole day and every single day. I just love to create something creative, whether it is with watercolors or Acrylics. Nowadays, I spent more time with my daughter painting, drawing and creating something. I created a journal of my daughter´s drawings so she can have an album of what she created.We even paint stones and joined the creative art here in our neighborhood.Here are some of her doodles and

Another interesting Art exhibition which we are joining is the Isolation, Children Paint yourselves! launched by the International Youth Library Foundation in Munich,Germany .This is an online exhibition of submitted images of children which depics their mood and how they are feeling against this terrible, dire times of Pandemic. I have talked to my daughter many times about Corona virus, especially when we are on the push of frequent hand washing and social distancing. It is very interesting to find and learn from little children about their feelings about isolation and being in restriction .Sometimes they cannot express themselves verbally, but with visuals, we can learn so much more.

The moment that I showed to her that her drawing was in the Gallery, she was thrilled and so happy. She is only 5 years old!

Paint anywhere, everywhere!

I really find this online exhibition super cool and my daughter is proud of what she have done.It´s amazing to see different entries already from different countries submitted and available in their online portal for public viewing wherever you are. I heard that they have received over 800 drawings from 42 different countries! Some portraits with paintings listed are from Mexico,South Korea,Venezuela,Sweden,Great Britain, Japan, France, Iran, Slovenia,Germany, and even the hard hit countries like USA, Italy and Spain! I think seeing another children´s artwork is also a great tool for encouraging the potential of your child to be creative since they can see it as a relatable issue and not just something to kill boredom. Difficult images of people who are sick and death toll are not easily digested in small children´s mind so we, as parents needs to guide them and be careful of the information we feed them. In this way, let them express themselves through their imagination through their hands, the explosion of colored pencils, paints, crayons and doodles.

Let them be absorbed with ART.

The founder of the International Youth Library, Jella Lepman, had already asked for such self-portraits since 1952 and showed them in an exhibition. By that time, it´s still very difficult to create a digital or online exhibition. Nowadays, it´s all handy and accessible for all, even most museums opened their exhibitions online for others to view while staying at home.If you are interested and want to create something different and has a global impact, start painting, start contributing, and start it now!

If your child is 3 to 13 years of age and wants to participate, you can send your child´s portrait or drawing as a scanned copy (with first name, age and country) to direktion @ ijb. de. The online gallery exhibition can be seen in here.

#StayatHome #wirBleibenzuHause

More artworks and creative Crafts we do while we stay at home during this Pandemic crisis.

Here she is when she finally visits the Exhibition in Münich where her own drawing was chosen!

View of some of the children´s drawing from different countries in the Exhibition Center in Schloss Blutenberg, in Munich.
Feeling proud of my daughter´s first ever artwork in display !

The exhibition “Kids, draw themselves” ( Malen sich Selbst) is displayed in the International Youth Library in Schloss Blutenberg, from July 15th up to 9th of September 2020, located in Foyer im Herrenhaus and is free entrance fee. The Library is open from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 Pm and on weekends from 12 pm to 5pm.

Feel free to share this to your friends!

To all parents out there who are taking care of their kids at home, I salute you. You are doing great and you deserved to have a big hug and pat on the back!

Stay safe and see you again next time!

Creative hand painted rocks Project (Steinschlange Corona)

May all beings have a happy life– Gautama Buddha

Paint your own stone, and join the FUN!

Today marks my 34th day in quarantine at home with my daughter and there´s no greater idea than to celebrate it than creating something creative with her. Oh yes, we count the days because our calendar have gone empty, all the scheduled activities were cancelled because I am sure you know why! The only legal activity we have nowadays is grocery shopping, walking, playing, cooking and cleaning. I´m not gonna lie—it is never easy! Millions times during the day, I am hearing THIS WORD : Maaaaammaaaa!!!!

Sometimes I am wondering if she knows other word than that! Day after day, I go on tidying up, and again tidying up and again tidying up. A pleasant routine indeed.But then…the moment she hugs me and say ” Mama, I want to be good” then everything would feel just fine. 🙂

Sooooo, today we cycled a bit and enjoy again Spring colors outside , breathe in fresh air while the rest of Germans are still sleeping. We stumbled nearby to us a very interesting and engaging art project , and what we love about it is that —we just need rocks! I´m sure that all parents out there with kids at home during this Pandemic are looking for many ideas to entertain their kids at home. So I think this is a perfect activity for families to do on weekends and yes something to ease the boredom!

Keep on reading and scroll down the photos if this interests you.

Aside from unbelievable Corona Balcony parties in my neighborhood, my favorite Germans loves to cycle, walk and wander in small forests ( we called it here Wald wanderung) especially on weekends and Sonntag Rühetag. Taking a quick break outside, parents loved to bring their toddlers , altogether getting lost in the forest with a playground adjacent to it. But because of Corona, playgrounds are closed and we are confined to stay home and practice social distancing. But there is always something else to do, I realized it as I am a parent myself. Right there inside the nearby forest we found this line of colorful, very creative, painted stones.This creative project, called Projekt JAA ( Jugendliche Anonyme Anmaler) where children and also parents are encouraged to paint their own rocks at home and design it as per their own wish , then putting their rocks in the line to join the connection.

Just look at these wonderful stones! Some have even encouraging message like “ Stay healthy, and best wishes..” . My personal favourite is the one with the Buddha and ladybug.

A friend of mine sent me a message about this and immediately we painted our rocks and brought it there. My daughter was delighted to see the names of her friends also there and she even mentioned to invite her other friends! We are looking forward to see how long would this line of rocks would be in the coming months.

You can create this even at your own backyard. If you don´t have one then on your window sill or decorate your balcony. All you need is a handful of rocks, paints and a bag of creativity! For sure it could keep your kid busy for at least an hour and that´s 60 minutes of sanity for parents!

An update, I saw in another nearby area, a kilometer away from us is another painted stone project done by kids. It´s beside the Kindervilla, near the Glacisbrücke going to the direction of the city. Let us see if it even reaches the town proper!

How was life with kids during lockdown at your side? Have you ever thought of doing a Happiness rock painting project?

Seven hues of Blue Paintings

Abstract Painting ” Turquoise Dreams” 25 x 30 cm

Finally Autumn had arrived in Germany. Long enough, the “Goldener Oktober”( or Golden October) becomes November rain. Everyday here in Germany , or at least here in Bavaria, it seems that the skies loves to hibernate, clothed in dark clouds and keeps on raining! It’s official : The sun is on vacation and cold Rainy days are doing his massive work.

Funny because I am often daydreaming of warm sunny days. More of Spring actually! While the cold reality is biting me to the bones, I opt to do things that I love. Which is— being productive! Day by day, I try to do what I think I can’t do. I feel lazy many times, procastinating and giving in to excuses, or I am just totally exhausted from daily chores and demands from work. The colorful trees and foliage outside are standing still , braving the creepy cold and probably dreading for the dark Winter to clothed them. Many trees are already bald, but few ones are still holding on, with two to three leaves holding on tight. It seems like letting go for the last phase of seasonal changes takes time.The gush of winds and the mainstay of “regenwetter” {rain weather } and November rains, fog and short days are my constant company, but then, I have suddenly created my series of “Seven hues of Blues ” acrylic abstract paintings. So you see, something positive came out from this gloomy weather.

With my paintings– they are all bright sunny blue! Full of tropical hues, Carribean-sea-foamy textured layers of Turquiose shades, and full of love affair with waves and sea is the mood of these pieces.

It’s been quite always busy nowadays. Juggling family, work and life really makes everyday a rolling ball of energy. This year had been quite a productive year for me, in all aspects! Honestly, at the end of the day I feel so tired that when I sit in front of my laptop, I barely can’t think. Sleep was my daily dose of medicine. When my free days comes, I managed to paint. I still loved to paint my dreams and I am not letting go of it. I was talking with a colleague about my painting and then he asked me “Why do you need to paint and make those?” I just said,” Because it’s what I loved to do.”

What do you loved to do?

The long wait of drying time…

I’ve been listening lately to Queen’s music, rediscovering their classics. I have always loved classic rock and during the time that I am doing large paintings, these music have helped me, inspired me in a way. Queen’s songs are stuck in my head for days, and weeks. It’s funny because my little daughter is already humming and singing “Don’t stop me now..”or “Another one bites the Dust, and “I want to ride my bike ..”! Similar to music, abstract paintings do not have clear, expressible meanings by words. Actually, as a painter, I couldn’t explain it quite well. It’s always been an enigma to me. So its really up to you to found its meaning.

For me, the process of creating it from the base paint to the series of layers are the most memorable part. I am always excited to what would it look like in the end. In my mind I have an image that I wanted to convey in my painting, sometimes I managed to bring it out, sometimes it takes a long time to express it.
Each piece of painting is a memory, inspired by a specific day, describing my moods and feelings like diary notes.

Each piece carries a bit of me, of my feelings and my emotions that’s why its priceless and special to me.


Seven seas of blues

As of this time, I am still in the process of updating my listings in my shop. It will take quite some time but these pieces will soon be available for you to view in my online Gallery. I have made many new paintings and I am excited to share it all with you.

Feel free to comment below what do you think of these pieces! I would really appreciate it.

Thank you once again and until next time. Tschüss!

For the love of Statues

I love to take photos of statues. For me, the weirder, the better. Small or huge it really doesn’t matter. The element of story behind it adds a super wow factor.Here in Germany, statues are part of every region, city or vicinity. Each city has its own distinctive statue, most especially famous persons that is being dedicated to.Since this is an Expat Blog, I thought it might be a great idea to share with you some of the things you can see if you happen to admire statues and monuments.

The Ludwigsbrunnen in Paradeplatz here in my old town of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, Germany

But not all statues can get your attention because somehow it just looks like a boulder. It takes something from the carved stone, bronze or wood that really caught your gaze. Then when your gaze is caught, you kept on staring, and searching, and then you look for more details. That’s the point of interest. Well I may not know all the facts about each statues, but anyway, I had fun gazing upon them.

What do you look in particular for statues?

I think travelling allows us to see different statues or by reading. The most common tourist trap is that people would always love to photograph something famous just to put it into journal of memories.Most people loved to pose beside it, making them as endless photo stop-pits. Everybody loves a selfie beside a famous sculpture or statues, because yes, it’s the thing nowadays. It’s a total giveaway saying “I’ve been here”… or “I have seen this!”

What are your favourite statues? Do you recognize them?

Here I wanna share with you a gallery of my photographed statues.I got them mainly from our short staycations here and over there. Some are famous, some are not. Some are great for me, but others really made an impression.The thing is, they have caught my attention and I love the fact that I’ve ever seen them.

A rather peculiar statue near the Dom of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Trains to Death, Trains to Life statue in Friedrichstr. in Berlin
The very loud and exquisite statues of Marriage Carousel

What’s your favourite so far?

Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands
The Giant in Wattens, in Swarovski Headquarters

I’ll be writing once again in the second part of this series especially that I have more photos of different statues that I’ve seen here in Germany.

But for now, I’ll say Tschüss, thank you so much for reading and following this Blog and have a safe week everyone!

The Art of Handwritten Mails

When was the last time you’ve received a handwritten mail or a card? or a postcard with a distinct handwriting of the one who send it to you? Doesn’t it feels great, your eyes are wide with wonder as you gaze to an envelop addressed with your own name on it, a mix of wonder and surprise…

You deserved to feel special once in a while
We all could use a little bit of Snail Mails

Few days before Christmas I received a surprise mail (snail mail) from a dear friend from Finland.One of my favorite Blogger, thesnowmeltssomewhere sent me a little surprise which turned out to have a “big love” inside it, she shared her traditional Finnish “Little Christmas” with us. I was feeling ecstatic and grateful that I felt special. It feels good to be thought of, especially from a person who lives across the miles. We haven’t met personally but we shared thousands of messages about life, babies, worries, and laughs! Last year, my other good friend ,Ann, from Grubbs n’Critters sent me handwritten mail together with a box of different spices, which up to now lies in my kitchen and is a daily addition to my cooking!It’s hard not to remember her whenever I cook something with cardamon or fennels! We seemed to be modern-day-Penpals or Penfriends, minus the videocalling.

Handmade and self-crafted cards for all occasions!

Personally, I am a huge fan of snail mail and I totally love it! In High School, i remembered that our class have this Penfriends around the World and we’ve got the chance to have a Penfriend from different countries. It was totally snail mail long time ago. I think I received a mail once a month. I had Penpal from Germany and Finland. Through time I lost in touch because I moved to different places but then the whole experience lingered.

Last year I have also shared about my project to make Handmade Christmas cards to be sent to friends and families during the holidays. This year, I think I’ve sent 40+ cars to 3 different continents and approximately 10 different countries! I worked on this project normally 3 weeks before Christmas. I dedicate 2 weekends to paint and to craft the cards and personally sealed them and post. That is how far I’ve remembered the process. I painted them one by one, and write on each of them personally. I write to each one of them personal message and it really boost my creativity. A simple card becomes so meaningful, so treasured. here’s a snap of the cards and letters we received by post this Christmas. Totally a whole lotta love!

Love in an envelop: Schneckenpost or snail mail

I think that when we write things personally by hand, and not by typing, we retain the original information better. It boost our self-worth and creativity. I even got a new calligraphy pen to enhance my handwriting skills! Just like holding a brush (Pinsel) while painting, you give something from yourself out of what you’ve written.Nowadays that we often used our fingers to tip and swipe on our smartphones, writing manually becomes a whole new experience! I am always impressed with a person who has a unique handwriting. It’s a distinguished character and totally unforgettable.

It’s a whole lotta LOVE!

I am sharing this post to tell you about my personal experience about snail mails. Schneckenpost as we called it here in Germany or snail mail (Post) has totally become vintage compared to the high technology gadgets that we are having now especially with smartphones, iPads and computers. The young people today maybe are totally oblivious of using it or people only knew Post because of Online shopping.I read an interesting article about this and if you have time to kill, you can read it Here.

I have no problem having all these instant technology that we have.In fact, this new millenium of E-commerce and its benefits are one of the technological advances we all enjoy. I value its benefits since I live so far away from my family in Philippines and I’ve lived almost a decade as a “foreigner”in other lands. Emails, money transfers, voice mail recordings, chats via Whatsapp, Kakao and Viber are such a convenient way to get in touch! But there’s something totally different from snail mail. It’s more on the sentiments and personal feelings. From the time that you write your letter, lick the envelop , put stamps and go to Post Office to send it—it’s both a tedious but an exciting journey! The thrill of opening your mailbox and finding a square envelop with stamps and you search where it came from is like opening a present. A journey of wonder.It’s more fun!

From the Little One with Love

When we write to someone, I must say that it increases our levels of happiness and feelings of gratitude. When we think about a person, we search in our memory , the link that bonds us and the gratefulness that we want to rekindle, or to give with this process. Just imagine the same feeling you have the very first time you’ve ever received a “Love letter”from your sweetheart or a letter from your partner that is far away from you, or a surprise letter from someone you’ve never seen for a long time. Snailmail letters bridges the distance!The connection and meaning is far deeper than any mbps from Internet! Handwritten letters and cards spreads love and definitely makes you smile.If you want to let someone know you care—send them a handwritten card, letter or even a simple note.

Give it a thought, don’t you think that simple gestures—done randomly–adds more excitement to a dull moments? Last month, as I was rushing to go to work I found out that our basement storage had a pipe leak and I hurried up to inform my husband to call and inform the “Hausverwaltung/meister” who will fix the leak. By the time I got home, I found a handwritten note from my next door neighbor writing and informing me that he also had seen the leak and called the Hausmeister. His simple gesture really showed that He cares. Aside from the random gifts for the little one which he left on our door, I find his gesture a very valuable one.

It’s the care that comes out from our actions that signals love.

One day we received a handwritten letter from my 4-year old daughter! Yes, she already sent us a letter with a stamp! In the Kindergarten, they make small trips and one of it is to visit the Postal Office. The children are asked to draw and write something to their parents and sent the letter by post. I kept this letter up to this day. When my daughter was born in Kuwait, where we don’t have any relatives, we were totally on our own. My parents-in-law collected handwritten cards from relatives in Holland and sent all the letters to us in Kuwait ( not to mention all their loving gifts for the baby). I was totally speechless.My mother-in-law makes very beautiful handcrafted cards for all occasions, stenciled and crafted by hand. I think that’s beyond hobby—it is a way to show her love. I think she is successful in her craft because she transmit this through her cards!

Crafting for Mother’s Day

We all feel the rush and we have all the excuse to say we are busy. Our schedules are packed, full and noted. Just like when we rushed to checked all our emails everyday and check Facebook, Instagram and chats. We spend time, we decide on how to spend it actually, the way we want it. We all have our errands to do and time flies when we are on the go. I know it’s not that easy to sit and gather our thoughts to write something, compose a letter or to even create something for a special person. I have this stress to create a letter in German ( a challenge in fact!). I try to find the right words.But come to think of it—isn’t it awesome to discover how someone thought of every single detail, just to make someone feel good.The more frequent you do it, the less you think it’s hard, it only takes a little effort.

So how am I doing it?

If it’s not your hobby or you think that “I don’t have the talent to do it!” then you don’t need to panic. Snail mail writing should not come as a stress. For me, I avoid buying the overpriced ready made cards that are really overpriced. I look for craft materials, nude and classic papers, stamps, unique decorating materials that I usually find it art shops, or in flea markets. I even used traditional materials as recycled papers, dried leaves, pins and clippers etc to add more personal touch. I love motif papers or paperDeco that can easily folded into your base for a card. I invested in a good calligraphy pen of different shades and some trendy stickers.Getting started is not as hard as you think!

I have a challenge for you:

Do you want to start and participate in a “Gratitude project”?

Think of someone you want to give a surprise. Someone that you love, or someone that you really thought of. You can start to gather their mailing addresses and create your handmade, handwritten letters, cards or just a simple thank you note and send it. It doesn’t even need a special occasion to send a letter to someone you missed, loved or to a new friend . You will see by your own eyes the result and impact of your action.A snail mail is slow, ( maybe if it crosses continents!) or slower than a click and swoosh from electronic mails, but you must know that it is more memorable than other things.

Once you’ve done this, tell me how does it made you feel.

We are on the countdown to Silvester, few more hours and we approach New Year’s Eve. It’s time to reflect on doing something radical or out from ordinary in 2019. Happy New Year everyone!

Until then, Tschüss!

Iconic Animals in Colors

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Buddy Bears in Berlin,Germany

Big, colorful, funny, artistic, and definitely for a worthy cause! Iconic animals in colors are animals that made an impact through Artistic exhibition. They are a sure hit and big  magnet for kids, and adults as well! Have you heard about the Cow Parade in Zurich and New York? For long time ago, Animals have been used as a symbol or an Art subject exposition and is always fascinating to ponder. Whatever the meaning, the use of animal in order to bring art into the streets for public awareness and viewing is both informative and entertaining. I’m not talking about famous icons such as Mickey mouse, Donald Duck or Peppa pig-— I am talking of something that goes more than copyright and sales. The Artist behind them had a vision and they express their own talent .Each piece is definitely unique. That is why I believe the stories behind them are really worth telling!

In our travels, I found some great examples of Artistic exhibitions with painted animals as the subject. The artistry, the cause, symbolism and the creativity itself is exemplary! Here are some of my favorites ;

Buddy Bears in Berlin

One of the fascinating conquests we’ve done from our last visit to Berlin was looking for the Buddy Bears ( or United Bears)  Don’t get me wrong, but for my daughter this is exciting. She is very keen and always on the look out for it. We’ve spent our days most of the time walking through the streets and the moment that she spotted one Buddy Bear, it always brings a smile on our face.Buddy bears are definitely becomes a majot tourist attraction in Berlin.IMG_0441 (1)

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Buddy Bears in Berlin

Bears are very unique symbol for Berlin. It is also the national figure in Berlin flag. The bear , with all its imposing figure , is a heraldic animal with a high level of public appeal . It was envisaged to capture the hearts of Berliners and their guests in various different designs. Initiated by Klaus and Eva Herlitz, with cooperation of sculptor Roman Strobl, the first Buddy Bears appeared in Berlin since 2001 and the rest was history.The project was a great success and goes global! The Buddy Bears is a collection of  fantastic artists who gave each individual bear a unique identity. The bears were visible all over Berlin, attracting thousands of delighted looks.

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My daughter is super hooked on these Buddy Bears that she needs to hug each one she sees. I don’t know exactly the exact location of each Bears in Berlin but if you pay close attention when you navigate the streets of Berlin, I am sure you’ll never miss them.

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Here’s a helpful guide if you are planning to see them all in Berlin. I highly recommend for you to try this experience.

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“We have to get to know each other better, it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully!”

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The United Bears Exhibition travel around the world promoting “peace, international understanding and tolerance among the nations, cultures and religions around the world!

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In addition to the Classic Buddy Bears presented far beyond Berlin’s city limits, the circle of United Buddy Bears came into being in 2002. Each bear in the circle represents a country acknowledged by the United Nations. The United Buddy Bears travel around the world promoting tolerance and international understanding – always standing together hand in hand. I have never seen an actual Bear up really close in my whole life. The ones from the zoo are always hiding, or sluggish to even move and show off. But looking at these Buddy beers give me a better understanding of the many facets of this animal.Teddy bears are always loved and part of childhood, but Buddy Bears are also unforgettable.

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Tierisch-GUT !

Artistic Oversized Piggy banks in Pffafenhofen , Bavaria

Another iconic animal is the pig or Schwein .Pig is the 12th  in the 12 cycle of the Chinese zodiac sign and 2019 will be a Year of the Pig and starts in February 5, 2019. Chinese regarded pigs unfavorably while its known to be  eaters and often sleeping so it denotes laziness,clumsiness and becoming fat.On the other side, its regarded as wealth.

We all know that a piggy bank is always a good start to teach a child about saving money. Why it’s the pig and not a horse is I don’t know. In my home country where I grew up, raising pigs as a household business is very common,in fact, it’s a very stable source of livelihood. Here in Germany  pigs are normally raised in farms (Bauernhof). I had never seen pigs here, only the wild boars in the zoo but people here loves pork , in fact they adore it as they are crazy about würsts  , schnitzel, & schweinshaxe ! As a child, a sight of baby pigs for me is so fascinating, I find them so cute and their chubby form  when they wiggle their tiny tail is really amusing, but not their smell. Yes, they can be  very loud and stinky. On the other side, if you have a pig, you are bound to have an investment because pig means money!

“Sparkasse Bank  let the pigs out, now they can make a mess, A big mess in the bank!” 

 An initiative by Sparkasse Bank in Pffafenhofen, “Tierisch GUT “, they launched an Art Auction where 20 oversized Piggy banks were to be decorated and painted for a cause and a prize! Professional and amateur artists are invited to design and paint their own Piggy banks. The winner by online voting awaits a cash prize.

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Piggy banks fascination

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Piggy bank dressed in Bayerische Lederhosen

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Colorful Piggy bank in Bavaria, Germany

The concept of combining  money matters and art is a great way to make an impact and that is why these oversized piggy banks are great example of iconic animals with a cause!

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It was so nice to meet you …

Miffy and her Art Parade, Netherlands

When my daughter was born, she was gifted with lots of Miffy stuff from our  Dutch relatives. That was the first time I  was acquainted with this charming little rabbit. I never knew that it was even of Dutch origin. As my daughter grows, she had a fair share of Miffy stories, books and even saw the Miffy /Nijntje Parade in Amsterdam! That was her first close -up encounter with life-size Miffy statues displayed in Museumplein . Every dutch kid grows up with Miffy and that’s a fact.

Miffy  is called  Nijntje in Dutch  and  is a wonderful rabbit animation originating in the Netherlands.   Miffy is featured world-wide as a small female rabbit in a series of picture books drawn personally by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The original Dutch name, “Nijntje”, is a shortening of the diminutive konijntje, “little rabbit“. She’s the inspiration behind “Hello Kitty ” and holds millions of fans around the world. Dick Bruna also created stories for characters such as Lottie, Farmer John, and Hettie Hedgehog

Unlike the Buddy Bears which was only created from 2001, Miffy was born in 1955 in Egmond aan Zee, the place where Dick Bruna drawn Miffy for the first time.Dick Bruna lives in Utrecht and that’s where the Nijntje Museum is located.

We had the chance to witness the Miffy Art Parade last 2015 in Amsterdam that honors Miffy, her creator Dick Bruna and the world-wide fans.The Miffy Art Parade  had a goal to unite, inspire and helps to create a better future in partnership with UNICEF. Madelon Bruna, the daughter of Dick Bruna is also one of the Artist who participate in this Art project. In total, there are 60 artists decorated a life-size statue of Miffy, of which 45 are on exhibition on various locations in the Netherlands and 15 are on tour in Japan.

When we went to Keukenhof last year, we got the one made by Mies van Hout. It is a reminder for us that Miffy has a special place in our home.

Have you already heard about the Blue Flock Art project?

These animals surely inspires in their own ways, their artistic impact is a way to connect us into a magical world of animation, art and useful cause.

I am bent on discovering more and more iconic animals in colors.

What about you, are you fascinated with such things? What is your favorite iconic animal ?

Berlin secrets : Trains to life ,Trains to death

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Kindertransport | Frank Meisler

One station, two destination

October 3 is the German Unification Day or the Tag der Deutschen Einheit , the day that commemorates the unification of East and West Germany. In line of this holiday, I wanted to write something about  Berlin and how it reminds me of a fascinating, and yet sad “secret”I have found from our last trip in Berlin. The story itself is not a secret, it’s not on the top 10 tourist destination in Berlin, but rather, a must-see for anyone who wants to deviate from stereotype Berlin, or dvelve unto something different.

Personally,whenever I am in a new place, I try to discover some off-beaten tracks or beyond the usual-touristy spots, at least if I have the chance.Sometimes, what appears to look  ordinary, plain, and insignificant held quite a mystery, a profound story behind it. But only the keen eyes sees it.

Last time when we were in Berlin, we don’t have an itinerary. We want to make it spontaneous and explore it like a local. Surprisingly,  I don’t feel like a tourist anymore. I felt like I can blend more easily , since I finally got a hold of  my German  and I can understand what’s going on around me. I find it easy now to navigate and read the signs which happened to be all in German, not like a year ago that I basically don’t have an idea what does it mean.I got to ask my friend Google translate for a help!

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Berlin’s secrets : Trains to Life, Trains to Death

One of the Berlin secrets that I discovered is found just outside  the busy station of –Friedrichstraße–the known entertainment center in Berlin. It’s located in the Mitte of Berlin and adjacent to the street that crosses the Spree river.  It’s an important station in Berlin because of many reasons. First, this station was the station used during the Nazi regime to transport the Jews to many deportation camps, or to worst, to their death camps. In the same location can be found is the “Tränenpalast” or the Palace of Tears where East Germans said goodbye to family and friends going back to West Germany. From 1962 to 1989 it was the border crossing for travellers by S-bahn, U-bahn and train between East and West Germany.It is a place of tears, and woeful goodbyes!

Secondly, for all visitors in Berlin, this station is known to  tourists to famous destinations such as Unter den Linden, Brandenburg, and the Reichstag or the Deutscher Parliament.During the cold war, Friedrichstraße station belongs to East Germany and the major border crossing between the East and the West.

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One Station , Two destinations

While waiting for my cousins, we get on to Friedrichstraße  and kill our time. I didn’t expect to find some fascinating discovery—The monument of “The Trains to Life, Trains to Death” built by  Israeli Architect and Sculptor Frank Meisler in November 2008. Meisler himself travelled with a 1939  children’s transport from Berlin-Friedrichstraße to England called “Kindertransport” ( Refugee Children’s Movement ). Imagine, out of 1.6 million children murdered during Holocaust, only approx. 10,000 of them had a luck to escape and saved their lives through the help of Great Britain. The children traveled in a sealed trains, sometimes children carried babies as well.After arriving in Great Britain, they were transferred to Foster homes or reception camps and most of them never see their parents again.

 

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Kindertransport monument by Frank Meisler, Berlin,Germany

It’s  easy to miss this memorial monument especially when you don’t pay attention to details around you. It bears inscriptions both in English and Deutsch and mentions “In gratitude to the people of Great Britain” .When we are out from the station, I was trying to look around to look for landmarks but what I notice is a plain wall with this inscription in the information panels ( Stiftung Denkmal) –” Züge in das Leben, Züge in den Tod ” ( Trains to Life, Trains to Death), upon reading this, I was really struck, moved and my mind fixated on the inscription and was trying to read the rest for me to understand what’s the story behind it. This time, I happened not to look at the Bronze sculpture yet. There was a lady sitting on the side of it, she probably waiting for someone. I noticed that few people were photographing in front of us and I was telling my daughter to clear the spot. I found the story of the Kindertransport very intriguing, it is not your ordinary memorial. This memorial is for children. It’s hard to accept the fact that innocent little children were victims of the horrific Holocaust. Whether you are a parent or not, this piece of story is disturbing.

Then my daughter walked on the other side and decided to climb the statues. It consists of 2 groups, with seven figures of children. On their coats they wear yellow stars. The bronze colored statues , a boy and a girl facing the Spree river symbolise the lucky ones who escaped and were transported to Great Britain. The greyish-bronze group had another destination–they represent the unlucky ones who were transported to the Death camps in the East. What caught my attention was the empty suitcase with a broken doll inside it. The doll has is abandoned and there was a withering violet flower lying beside it. My daughter was saying “Mama, die Puppen ist schon kaputt!” was is passiert?!  ( the doll is already broken, Mama! what happened?!)

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Empty suitcase

I couldn’t find words to explain to my daughter…it is hard to explain.

This is probably the most disturbing memorial, and yet the most moving monument that I have ever seen in my whole life. It really touches you,provokes you, unless you are immune to human feelings. I am not born yet on this dark times in Germany but reading about the stories and seeing all the memorial sites for all the victims of Holocaust made me appreciate life even better, and understand it. Never again, it should never happen again.

My visit to Berlin is not only filled with photographs, or busy tourist spots, it was also full of valuable lessons. This is one of the Berlin secrets that is worth to explore and find. Frank Meisler remind us with this monument that life may lead you  in different destinations, some path leading us to life,the route to safety, or sadly some path leads to death.

This experience encouraged me to see the other “Kindertransport”works of Frank Meisler–one in his hometown in Danzig, Poland, “Kindertransport the Arrival” in Liverpool Station in London and the “Channel of Life “at the hook of  Holland , in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

How’s your travelogues lately? Have you discovered anything sort of “secret” ?

Have you heard about the Stolpersteine or stumbling stones?

If you happen to visit Berlin, make sure you drop by in Friedrichstraße Station, you’ll not regret the experience. If you’re interested about Kindertransport story, here’s an interesting read about it.You’ll find as well some of the famous Jews children who told their stories about their experience.