Thursday, 29 January 2015

Listening to The January Cure


tonight I just send you a short update. The January Cure is coming to and end. I am not sure if this was Janel's plan behind all the assignments, but the deep cleansing in several rooms lead straight to serious decluttering processes. The progress I am making is enormous.

 Sorry Yazz/The Only Way is Up, you have served me well, but now it's time for you to go.
Right now, while typing this posting, I am listening to old records. They have been sitting in the shelf for decades, I hardly ever listened to them. I am listening to every single record and it seems as if my taste in music has changed over the decades. This project is fun. It entertains us at home.

Now playing: Talking Heads. Speaking Tongues. 1983 (Burning Down the House, Girlfriend is better etc) genial
It is amazing how genius he Talking Heads were. 
After 20 records, this seems to be the first "modern" record in my collection. It sounds so ...  fresh. I am very happy. I think I like the record 10 times more than I liked it back then. David Byrne sounds comforting, such a kind man. Did you know he loves to ride a bike where ever he stays?

Mr Paula thinks this "going through the records" is the best assignment of the whole "Cure". Even though it was no actual assignment. It just happened. I am surprised how good the sound is, compared to the internet radio and MP3 we usually listen to.

So, enough with the talk, here comes the slideshow and you will see the last days have not only been about records.

 Music, my third love right after drawing and photography. (the photos shows just a tiny, daily dose, several more on stock)

 The rose(s) held up really well! This one is 2 weeks old or even older. (another shot that captures the excellent quality the SIGMA DP2 provides, even in relatively low light)
This apron is tiny and accompanied me during my first years in the kitchen, from 3-9 years. I can't let it go, I am going to keep it together with this trio:

Yes, we actually played Star Trek, which included a lot of beaming. The beaming platform was a box whre you pushed buttons and the crew magically disappeared. Lucky children we were.

MAYA Norway. 
This is how we used cut meat at home. Before the electrical knife boarded the kitchen.

 oh the hard disks ... but I am doing fine. Their status has improved lets say at least by 120% since last saturday.
reliable high fidelity. project record player. and a peculiar anti-dust device. 

discerning asked for a portrait of my clothes-rail. it looks like this: is:
a simple but very effective clothes rail

 this shelf has served as our out box for YEARS! I am glad I am finally getting the stuff to move out. :-)
The shelf is going to move out, too.

glasses, mugs and lots of stuff sitting in the "out box" (this is a LOT, the spatula in front is actually a HUGE spatula, twice the normal size)
pillow stuffing (pure wool), a bicycle helmet that gives me headaches (yes, I still am the Princess and the Pea), outdated clothes and the suitcase itself, serving as another out box

I hope this entertains you a little. 
More - or hopefully less - to come! :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Landing Strip


I have never heard the term "landing strip" until The January Cure mentioned it in one if its assignments.
Maybe you are also not so familiar with the term? Here you can find the definition.

Seems like I had a day off the "Cure" today, because this is how our landing strip welcomes us every evening, not a lot to fix:

You find an empty hook to the left, lots of space for bags and the mail and to the right you see the edge of the clothes-rail ...

...  which serves as minimalist, but unfortunately a quite practical hook for my keys.

I could use a hook for the keys, but somehow I manage to hang them on that not so secure and of the rail and they rarely fall down onto the wooden floor. When they do, it's a really unpleasant noise. So maybe a hook. For the keys.

This is the hook to the left, a close-up: 
 I found this aluminium hook a while ago in the street. It was resting next to a public garbage container, still attached on a wooden board. I am glad I did not hesitate to bring it home.

Walking further into the apartment, my shiny sink greets me

 ... accompanied by a shine stove. A shiny stove is at least as important as a shiny sink. Trust me.

Oh, the clutter free closet with ONLY baking goods! Candles = definitely baking goods. What would a birthday cake be without candles. Now I know where to find them.
Sorry for this snobbish portrait of my oven. The oven is already 13 years old and you must believe me, we are power users. This oven is the result of one of the weekend assignments of the january cure. The one that did not leave time for taking care of the fridge.
 Slowly but steadily we are turning towards the more messy parts of the apartment, here is Outbox #1, things I am going to donate and ...
 Outbox #2, things that belong to friends and family.

All over the place you find bits and pieces of last weeks flowers. They already lasted 2 weeks.

 and some ... well .... project. There was a heavy storm a few days (weeks?) ago and I did not dare to leave the windowboxes outsidem now that they are lightweight. Ever since they have been populating our living room.
Yes, they are exactly as ugly as they appear in this photo.

Last but not least the chest of drawers in the bathroom, same goes here as with the entrance hall: everyday appearance. The chest of drawers is an old ALIBERT. My grandmother owned it, now I own it and I see no reason why I should replace it with something new. But this was not the question, right?


Good night!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

New Routines in 2015


January 16, which means, half time at The January Cure. Janel Laban sends daily assignments (from Mon-Fri). On Fridays we are asked to bring flowers to our home. It took very little time to establish this new routine, which is good news. 

 A fraction of last weeks bunch

The new assignment leads straight to the bedroom. Straight to the bedroom? Well, I kept circling around the bedroom and kept myself busy doing other fun things such as ... cleaning the vacuum cleaner. Please tell me I am NOT the only person who occasionally gives her vacuum cleaner some TLC?

Oh, what joy that sparkling shining oven window in the (blurred) back provides. 

Speaking of "joy", thanks to Alana in Canada, who posted a link, I found out about Marie Kondo's book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying". The key message is simple: ask your stuff if it sparks joy. If not, there is no room for the stuff in your home.

Good night!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

One Drawer Before Bedtime

On I go with The January Cure. Today Janel Laban from Apartment Therapy asked me kindly invited me to de-clutter one drawer. ONE. That's enough.

AFTER: right side of the drawer and tray

 To put it in Janels words:

"After your drawer clearout (don't go crazy now - stick to the pace and just do one), share your progress with us all - which drawer got the treatment and how did it go?"

How did it go?

Easy, spontanuous and effortless, joyfull, simple ... surprisingly easy.

Here you see the clutter from the drawer photographed above, where it belongs:
So to say the BEFORE, already outside the drawer: Broken electronic-stuff

Inside the drawers is a tray which moves from the left side to the right side. The fun started, when Mr Paula looked at the tray BEFORE, containing all the stuff I had chosen to throw away and agreed to throw it away.

Of course I did test the SONY walkmen, enjoyed listening to South Corean pop music from the 60's for 3 minutes and some 1997-R'nB and knew: this little fellow does not work properly. Adios.

The emptied tray now contains batteries, all of them checked for power, USB-Sticks and a pouch with our subscribtion to the theatre, including vouchers (don't ask me, how and when the theatre nested in the audio/visual-drawer. It works and so it stays in this place)

The bottom left part (underneath the tray) is dedicated to the radio: recording device, chargers, MP3 Player, earphones)

The right part is the visual section: chargers for my cameras, SD Cards (in the blue box) and one small handy camera

AFTER: Left part of the drawer and parts of the tray

This drawer is part of a chest of drawers I grew up with. My mother used to store the silver cutlery in this exact drawer, with the tea spoons and cake forks on top in the tray and the large knives, spoons and forks below. And I loved to polish it. I like it how multifuntional this drawer is, it serves me well, especially now that it half empty. :-)

I am totally aware that postings like this one are the reason why people raise their eyebrows, when it comes to bloggers. Photos of so-so drawers? Really?
Haha. Ok, it does feel silly, to post my drawer. I guess I am the first here to raise my eyebrows. So what. I like the photos and the result. 

Not to forget: these photo represent a huge part of "me". My favourite activities ever since I left school - and even before!

Have a good night!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Kitchen Report


Tonight kitchen was calling my name. I spent 4 hours in the kitchen and finally turned my kitchen a better place. Being a rookie at the "The January Cure", I have been told that it is always overwhelming, when you do it for the first time.
the only part of my dirty fridge I am willing to share in public. ;-)
I just took the before photos. Afterwards I was so much in awe, I just stood there and admired the sparkling white fridge. Including the shining seals.

I stored all the deep frozen items in the back of the apartment building, it's about 0°, perfect condition for a thorough de-frosting of the freezer. Except for some leaking Vodka in the outlet, it all worked very well. Maybe some nightactive animals had a party down in the garden behind the building, while the ice in the freezer was thawing? Who knows ...

Now I need to nourish my skin, the hands are in a really poor state after all the cleaning. I prefer water as in watercolor. ;-)

Just in time I found this Youtube-channel, which I find and inspiring, it's called Art Tutor and offers all kinds of tutorials.

This one is truly helpful:

Are you a fan of art tutorials? To me the people who share their knowledge are truly generous.

Have a good time!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Creativity, triggered by The January Cure


A belated welcome in 2015!
I hope you are all well.

New Years Eve I made ginger syrup for the first time and wanted to find out more about syrups and lemonades. One thing lead to the other (hello Internet! ;-)) and it did not take long and The Kitchn led me straight to Apartment Therapy.

Oh my, just what I needed! Those who know me over the years know, that I live in a small apartment, approx. 680sqft. You can imagine my delight, when I found categories such as "Small Spaces", there was even a contest, listing dozens of cool examples for small Living, the Small Cool Contest.

I looked around and the famous Janary Cure caught my attention. I had never heard of it before – until New Years Eve. Some experienced members of the Apartment Therapy-community were already very much looking forward for the Cure to begin and today, after the first third of the month,  I can assure you, it DOES something with you. You, your apartment ... after those 31 days, you will OWN your apartment, even if you rent.
It is about getting to know the corners of every room, make use of your apartment and fill it with ... all you ever wished for, which does not necessarily lead to shopping sprees. More likely it will lead you to your kitchen, where you will end up on the kitchen floor, cleaning the bottom of those drawers. ;-)

 just a photo (more below) - Schönbrunn Gardens last week

It is never too let to jump in, I can say I have my doubts whether I will be able to have completed the Cure by January 31st.

I do not mind, because ever since I started with those daily tasks, the action has already done something amazingly, something I did not expect: it instantly triggered my creativity.

On the second or third day I cleaned the top of a chest of drawers in the bed room and ended up organising my large amount of watercolour-materials that I had bought about a decade ago. I always loved painting and as an adult I finally was able to afford those supplies. For 3 years I totally dived into painting, joined the watercolour-forum on

7 years ago I quit painting for no reason. I was right in the middle of a process when I was noticeable improving my skills. I knew I wanted to finish some of the pictures, and paint, again. Only I never did. Until last week.

The dynamics of this low tech programme called The January Cure is fascinating. It releases tons of dynamics, can also be really exhausting bud in the end you earn a lot.

Last Sunday Mr Paula and I went to Schönbrunn and brought my camera with me. This time, for the first time in ages, with the mere intention to find motives. Stories, I could paint. The sky was bright, the sun already quite low and we returned home with many nice motives for painting sessions to come. It is very unusual for me to take photos not for the photo but with the photography as a tool.

What helps a lot (yes, I am proud about this) is that I have a good eye for motives.
I see stories, I stop and look and see what others might oversee. Over the years I developed a good eye, which makes everything more fun.
 The 1st chosen motive

I always loved photography. I have a passion for photography. Before photography was ... painting.
I had forgot. Now I know (and smile): I love to paint.

I have the paintings in my head, I just need to get them on paper.
Those of you, who know watercolours, know, that beginners make all kinds of mistakes. I will need a lot of practice. I am pleased to find numerous blogs online where people who share their love for painting with me are happily willing to share their knowledge.

What I did not know: they often repeat their paintings until they end up with the painting they had in mind.
And: they draw sketches. Often they draw not just one, but 2 or three sketches before they even touch the large sheet of watercolour paper.

Having painted with the sole purpose to get back in touch with my colours in the box, I sat down today and drew the first sketch after a long time. Wow!

Do you know Betty Edwards? She wrote a book which teaches everyone how to draw. "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain".

Drawing is not about your hands, but about your eyes. What you see and what you REALLY see. The moment you start to sketch, your brain changes its mode (a fact). Something happens to you.

Long story short: having drawn a sketch tonight, chanced the way my brain worked while I was sketching. Which leads to a happy state. It just does.

I had to tell you!

This could become the 2nd chosen motive

I guess that if it had not been for that ginger root, things probably might have taken another turn. 

The slopes up to the Gloriette in Schönbrunn were closed, due to ice and snow, which did not hinder the people to walk past the fence and walk up in the sun, on icy grounds. I like this photo.

I did a sketch of the first photo. I
With the first sketch I was trying to find the right perspectives and proportions as well as light and shadow. I can see diagonal lines, which draw me right into the scenery, then the light contrasts, warm and cool colours, a distinct foreground, where something is happening and a dreamy background  – one word: excellent! :-)

The composition is nice, but it is not the picture I want to paint. The 1st sketch serves as a starting point. It makes me aware of the actual composition and makes me want to change some parts of the picture.

One tree is going to be smaller, I will erase some people and add others, I might add a few clouds. At the bottom of the picture I will leave space for longer shadows. Overall I want to leave some details out, it is a bit too busy. But can you see: I already changed some detais, f.e. the man, who is standing to the left is walking in the sketch. I also put some emphasis on the slopes, they are the story of the picture, everything here is about getting up to the Gloriette (the building on top)
What amazes me is how I ended up creating something, playful, with a very clear mind. I know what to do.

 It just happened.

 This I wanted to share with you!

Maybe we meet over there, at The January Cure.