JustBluedutchArt is now open for business!

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Guys, finally I have opened my online shop!

To start November right, I recently opened my first ever online shop through Etsy, JustbluedutchArt, to provide a manageable platform to sell my artworks online. You can now view the recent paintings that I have available for sale. And yes, we are finally open for business!

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I am grateful for every one of you who showed appreciation of my artworks and have encouraged me to moved on with my passion. Since the very first time I have posted my first artwork in social media, especially here in WP,  I have received positive comments and it was not long enough when people are asking if they can buy it. At first I was hesitant because I haven’t tried selling my paintings before, but then I think it’s just a positive thing to do.

It is not an easy one but it is one of the turning point of my life where I see another purpose of my hobby. My paintings are piling up at home and I have nowhere to stock them so I thought its just practical to sell them. It’s great knowing that as much as I enjoyed my journey of rekindling my love for painting early this year, it also provide me a way to channel out what I really love to do in my free time! Some of my paintings have finally found their new homes in Canada, the Netherlands, USA, The Philippines, and here in Germany. It makes me even more excited to reach out to more people through this shop.

This is my first time to open an online shop, so please bear with me. Stay tuned as I continue to stock up and post more of my artworks!

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JustbluedutchArt // Visual art // Modern Art

If you have time, do check out my shop, say Hello and if you fancy anything there, please feel free to get in touch with me and support local art.

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Painting is my breath, Art is my compass, and nature is my body.

Above all, I wanted to thank you all for your support. For those of you who are following my Blog and my expat life adventures here, you have been such a great source of inspiration to me. Many of you I haven’t even met in person but you have always been so encouraging. From my heart, Thank you, Danke, Salamat and Bedankt!

Please add me in  Instagram and Facebook  to get the latest offer, promotions and stay connected! Don’t miss out my Opening Sale coming right up!

 

Tschüss!

 

The joy of life with plants

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My overwhelming pot of Oxalis Triangularis

 

” A life with plants is vibrant and full of joy “…

I go by these words nowadays.This is the reason why I respect the social media that I am engaged into right now especially the platforms that I am sharing this Blog and my artworks as a self-taught artist. Instagram , for example  have made me  discover the beautiful side of loving plants.Talented photographers, gardeners, home makers and all these crazy plant people have created a whole new definition of indoor gardening .You think it’s just a new trend,  I tend to disagree, for me it has become a lifestyle. The kind of inspiration that I love. If you love nature overall ,  I guess its very difficult to not appreciate the primitive and raw forms of life that surrounds us— plants! Come to think of it, when people wants to feel better, or release some tension, they go to nature.  I live in a very green city, I have an access to green parks and forest within 5 minutes away from my doorstep. I always visit parks with beautiful landscapes, with blooming flowers and plants, or simply taking a walk into green forests to have a quiet time and nature always do me good. I am so thankful that my new home now, Bavaria, is an oasis of nature. It is no wonder I wrote many things about nature here.

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Oxalis Triangularis

It’s a natural stigma, like an old adage. Even from the beginning, people gravitate to something that make them feel good, an addiction in a good way. Studies shows the many health benefits of simply getting your hands dirty by gardening. Its one proven way to release chemicals Dopamine and Serotonin. It’s not just for old people. Now I understand the joy we had while “Strawberry picking” last Summer or just by drooling over the new sprout of leaves from my plants.

It’s like seeing the eyes of my daughter when she smiles— its beautiful!

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Little tiny friend : Dypsis Lutescens (gold fruit Palm)
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Plants can make an empty corner looks alive

This post is very personal to me since this is the story of how I find an outlet of happiness by “nurturing” plants. I have shared to you how I’ve felt when I sold my first painting. It’s a moment of  pure joy, a newfound purpose. When I have “revived”a dying plant,  something left with only few leaves, but then grows back and bloom, the feeling is the same. My journey as a crazy plant lady started with a small pot of Chrysanthemums I placed in the garden, plants some stem cuttings of Jade plants ( I didn’t even know how to grow them, I just tried my luck!)  followed by few succulents and cactus, then the addiction began. There can never be enough. I am always on the look out of houseplants that are both beneficial and gives aesthetic boost to my home. With this, I involved my husband and my daughter. They know how crazy I am with plants because they know plants make me happy. Here in Germany, where the level of self-wellness is very high, it becomes a second nature now for me to create a lifestyle for a better quality of life.

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Sustainable Life : Plants and Painting goes well

Just like parenting, plant nurturing is a journey of self-discovery of how much love you are willing to give. It’s way more than just watering them. You’ve got to feel your plants, getting to know them, and watching over them like a mother. I am a first time mother and nurturing is something that I am continuously learning up until now. Being an Expat-mama where I don’t have the luxury of  having my immediate relatives for support have forced me to discover myself through the ups and downs of motherhood. It was not easy, there were sad days and tears were shed, especially when my daughter is sick or facing developmental delays. But there were also tears of joy, a sense of being needed, of being loved-back in return. It’s priceless. I know many mothers & parents can relate to this feeling.

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Plant envy : Pilea Piperomioides

Plants have helped me in the process of learning how to nourish  a life entrusted to your hands—and let yourself be nurtured in return. This an important part of fostering a strong, secure sustainability practice or else you will just waste money. Plants are no cheap and requires maintenance just like having a pet. It’s a beautiful purpose in life. I’ve lived in 4 different apartments in the last years and every time I build a new “home” for myself. Each one is a different surrounding and Expat life is like camping. A modern-day nomad.  When you are new to a foreign place, or unsure where you are going in life, I find ways to fully integrate as much as possible. This is the reason why I always try to find beauty here in Bavaria. I focus on the positive side and making this place feels like home. Being a crazy plant mama helps me refocus my energy on staying grateful, abundance, presence, and manage my stress accordingly. My plants have help me “set my roots” here in Germany.My plants have taught me how to become a better person! And they remind me that my actions have a significant effect on them. I don’t think that I can make a single plant alive if I am neglectful. Having houseplants requires responsibility.

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Green is the new Black for Green Interiors

Just like Painting, colors, shades of paint and the medium that I use allow me to embrace every shape and form to create an art composition. I’ve become fascinated with plants and colors that I usually see in my surroundings. Germans are good home makers. I love the way they make their gardens and decorate their balconies with houseplants. From large curtain-less windows, I got a chance to sneak peek on their huge planters, with cascading plants all over. There’s something about the way a place looks so peaceful and cozy when it’s adorned with plants. I noticed that Germans also love fresh flowers.They have different plants and flowers for each season and one of the things I love about visiting the Fresh market is the fresh blooms in display! And speaking of Bavaria, here, almost, or at least from what I see, no matter how tiny your  apartment is, there is always a pot of plant or flower in it.

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Bringing the tropical feel with Ferns

 

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I love the way the sunshine flooded our living room 

I’m telling you, my biggest expenditures lately are my Plants and painting materials. The two important things that gravitates me to living a less-stress life.Living with plants in every room of our apartment  have become a new natural for me in a short period of time. Some have stayed, and some have had to go, but the best part overall is seeing a growth happening, right before my eyes. I killed many of them , I was sad, disappointed at my self and blamed my “overwatering” nature. I am no expert, nor a green thumb. I just experiment, follow the rhythm of nature, researching about how to care for each type of plant, and this actually works for me to keep them alive, and especially —thriving.

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Alocasia’s charm

My daily routine includes tending to  my plants, as I tend to my love ones, feeding them & nurturing them. I am grateful every time  I roll down the roller shutters from our living room to let the sun floods the entire house, giving the golden sunshine to my plants.Through the days, I dream of  new ways to grow green life indoors and cultivating new plant sprouts. I clean the house surrounded by pots of  Jade plants, ferns, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (  or lucky feather),Monstera deliciosa, and Alocasia. I prepare meals for my family in the view of my stunning Oxalis Triangularis, and Snake plant ( Mother-in Law tongue plant) . We share sumptuous meals as a family in the dining area with my Lily ( my Fiddle leaf fig tree) , Calatheas, and spider plant. In our garden, I plant herbs, and grow tomatoes, leeks, rosemary, basil and paprika from leftover veggies. Plants bring beauty into our lives and illuminate for us just what that kind of beauty can do to change the texture of our days and reconnect us to the cycles of the moon and stars and sun. If you are searching to live a more meaningful life, search for more beauty. Stop the negativity. And that begins, as all life does, with plants.

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The number one houseplant : Ficus Lyrata ( Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree plant)

I read in one article that house plants reflect how you feel as a person because they are completely dependent on you. You can tell by the state of your houseplants whether you feel good about yourself or not.

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Monstera Deliciosa 

Plant addiction or not, it really doesn’t matter. If you love what you do and you have joy in your life with whatever you fill it with—-it’s your choice. All addiction pathways are the same no matter what the chemical.

As long as you feel rewarded you reinforce the behavior to get the reward.”

So in other words it all comes down to the fact that we can’t change our craving nature but we CAN change the nature of what we crave.

What do you crave for in life?

I am curious to know, what is your channel of happiness at this moment?

Do you also love plants? How was your experience?

Please feel free to share your opinion of this post and if you are thinking of starting an indoor garden for yourself, you might want to check out what I’ve written on Houseplants that I actually didn’t kill.

Thank you once again for reading my friends. A long weekend is coming up over here in Germany and I am already busy thinking how to spend those days! Can’t imagine that within a month, I’m going back to school and start a whole new routine! Until next time.

 

Tschüss!

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..)?

 

 

 

 

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?

 

A Reflection: The grass is greener in Bavaria

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Reflections at the Baggersee : My Expat Life in Germany  from a year’s perspective.

 

My favorite lake here in Bavaria shows amazing reflections in the water today. I took this photo with my iPhone only at around 5 P.M, no filter needed, only pure beauty. I could stare at these mirror-like reflections for hours and still wonder what did I do in my life that I deserve to see this.

My heart is filled with warmth.I couldn’t help but to reflect into my past  life, realizing that from last year—living here in Germany is actually one of my ( and my family’s )  dream that came true! 

“Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness.”

Today, I feel so grateful. I want to be grateful because I have many reasons to be thankful for. I can’t help but to appreciate goodness in life.

As we make a pit-stop from cycling and gaze at this view from the lake today, my heart is grateful that I had the chance to see this place, with all these  myriad of beautiful nature, right at my doorstep.

I still remember that at this same time last year (May 2016), we squeezed our lives in 2 cargo boxes , my travelling hand carry bags are tightly packed and ready to leave Kuwait, with 3 luggage on tow and an active toddler on a 20+ hours flight, alone,jet lagged, and yet so excited to cross time zones for a life changing move. From the time our plane landed at Schiphol in the Netherlands and the 6- hour train ride going to Bavaria, my mind can’t rest until I step on to our new home. I was truthfully exhausted,at same time,  I can’t wait to see our new place, our neighborhood and our new home, where we begin a new chapter in our lives.

Everyone dream of becoming rich, well, maybe not all in material terms. For me, I didn’t dare of dreaming about big houses, high-end cars or a grand lifestyle, let alone living in a culture different from where I was born with. I love to travel but I don’t have the luxury for it. The only reason I go abroad was for work purposes. If you must know, so many Filipinos get out of the country mainly for work, especially women and mothers. Leaving your baby across the miles is a huge pain in the heart of any parent, a sacrifice as others call it. A big population of the OFW’s ( Overseas Contract Worker) are women, with small kids & families left behind in Philippines.They work under contract for years and years to earn money and support their families back home.

Back then, I was one of them .

Almost all Expatriates along with their families aspire of a better life in another country. Some move because there is a job opportunity, some with a lucky chance to immigrate naturally. If you got the opportunity, both for a better future and a high quality of living then life abroad becomes bearable…and enjoyable”

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Life echoes through the reflections

“The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)…”

Staring at the clear waters with the reflections of a blue skies, I still couldn’t believe that I am actually living in here in  Germany. Imagine, for the past months, I  had my first taste of Summer, Fall, Winter  and Spring for the very first time in my life!

If you follow my Blog, you surely know it because I write all about them here.

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Local sightings : Kayaking in the Danube river in Germany

My husband thought of looking for a job in Canada but then life brought us here. I don’t like the cold so much but then the moderate climate helps me to appreciate my new life in seasons. Kuwait was not that bad, the cost of living is high for Expats but the balance between work and family is so bad, you always work for longer hours. In Germany on the other hand, to think that my daughter will have a better future in this amazing country is too much for me.Quality and balance living is achievable.We don’t live in big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, but we almost have everything here, within reach. My daughter will start in Kindergarten this coming September and she’ll grow up speaking multiple languages, getting better education, and having the opportunity to explore the best of both worlds as a Third culture kid.

Germans in general are very nice, friendly and hospitable people, ( at least from my own experience) the typical and traditional Bavarians who adore  Ruhetag  (Sonntag/Sunday) sincerely, my neighbors who are overly kind and all helpful. Our neighborhood which is just a stones’throw away from the Danube is full of simple wonders everyday. My little town here in Bavaria, Ingolstadt is a quaint, rich, lush city  full of kaleidoscope and charm. I couldn’t ask for more. ( Well, maybe a branch of Krispy Kreme someday…and Ikea! )

Germany is a beautiful country that welcomed us wholeheartedly. A place where Expats are treated not only as ‘Auslander’( or Foreigners)  but giving us a chance  to fully integrate into their culture,we felt at home at first sight. The moment I stepped out from the train, all I could say is that it is so green. I breathe in Life.

They say that people migrate with so many “pull” factors, and where the grass is always greener…

Literally & figuratively speaking, Yes, the grass is greener here in Bavaria.

 

 

This post was inspired by this week’s WPC Photo Challenge | Reflecting

Magical Evergreens

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Magical  Evergreen – the only plant that has leaves that stays green all throughout the year.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

The days are getting colder & colder. I am now enrolled in the course and art of layering. There’s a sharp chill that I am not used to but I am getting through it beautifully. I grew up in a tropical country and spent almost a decade in one of the hottest country in the world, so cold is not something that I am not familiar with. The same thing with real Evergreen plant, or the tree used for famous Christmas trees or as Germans called it Weihnachtsbaum or Christbaum. We all know that Christmas is one of the biggest holiday celebrated by Germans and now I know why.

I didn’t know that there are so many types of pine trees here in Germany– right in front of our garden stands a giant one, almost every 400 meters I see  beautiful shrubs, line of  Evergreen conifers, my favorite so far, and there’s the spruce, pine, fir and all others that I don’t know the names! Among all the bald trees now in the woods, they stand proud, lush, resilient, like a wizard who awaits for his time to shine.Its leaves stays green all through out the year,no matter what the season is.I remember arriving in Germany last summer and these Evergreens already enticed me. Seeing them for real is like walking in the field of dreams.

Now my dreams are slowly coming into reality.

The market square slowly turning into a magic land– building the Christmas stalls and ice skating rink, all in preparation for the upcoming Christkindl Markt or Christmas Market. Call me crazy but the sight of these and pine trees gives me pure excitement like a kid.When I looked into the shops last week, I ogle and drooled at the beauty of the ready-made Christmas tree and decor displays, all so gorgeous! So hard to choose, and also so  very expensive.

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Finally, our Evergreen conifers

But now, I love the fact that we can have real Christmas tree, I can make my own wreaths, and garlands made out of real Evergreen conifers and pine cones. There’s something about its needle-like leaves, its scent, and the feel beneath my fingers that I haven’t experience before.

Pine trees, Evergreen shrubs or the special  Weinachtsbaum, or whatever you call it, during this holiday season, they become special and transform into something magical.

When was the last time you had a magical moment with  SIMPLE things you have seen for the first time?

This post is in response for this week’s Daily Post photo challenge |Magic

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My Adventure on cycling with Toddler

My husband is Dutch and you would probably known why & how  Dutch are naturally born cyclists. I mean, they learn to cycle the moment they learned to walk and run. Believe me,there’s no kid in the Netherlands without a children’s bike! Maybe not everyone has a computer but really, statistically speaking, every single person has a Bike. A humble Dutch Bike.

There is no such a thing as cycling culture for Dutch, It is their #1 CULTURE! It’s no surprise that they are the  Cycling capital of the world  especially  Amsterdam. If you are a tourist, please,please think twice before you hop on to that bike. Amsterdam is one hell of a crazy hub for cyclists.They rule this city and you as a tourist is a liability in the road. Your selfie stick & bike is not just a perfect combo during rush hours. But if you wanna piss off the Dutch, go on. If you’ve visited the Netherlands, you know what I mean. For me,one thing that lingers in my memory about Amsterdam is Bikes. Millions of Bikes.

There is not a single space or place without a bicycle. There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike. They don’t cycle for recreational purposes only–They cycle for life!

No wonder that the Dutch people are on top (3 km) in cycling kilometers per day while Germans cycle only for 800 meters average daily  compared to other European countries. The Dutch also have the least deaths (1.6) per 100 million kilometers. They don’t even wear helmets! You can check out these surprising statistics Here.

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A Family that cycle together, stays together.His, hers, and Mine.

So, being married to a Dutch, this is a major culture shock for me. The things is, I’ve never  heard about or seen  a Bakfiets before, so I was really ogling the moment I saw it. Not that I wanted to have one, but the idea of transporting another human (let alone babies & toddlers!)   with that box-type cargo thing attached on the bike looks so strange to me,so crazy,so genuine & yet very interesting.Knowing you can also put your bag of groceries and your pets, your plants etc. in there, then that made me smile.When you’re in Holland, you will cycle…because that’s how they roll.

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My new found Love-Affair with Toddler-Cycling.

Eventually, cycling is also part of our little family now. I learned to cycle when I was about 13 (or something I can’t really remember), but it was just for recreation, a time where you just want to experiment new things in your teenage life. After years & years, I have never ridden a bike.The next time I rode a bike was when I was in the Netherlands and cycle for about 25 km and my ass really hurts. It felt strange, but once again, exciting.My daughter who just turned 2 last August got her walking bike and I could see that it’s in her genes too, loving her bike for the love of it! When we moved here in Germany, I was also surprised that Cycling is also a great part of the German culture, almost similar to the Dutch. Here they have the Anhänger (or kid’s chariot) and the Kid seat (Kindersitz) attached to the bike when cycling with babies & kids.People cycle with their kids, to go to work,doing errands,even when it rains! Trust me, if you move to Germany, you will buy a bike!

My husband got me a bike as well. Hoorraayyy!  I am a trying-hard Expat Mama who wanted to integrate and fit in as much as possible so I was really thrilled when we got my new bike. Deep inside I was horrified,nervous and saying prayers. Can I really do it? Can I really ride my bike with my daughter on my back, with me? What if she fell? She sits and I cycle? I tell you, it’s no joke! It scared the hell out of me. But at the same time, challenged me.

I just got to do it, and go for it.

It’s not easy at first. But it felt good. It actually felt great. Toddler-Cycling is possible and very safe. I think it really creates a special bond between families. Responsible Cycling  as a family is one of the things I love here in Germany, and why not, it’s so much fun.

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Our bicycles- meet Helmut, Helga & my daughter’s bike-Heike

I have never realized that Cycling could be so much more than just cycling itself. When I saw how Dutch people and the Germans now go on with their life through life in two-wheels, I was really  impressed. Cycling is healthy, pollution-free, natural, and very environment-friendly form of exercise and means of transport. But more than all of these, It’s a great lifestyle. No wonder these countries have high quality of Living.

Who builds a bicycle road on a 32km-long sea dyke? One akin to a really, really long Severn Bridge, made of earthworks, tumbleweed and gulls, with a six-lane highway? Yup, only the Dutch ! To make cycling safer and more inviting the Dutch have built a vast network of cycle paths.These are clearly marked, have smooth surfaces, separate signs and lights for those on two wheels, and wide enough to allow side-by-side cycling and overtaking. As a first-timer & a tourist in the Netherlands, I find these things really delightful. Here in Germany, there are enough cycle paths for anyone to cycle until they drop. It’s a cycling paradise as well. I am so looking forward to explore so much more of this country through cycling. I am excited to cycle more with my daughter and indulge in this new lifestyle that we’re having. A lifestyle with our humble bicycles.

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Exploring Germany on a bike with a Toddler.

Germany & the Netherlands have  decent infrastructure for cyclists since there is a remarkable variety of people cycling, of all ages and from all walks of life. I saw old couples riding side by side on e-bikes on long bicycle roads between country towns. There are people in normal clothes riding in astonishing numbers in the cities at rush hour. There are parents with kids, sometimes one on the front, one on the back, even kids sitting on Bagagedrager  and holding nonchalantly on to the cycling adult’s shoulders. There are children cycling unaccompanied to and from school, and cycling and playing in the streets, even in busiest cities. Children who goes to Kindergarten (or Krippe) and Pre-schoolers are riding their Bikes. I saw ladies in skirts & heels cycling in style..so fashionable. I was really dumbfounded, why this can’t be done in the Philippines?! This could be a part of the solution of the worst traffic in Metro Manila. If only the government is willing to invest in the cycling infrastructure….If only they could also fall in love with Bikes &  have a steady love-affair with bicycles.

Do you like Cycling?

What  activities do you share as a family?

 

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