Friday, 30 December 2016

A Farewell to 2016

Snowman / inspired by Michael

Hello, dear readers!

It's about time ... to say farewell to 2016 and welcome 2017. My 2016 has been throughout gentle and supportive. Sigh. Too bad it ends tomorrow night. I will keep 2016 in good memory.

Looking around, hearing other people's stories, I must have been very, very lucky to experience such a good time in 2016.
Thank you, 2016!

Now that all the photo calenders have successfully been passed to all my friends and family, I can show in public what 2016 was like. I removed photos that include portraits. Still, 2016 is looking good.

January 2016 in Maria Alm

Vienna in February

Lido di Venezia in the Fall

Italianità, this time Pellestrina, close to the Lido di Venezia
Lido di Venezia in Fall season, faking Spring. hehe

Venezia as seen from S. Giorgio Maggiore

The village of Fresach seen upside down. turned 180°. You geet it? ;-)

Staycation, my Love.

A typical vacation looks like this.

Carinthia in October

Carinthia in November

Cemetery in Fresach

The lagoon in Venice was meant to become the month of Decembe, until ...
... well until snow fell just a few days before Christmas. Success!

The photos picture the gentle air of 2016.
There is a lot of water, almost no mountains. What an unusual year!

Hope to see you in 2017,

Friday, 16 December 2016

Shortcut on Calligraphy

Hello again!

Well, this ended surprisingly early.

On my route to becoming a highly passionate calligraphista, I forgot one important detail : My left hand! Gothic lettering does not support people like me: Lefties. I can manage fountain pens almost worryfree (after some practice). But writing Gothic lettering with a nib that needs to be pulled from left to right in an exact angle of 40°? No way!

What to do? Become right handed in my mid 40's?
Learn a language that moves from right to left?

I opted for the third option and returned to the playground where passionate hobbyists like write with flexible nibs, no education or training needed.
"Tintenfaxi" was the breaking point where I quit Gothic lettering. (I thought the term Tintenfaxi is familiar in German, but I could not find a single entry online. Seems I was wrong! Tintifax it is - a character from  the Kasperl stage).

pictured above:
1st row: this was all I could write after an evening with the calligraphy nib, blame it on the left hand writing.
2nd row: writing with a flexible nib and black ink ("Pilot" = not the profession but the name of a Japanese Company which sells phantastic inks)
3rd row: Happyness comes with the flexible nib and black Pilot ink.
4th & 5th row: exploring the variations this flexbile nib offers

New adventures to come. Without lessons. Yes, all those lessons in the Calligraphy book did chase me off.

A simple flexible nib alreasy creates awsome results. All I have to do is: Write! The ink flows and so do my thoughts, which I bring to paper.

Black ink and a flexible nibs work as a phantastic trigger for writing/painting/drawing illustrations. I am surprised writing with a pen has not become a trend yet, with all those adorable illustrations surrounding us these days in magazine, on shop windows and online. My guess would be, that as soon as the ongoing hype "Colouring books for adults, mandalas etc" passes, illustrating will become really popular.

After all the excitement I chose to relax tonight and dedicated the evening to ... Christmas cards. No experiments. Simple watercolour.
Watercolour LOVE -  in capital letters.
Oh, I almost forgot: Yes, I did return the calligraphy-book. I bough envelopes instead. It's time to finally ship some cards.
Have a good night!


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Highly Efficient?


I have been having a good time lately. A good health plays a big role. So far no cold, no flue has caught me. The days have been incredibly sunny, almost everyday we have blue skies. Maybe not all day long but at least for a few hours.

Spirits are high, perfect time for mastering a new hobby. Calligraphy. Also known as: The slowest possible mode to reach a goal called "sending Christmas cards" by the end of this week.

Lets get started .. by looking at nice photos. Almost like watching YouTube tutorials. Well, more like looking at thumbnails. Still, entertaining.
 Whoa, progress!
The progress I will have made by the time I reach page 19 - vertical strokes - brings up the idea of binary Christmas greetings. Yep, I could do that. Just give me 2 days. Maybe 3.

This is how I manage to write and ship Christmas Cards by the end of this week. NOT. ^_^
The first word on page 41. How cool is that! "ma". Need to get to make it to 41 Probably not tonight. 
As a true serial hobbyist, I don't "just do it". Getting ready is an important step. These days you get ready by watching YouTube videos (people who write letters aka Calligraphy), reading book reviews on amazon, watching more videos (All those nibs! The pretty inks!) and a few nights later it's done. Well, should I say "the set up is done"? 11 days till Christmas. Chances are that cards will make it ... until New Year's Eve maybe?

Not only is the craft art of calligraphy tricky, but the writing as such is tremendously sloooooow. Hahaha.

Before I took up this new hobby, I spend an eveneing speed-painting:
Very, VERY important utensil, not pictured: Michael's YouTube tutorials.
4 cards per evening. aka Christmas cards, the highly efficient way to do it. This was fun.
I want to give June, The Serial Hobbyist Girl full credit for the term I just can't stop repeating, because I like it so much: Serial hobbyist. This woman knows how to do a FOX HAT! And not just fox hats and mittens and sweaters ... I think I might have found her through - Black and White photography! Welcome to our world, the world of serial hobbyists.

Now to you: There must be more of our kind? Come clean, share your hobbies, please.
No passion too short-lived to be loved from the bottom of your inner child's heart. 

Spend your evening with passion and fun,

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Taking Good Care


Tonight I was packing a few clothes I had sold on a 2nd hand online platform. When I sell a piece of my wardrobe, I want it to look as nice as possible.  The new owner should be as happy as possible, when he/she opens the bag.

Selling my clothes has taught me a good lesson. Now I treat my clothes with the same diligence I treat those pieces I give away.

Removing a tiny loose thread? Clearing the woolen sweater from pilling? Those steps are standard before I pack a piece of garment.

Reasdy to be handed over to the new owner

The garments in my closet receive the same TLC. The process reminds me of friends of ours. They  had been living in their apartment for a very long time and sold the apartment. They moved into a newer, nicer apartment. Shortly before they moved out, they renovated the old apartment. It was only then, that they realised how pretty their old apartment actually was. They had neglected it far too long. "Now" is always a good time to take good care.

Another thing I've learned, thanks to lifestyle bloggers from the US and AUS,  the difference a hand written note makes.

I might have had the right material for a steep career in merchandising.  ;-)

Happy grooming! November feels like the perfect time for quiet tasks like these.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

10 Good Reasons For Travelling Off-Season


We have not reached the end of the Venice Travel Diary yet, but since the trees are heavily shedding their leaves, it't time for an intermezzo. 

Before and after our week in Venice we've spent a few days in Carinthia. Yes, Carinthia, the Southern province in Austria, the region only 3 hours away from Vienna, which I love over above any other region in Austria.

We love to take vacations during off-season. Being DINKS, having the freedom to travel off-season, I see many only advantages. 

#1: Stress-free parking space

Search for a (free) parking lot, close to a lake side? Something we hardly ever never experience. (pictured: not our car)

 #2: Colourful nature
Blossoms? Are highly overrated. Plants go through their most interesting phase in autumn.

 #3: Most of the staff will be on leave (*)

With most of the staff is on leave, we can approach interesting places such as the "Parkhotel" in Pörtschach at the Lake Wörthersee unhindered.
(*) this is an advantage as long as you don't want to stay in a hotel. 

Nobody showed up and interrogated us.

Personalhaus = hotel for hotel staff
Parkhotel = hotel for tourists

Still exploring the grounds of the Parkhotel. Pictured: the alleyway to the private tennis court
The tennis court seen from below, standing at the seafront

... which brings me to

 #4: Pleasant walks in the sunlight

Company at the seafront at Lake Wörthersee next to the Parkhotel
During high-season it would be impossible for me to enjoy a walk in direct sunlight. But now, with the temperatures around 16°C, direct sunlight is enjoyable any daytime.

#5: Everything around you says "Break"
The lake off-season is remote. A remote sight is inviting. It invites me to do .. nothing.

#6: You can actually hear nature 

During high-season there is a lot going on on a public beach. Kids jumping into the water aka shrieking girls, mobile phones ringing, motorboats in front of you, honking cars in the back. But now, during off-season, all you can hear is the sound of dry grass, moving gently in the autumn breeze. 

 #7: You will develop a slower path
The spectacular colours around slow your path. So much to see, so much to capture. #teamcolourlove
Shades of green and yellow, spotted on a banal parking lot next to the street

#8: You have the chance to enjoy Panoramafreiheit at its best 
In Austria we are allowed to take pictures of private property as long as we stand on public ground. 
Since most of the oweners of the villas around Lake Wörthersee are away off-season, you can enjoy your right of the Panoramafreiheit unhindered.

The ability of houses to transform over time, how they transform over time, is something that fascinates me. 

Two examples:

Pictured below is a perfect match, where the car compliments the house really well. I mean, imagine a Hyundai. No, don't imagine a Hyundai! Just look at the old Volvo:

This lettering is wearing an expiration date, unfortunately.
 Some of the more recent buildings leave me rather clueless:

 #9: You can stop for silly poses anywhere, anytime. No one around to look.

Seems "Sushi Bruch" became the successor of the once so famous ...

.... Mixed Grill.

# 10: After a pleasant day you will enjoy a stress-free ride back home

Empty roads during off-season (picture taken on our way to the lake)

Off-season in Venice? Is something we still need to find. Nevertheless, we've enjoyed those busy days in Venice. More stories to come soon!

Have a nice Sunday,