Monday, October 17, 2011

I Am a Legal Alien!

Today I needed to post a letter to the Foreigners Department of our local District Office but while writing the address, I felt unsure about the spelling of the word "Ausländerbehörde" (Foreigners Department).

Well, as usual LEO was the place to go - Leo is an online dictionary that can be used for looking up words between German and English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese (!) and Russian. It is a great site and I use it on a daily basis.

However, today I was taken by surprise...

Do you see the English translation of "Ausländerbehörde"? At first I looked in dismay... and then started laughing. I wasn't a foreigner after all - I was an ALIEN:-) A legal alien!  You can have a closer look here:

I checked Leo's translation of the word "Ausländer", and apparently one of its meanings is "alien" - together with "foreign national", "foreign person", "foreigner" and "stranger". It is unbelievable that all their translations of "Ausländerbehörde" were connected with aliens, rather than foreigners. "Ausländerbehörde" is a normal  word, which I have only heard in connection with the public authority responsible for foreigners. What is more, as far as my knowledge of German could be trusted, the word "Außerirdische" is being used more often when it comes to aliens.

On the other side, the whole story can be seen as a reminder that nobody is perfect (Leo is a really good online dictionary and I can only recommend it) - which gives the permission to stop trying to be that perfect ourselves:-)))

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Dorian Gray" (2009)

"Dorian Gray", DVD cover
Let's start with a confession - I watched this movie because of Ben Barnes. 

While I certainly don't regard him irresistibly handsome (this seems to be the way in which he is typically described), there is something about him I really like. On top of that, when you watch him in interviews, he comes across as an intelligent young man (probably a bit too intelligent for a good-looking actor), down to earth, slightly shy but still with a charming sense of humor. He looks like one of those people, whom you would like to befriend and always see happy and successful in whatever they do.

Having read some contradictory reviews about "Dorian Gray",  I felt the need to watch it and make my own opinion. I'm not a fan of neither British costume dramas, nor horror movies, but somehow couldn't believe that Ben Barns was as terrible as Dorian, as some critics wrote.

And the truth is that he is not
. What is more, I think that he is as good as one could possibly be in a fast-forward movie, shot in a way more suitable for a music video. You don't normally create full-rounded characters in a video clip, don't you?
The scriptwriter and director didn't even regard it important enough to establish Dorian as the charismatic character, who everybody find irresistible. Instead, Ben Barnes is simply left to be handsome - and yes, he is, but his type of facial and bodily structure is not the classical example of male beauty; it appeals to some, but not to all. Another appalling fact is that what is supposed to be Dorian's real love takes place in about 15 minutes screen time - including the girl's suicide and her brother's attempted revenge.

Many scenes are just not properly built up. For example, the movie shows Dorian kissing Basil, the artist who painted the picture, and initiating a homoerotic sexual act (a scene that doesn't exist in the book) in what could be interpreted as an attempt to distract the painter from wanting to have the portrait for an upcoming exhibition. However, although Basil's love to Dorian is obvious in Oscar Wilde's book, there are relatively little and not strong enough references about it in the movie before the scene in question.

These are just a few examples of what can make an actor partly look ridiculous on screen - although nothing could be more ridiculous than a moaning and groaning like a zombie picture...

I could imagine what attracted Ben Barnes to the role though. The film at least tries to show Dorian as a real person, who falls victim to Lord Henry's poisonous world view but then realizes that something is wrong. For example, Dorian is shocked and remorseful when he hears about Sybile's death (the woman he first wanted to marry but than dumped after a night out in a brothel with Lord Henry). However, the scene is spoiled by the fact that just a short exchange with Lord Henry is enough to calm  Dorian down and make him behave as if nothing had happened. And yes, the picture is groaning from the attic, as if to show that it is the only reason for Dorian's hardheartedness.

Another major difference from the book is that by the end Dorian understands the meaningless of his way of living, regrets his actions and sincerely wants to change - another thing that an actor like Ben Barnes might have found interesting. But again, like everything else, this line is also shown in fast motion and refuses to build up to Dorian's own decision to destroy the picture. Instead, the script invents a story in which Lord Henry does it for him in a bid to save his daughter (who doesn't exist in the book), because she is in love with Dorian.

To sum up, most of the actors give their best within the frame of a well-intended but ultimately weak script and bold, beautiful video-clip style of cinematography. The movie looks good but tells very little about its characters.

  • Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray
  • Colin Firth as Lord Henry
  • Ben Chaplin as Basil
  • Rachel Hurd-Wood as Sybil
  • Rebecca Hall as Emily (Lord Henry's daughter)
Director: Oliver Parker
Screenplay: Toby Finlay

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pre-Christmas Advent Calendar Value Pack / Vor-Weihnachtlicher Adventkalender Sparpackung

(Der Deutscher Text ist nach dem Englischen)

Hello everybody,

A few days ago I realized that Christmas was slowly approaching (raise your hands if you also love Christmas:-) and decided to put together some advent calendar value packs. You can see all of them in the category "ADVENT" in my DaWanda shop. There will be more items to come, so keep an eye on that page.

One of my most impressive offers is a pack of 24 angel charms from different crystals. The picture below is just an example; each package will be arranged according to your special wishes.

The package includes at least 7 charms with either faceted or more expensive stones (for example, amethyst, citrine, lapis lazuli, garnet, chalcedony, amber).

Depending on the stones used these charms normally cost 4.95 or 5.95 Euro each, and simple calculations show that 24 charms will typically cost over 120 Euro.

However, the advent calender price is 99.95 Euro for 24 charms - and until October 15th it is even reduced to 89.95:-)


Hallo Ihr Lieben!

Neulich habe ich bemerkt, dass Weihnachten bald wieder kommt:-) Eine Kategorie "ADVENT" mit Adventkalender Sparangebote ist schon in meinen DaWanda-Shop zu finden. Weitere Artikeln kommen noch, also schaut ab und zu vorbei.

Unter anderem gibt's auch ein Packung aus 24 Edelstein Engel Charms (das Bild unter zeigt nur einen Beispiel).

Der Packung wird mindestens 7 Charms aus facettierte oder auch teure Edelsteine (wie z.B. Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Citrin, Chalcedon, Granat, Bernstein) erhalten. Persönliche Wünsche werden je nach Verfügbarkeit gerne berücksichtigt. 

Die normale Preise von den Charms sind je nach Stein 4,95 oder 5,95 Euro. Separat gekauft werden 24 Charms über 120 Euro kosten, den Adventkalender ist aber für 99,95 Euro angeboten - und bis 15. Oktober kostet er sogar 89,95 Euro!


Monday, August 8, 2011

New Stones, New Designs

Yesterday and today I started adding some new gem angels. Serpentine and rhyolite are stones, which I haven't previously listed on my DaWanda shop. I like them both - serpentine for its joyful yellow-green color, and rhyolite for the unusual patterns.

Serpentine eases stress, harmonizes mood changes and helps with muscle cramps, regulates kidney function, alleviates hyperacidity and reduces deposits in the vessels.

Rhyolite consolidates existing circumstances and helps with self-acceptation and better assessment of one's situation.  It is a predominantly green stone with splashes of brown, ocher, yellow and white.

Red jasper is one of my favorite crystals (OK, I do have MANY favorite crystals:-) and I only recently found these wave-shaped button beads. I only had them from white agate until last year, but now I've  also found red jasper, aventurine, amazonite, rose quartz and even amethyst. The next project will be to turn them all into gem angels and fairies:-) Red jasper brings dynamic, energy and gives courage to persevere with important but unpleasant tasks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

There Is a Whole Face Between The Two Earrings!

A client purchased a white agate jewelry set and I had to make it anew for her. Despite my experience, making a pair or wire-wrapped earrings still gives me a combination of fear and thrill. Earrings require more concentration than a pendant, because they need to be as identical as possible. 

In order to achieve this, I make them simultaneously, count the number of the coils and measure the lengths of the wire ends. It always works out well, but the feeling is completely different.

I once attended a wire-wrapping workshop and the teacher, who was a college-trained jewellery designer with many years of work experience, told us what her own teacher used to say in his deep bass voice: "Young lady, don't forget that there is a  whole face between the two earrings!" It helps me relax and makes me laugh whenever I think about it.

Below is the white agate jewellery set, which was sold yesterday:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Promise This" Performed by Adele

Late at night, when my little daughter is sleeping, I sometimes explore new for me music on You Tube. We do not own a TV set (not that I would've had time to watch it anyway), and listening to the radio is frustrating as I don't like much of what they play. You Tube gives me the freedom to try out things and - if needed, press the stop button whenever I like.

Everybody seems to know who Adele is (even I did), but I had never heard her sing - until today. I loved her beautiful soulful voice even though her recurring theme about unhappy love doesn't seem to touch me personally anymore. However, when I was her age (23!!!), I used to be a permanent victim of love heartache...

One can only hope that she will manage to keep away from drugs and drink and, unlike tragic Amy Winehouse, give us the opportunity to enjoy her talent longer.

I listened to many of her songs today, and even though she is a singer-songwriter with beautiful songs of her own, I decided to post one of her covers. I guess it just spoke to me more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Amethyst and Its Healing Powers

I finally overcame some inner blockages and resumed the work on my website. The page that describes amethyst's healing powers in detail is already up, and I even listed 3 amethyst gem angels - a necklace and 2 pendants. Today I took new pictures, so more items will be added over the next couple of days. 

Resisting Picnic was hard and you see the result above - a poster with some keywords about amethyst's healing properties:-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Amethyst and Rock Crystal Angel Necklace

A client recently asked me to make a pendant necklace with stones that will assist her during upcoming exams. After discussing it, we found that clarity of thinking and concentration were two things she would benefit from.

Rock crystal is known for helping up see and think clearly, while amethyst is the best concentration stone. What is more, they are both from the quartz mineral group and generally go well together.

Amethyst and Rock Crystal Angel Necklace
We went for cut gems, as their power is stronger than the one of the polished ones, and also felt as a better choice for the person in question.

The necklace's pendant

However, I made sure to remind her that crystals only offer additional help and are not expected to resolve a problem solely by themselves.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rhodonite, the Forgiveness Stone, and Some Gem Angels

Rhodonite is pink with black lines and its pink colour comes in different shades. It is known to help with forgiveness issues - and who doesn't want to let go of old grudges? On a physical level it's the best stone for wound healing, as well as for strengthening muscles, heart and circulation.

Rhodonit hilft zu verzeihen und fördert gegenseitiges Verstehen. Körperlich is er der beste Wundheilstein. Außerdem, stärkt er Muskeln, Herz und Kreißlauf. 

Renee. Rhodonite Angel Pendant
Rhodonite and Hematite Angel Earrings

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller

The book's front cover
We found Holly Keller's book "Farfallina & Marcel" in the local library and it attracted us because of its beautiful front cover. The gosling and the caterpillar looked cozily snuggled together, leaving a warm feeling.

My 3-year-old daughter loves the story, which is about the friendship between these two very different beings. Written in a gentle way, it is full of sweet little details. For example, when the characters play hide and seek, Farfallina hides close to the ground, because she knows that Marcel cannot climb. When Marcel's turn comes, he hides just behind the nearest tree, because he knows that Farfallina moves slowly.

They happen to separate while growing, and it takes them a while to recognize each other after that. The scene of their reunion is emotional  and always brings tears in my eyes.

My daughter and I both love the watercolor illustrations with their bright, vibrant colors.

A beautiful story about friendship and growing up, told in a highly captivating way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Rainy Walk In The Woods

My husband and I enjoyed a beautiful walk in the woods yesterday. It was a public holiday and our daughter was staying with her godmother. We do not have any relatives here in Germany, so it was the first time we were together without her - usually when one of us is away, the other one stays home to take care of her.

It was nice to finally do something as a couple, and despite the heavy rain we opted for a long walk in the woods. We took a huge rainbow umbrella, and absolutely enjoyed ourselves. 

The rain sharpened the colours and made the view even more magical. It was like walking in fairytale - and yes, it felt as if the fairies were just a step away:-)

One does not need much to be happy...

Monday, June 13, 2011

E.coli - Hopefully It Is Really Over Now

Germany lived with E.coli for over a month, but since Friday officials believe to have found what caused the infection, which claimed the lives of at least 30 people: beansprouts. The alert against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce was lifted on the same day.

Reading the news felt great, but it might still take a while before everybody calm down. Even here in South Germany (far from the most affected area) people were worried and stopped eating fresh vegetables. Some even decided against fruit that you cannot peel - such as strawberries and raspberries, which  was a pity, because they had just come in season. The supermarkets were forced to drastically lower salad prices, and could not sell them regardless. 

The hectic around the issue made it worse. Reports were published before finalization of investigations, and as a result Spanish produce got the blame for more than a week. Later officials admitted that they had no clue what was causing the infection, and people got even more worried, as they clearly did not know what to eat. The media was additionally spreading scare with outrageous reports and fear-based headlines.

We can only hope that this time the real cause of E-coli was found and there will be no more infected people.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hats, Hats, Hats!

I met Claudia from Croos Handmade at a craft show and she had exactly what we needed - a beautiful sun hat for our daughter.

Die Claudia von Croos Handmade auf DaWanda habe ich beim Kunsthandwerkermarkt kennen gelernt, und sie hat genau das gehabt was wir gesucht haben - ein wunderschöner Sonnenhut für unsere Tochter!

You can even turn it inside out and voila - there is a second hat!

Das ist sogar ein "2 im 1" Hut, da es man umdrehen kann:

As a matter of fact, I preferred one of the other designs, but my daughter absolutely loved this one, and refused to look at anything else:-)

Mir hat's ein von die andere Designs besser gefallen, meine Tochter hat aber Ihren Wahl gemacht:-) Übrigens, der Markt ist in Herrsching am Ammersee und läuft bis morgen Abend (19 Uhr). Außer Sonnenhüte, hat die Claudia noch supersüße Kinderkleider und Taschen.

My daughter must have done some growing recently, because out of a sudden all her hats were too small. Two weeks ago another fellow DaWanda seller benefited from our hat-lessness: we bought the sweet crocheted red hat you see above from Brigitte, aka schmuckstube-textil. The weather changes quickly here, and there are both cooler and warmer days. Our little one has a hat for any weather now.

Unsere Tochter hat bestimmt gewachsen und alle ihre Mützen sind  plötzlich klein geworden. Vor zwei Wochen ist eine DaWanda Freundin auch von unsere Mützenlosigkeit begünstigt worden: die süße Häkelmütze in rot (siehe oben) haben wir bei Brigitte - schmuckstube-textil gekauft. Nun ist die kleine Maus für jede Wetter gedeckt:-)

Monday, June 6, 2011

And My Friend Chose...

I made two bracelets for a friend's birthday, which was yesterday. Her boyfriend meant that she would love a turquoise bracelet, while I felt that red-orange-yellow would look better on her. 

She had the choice between the two and even though I told her she could have both, if she feels she would wear them, she went for...

Red jasper, carnelian, yellow aragonite and orange calcite bracelet
Well, well, it seems that boyfriends are not always the ones who know best when it comes to jewelry:-) 

Of course, that doesn't apply to all men - I recently met again a male client, who had apparently bought exactly the right necklace-and-bracelet set for his girlfriend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Birthday Present With Choice Options

We are invited to a friend's birthday party this afternoon and her boyfriend suggested that I gave her a handmade bracelet. He thought that turquoise would look good on her while I was thinking red jasper, carnelian, orange calcite and yellow aragonite. I made both and she can choose herself!

The turquoise is reconstructed and combined with dyed howlite. Real turquoise is soft and tends to break easily, which makes it expensive and difficult to find. What is more, many suppliers try to sell you stabilized or reconstructed turquoise for the real thing, so I generally keep away from it.

Howlite is a white semi-precious stone with beautiful gray and black lines. Easy to dye, it is widely used as a cost-saving alternative to turquoise. It is the only dyed stone I work with and customers don't mind, especially as I clearly state what it is.

The second bracelet is made of real gems only: red jasper (the twisted beads), cut carnelian, orange calcite and small yellow aragonite beads.

It is my choice for our friend and certainly something I would wear myself!

Which one will she go for? We'll see this afternoon:-) In both ways she will receive it in this gift box:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunset in Heaven

Sometimes I have the feeling that I am living in a heaven on Earth. The nature here is beautiful and all we need to do is step outside - or look through the window - and enjoy.

Today's sunset was marvelous. This is how it looked when it first caught our attention:

Some 15-20 min later the scene adopted a more dramatic look:

Another 5 min and the sun was almost down. We were in awe with the magnificent contrasts painted by Mother Nature.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A 3-Year-Old's Custom Order :-)

Have you ever had a custom order, that was requested and supervised by  a 3-year-old? Well, my first one was today:-)

I only work with gemstones nowadays, but there are still some other beads at home. My daughter spotted the dyed Mother-of-Pearls love hearts today (where were my eyes when buying?) and asked me to make  a pink necklace with them. I suggested that we also use purple hearts and some glass beads. 

She sat next to me and actively participated in the entire process, and at some point even insisted on adding more colours - like yellow, blue and green. I didn't like the idea at first but we tried it anyway, and it gave the finished piece a nice sun-brushed flair. Here it is:

It turned out quite nice, didn't it? And, of course, my little fashionista had to pair it with her new handmade bag:

Apparently, some child in the kindergarten had a bag with printed candles on it, so she also wanted one. We made it this morning from 2 recycled A4 pieces of paper, on which she drew candles, and some leftover ribbon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Butterfly That Likes Posing for Photographs!

My daughter and I saw this gorgeous butterfly this morning.

We were observing it quietly for a while and just when I remembered that the camera was in my bag, a neighbour passed by, said "Hello" and scared the butterfly away. We thought that it was completely gone, but it landed only a few meters further. This time I managed to take a few pictures. 

Surprisingly, the butterfly let me stay very close to it, and at some point I was just about 70 cm away from it (the zoom of the camera is not that great).

Later when we left, it even flew with us for a while:-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Storms and Rainbows

It's been stormy here recently but at least we get rainbows every now and again!

The thunderstorm eventually quietened and allowed the sun to bring its treasured gift: the rainbow:-)

My daughter was really frightened but brightened up the moment she saw the rainbow.

And this is the rainbow she drew before going to bed:

The little person under her rainbow looks very green and happy:-)