UrbanJungleBloggers: Planty Wishes for 2016!

UrbanJungleBloggers: Planty Wishes for 2016!

… and here is the last challenge of the year for the UrbanJungleBloggers platform. They asked us to share our Planty Wishes for 2016: to be creative and to feel free to interpret this rather open topic. An illustration, a table setting, a vignette, greeting cards, a wishlist of plants – whatever inspires us to show our planty wishes and positive energy!

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Ha, and for me that was definitely a table setting. There wasn’t any doubt about it – as a wonderfully decorated table is for me a perfect symbol for this season of the year, representing warmth, welcome, friendship – eating and celebrating together!

And of course those are my wishes for the new year, too: that there may be peace and friendship, mutual respect, health and well-being for all those near and far! May we surprise each other with lots and lots of positiveness, support, and openness!

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I just spent a great couple of hours getting together all kinds of props to do this styling challenge and I hope some of that fun and joy spats right of the photos.

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I tried a bunch of different angles at natural light, but quickly realized that too much background made the photos quite busy.

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So I added some light from the overhead table lamp, and like magic the background darkened out. But as you will see, it makes for a whole different atmosphere:

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… and the last one of the bunch with the ragged edge I typically use:

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Thanks like always to Judith & Igor for having set up the UrbanJungleBloggers Platform in the first place. I wish you and everyone else who is participating in this great platform all the very best for totally enjoyable holidays and a peaceful and creative new year 2016!!!

 

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www.urbanjunglebloggers.com

 

… styling fun for UrbanJungleBloggers platform:

… styling fun for UrbanJungleBloggers platform:

It is time again for an UrbanJungleBlogger post, this month it’s a „plant shelfie“. Funny idea, this “s(h)elfie”! Seems that it was one of the most popular post types ever on the UrbanJungleBloggers platform, so it is being repeated this month. Here we are:

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I had quite some fun with it, I must say. There’s only one big shelf in the house and that’s the bookshelf in the living room which is filled with my own books (the hubby has a little library chamber of his own, he’s even more of a voracious reader than I am!).

Even though I like the professional decorators’ idea very much to put books of the same color together in order to make the overall look of the shelf more calm and pleasant to the eye –I must sadly admit that this concept doesn’t work for me at all. I wouldn’t be able to find my books back and I need to source books regularly, especially on yoga, decorating, and travelling – so my shelf remains  multicolored!

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But for this styling task I set out to clean a central compartment of the shelf and I repurposed my very recently acquired thin bone china tea-light holders with their fine graphic design to be used as plant pots. But just white on white wouldn’t work, so it took the copper accents and a tad of pink to make it all come together.

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… most important, though, was waiting for the right light. Only in the afternoon does the light from the patio reach far enough into my living room to reach the bookshelf. So patience eventually paid of to help me create this nice shot:

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So, thanks UrbanJungleBloggers platform and its creators Igor Josifovic (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith de Graaff (JOELIX.com) for yet another wonderful styling task, can’t wait to hear what we will do in December.

 

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… and while signing off, here’s a freebie from around the far corner, where the kitchen table is resplendent in fall colors:

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Nepali Art and plants & flowers – inspired by UrbanJungleBloggers

Nepali Art and plants & flowers – inspired by UrbanJungleBloggers

Wow, the beauty of modern art from Nepal enhanced by a greenery photo shoot! How did THIS come about?

Well, a couple of weekends ago I went to a 2-day bloggers conference in Amsterdam and was totally inspired by Igor and Judith from the UrbanJungleBloggers platform. In less than two years they have managed to attract more than 700 bloggers from all over the world to their platform which focuses on getting more greenery into the world – and not only for people who had green thumbs all along, but also for us beginners …

And a beginner I am. My husband has always been the green thumb in the family and for the longest time I have found plants in the interior a bit stuffy and old-fashioned. I tolerated our two oversized pots with I-have-no-idea-what-they-are-but-they-grow-like-crazy, as they make a nice division between our open kitchen and the living room, but taking care of them was totally my husband’s domain.

And now Igor and Judith inspired me to actually go out and get some plants on my own and I am ready to care for them. Please, you long-time botanists, don’t laugh at me, as my selection leans heavily to the easy-care of succulents, but, hey, everyone has to start somewhere! So here’s the arrangement on my livingroom table with a painting of Saroj Mahato on the wall in the background.

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Urb insta couch plants art

 

I actually waited around for afternoon light to take the photos, which needed quite a bit of patience. But it did make the other shots come out nicely, too, such as the view of the table with a great piece of art (not from Nepal!) by Ariane Boss from Berlin.

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Urb insta table light reflex

 

And the same holds true for the shot of the flowers and art above the sideboard (all from Nepal: yellow and gray/black painting by Binod Pradhan, blue Buddha face by Ratna Kaji Shakya, and the small sketch of mythical “Kalki” horses by veteran artist Shashi Shah).

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… and just for your enjoyment one last close-up:

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(And if you want to see more of my house WITHOUT GREENERY check out this earlier post!) UJB-sidebar-lime

http://www.urbanjunglebloggers.com/
The NepalNow Project #MTBAMS (Amsterdam Bloggers Conference)

The NepalNow Project #MTBAMS (Amsterdam Bloggers Conference)

Last weekend I had the pleasure to be part of the 2-day Bloggers Conference in the Amsterdam CASA400 hotel, organized by MeetTheBlogger. What a fabulous event, so well organized and totally interesting. Amongst the more than 150 bloggers (mostly women, mostly Dutch, but with a strong German contingent and a number of English speaking participants) I was probably the oldest!

But it was great fun to be among all these creative people, focussing mostly on interior, lifestyle, creativity, cooking, gardening, travel, and parenting (some cool “mommy blogs there) instead of MODERN ART & MODERN LIFE OF NEPAL. We mingled in the breaks enjoying great coffee and tasty and healthy snacks and very fine lunch menues.

MTB hello from

photos: mine

The opening presentation was by the lovely sisters of “A beautiful mess”, a mega successful blog from the U.S. which I have been following for quite a while. Their keynote focused on “dream, make, grow” and Elsie and Emma shared openly about the history and present status of their work. Such cool gals!

mtb collage day 1

photos: mine

In two “break-out sessions” participants could then learn everything about color forecasting, crafting with a messy box, making their own zines, fixing their mistakes on Pinterest, and getting tips on photography for bloggers (a very fine workshop by Ankie from Zilverblauw blog from which I got a lot of inspiration. A second round offered presskit insiders tips, ideas on making gift labels with relief print, business tools to help build the blog empire, SEO optimization, and tips to create graphic art work.

mtb collage

photos: Fatboy

 

The highlight of the afternoon was then the very personal and colorful talk of inimitable Yvonne Eijkenduin of Yvestown blog about finding her way into blogging and carrying on with her brand without losing herself!

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photo: Zilverblauw

Sunday started with an award ceremony, quite moving and lovely to see the joyful faces of the winners of the VTwonen MTB award and MTB audience award, followed by a presentation by Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaf from Urbanjunglebloggers about growing a community and letting it thrive. To watch these two blogger friends, Igor from Berlin and Judith from Paris, and see what they have created with their bloggers platform focusing on bringing green into the interior, to see their love of plants, their craftsmanship, and their passion in what they are doing was for me one of the most inspiring moments of the weekend.

MTBAMS Urban-Jungle-Bloggers

photo: Urbanjunglebloggers

Every month Judith and Igor and many other bloggers from around the globe share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs, and green tips & tricks. In not much more than a year’s time they have grown a communit of more than 700 bloggers from all over the world! I don’t have a very strong relationship with plants, it’s been my husband’s diligence so far taking care of the few houseplants we do have – but I am totally inspired now, so watch what will happen with Nepali art and greens!!! Don’t hold your breath, but I am already working out in my head how a NepalNow art & plants blog will look like …

Another “break-out session” treated me to a sea of knowledge on how to create viral social media content while others enjoyed making their own papercuts, creating Instagram proof flower arrangements, improved their mobile photography, and learned how to monetize their blogs and social channels.

A very slick and inspiring presentation of Lars Lyse Hansen of Bolia.com on design and creativity rounded the afternoon off …

… and even leaving wasn’t so painful as we got treated to wonderful goodiebags by the cool and generous sponsors Brabantia, Fatboy, Bolia, Sentione, VTwonen, Flexa, Zanox, and Funnythatflowerdothat! Thanks to everyone, especially, and with a deep bowing down in respect, to the team of MeetTheBlogger!!!

… long time no post!

… long time no post!

I haven’t posted in a very long time, and this is the reason why: today it’s exactly 11 weeks ago that I fell and broke my RIGHT arm!

I was in Hamburg for a girls’ weekend and just after a wonderful yoga session I caught my foot in a plastic loop that lay on the ground and I feel like a tree onto my right shoulder, breaking the bone right beneath the shoulder joint, ending up in hospital, being operated (plate and 8 screws) and pretty helpless for a few days.

But I did all I could for a quick recovery. Immediately started physiotherapy, added massage and osteopathy … and was able to go on vacation inspite of the lame arm! After almost 4 weeks driving all over the Balkan to the Southernmost point of the Greek mainland with my husband I went back to work rested if not totally back in shape. The typing I needed to do at work was more than enough and I decided to take another few weeks to get well enough for posting on the blog!

So here I am again, with very little pain and discomfort left in the arm, and I am gearing up for new posts and for a very special treat this weekend, meeting other bloggers at the AMSTERDAM BLOGGERS CONFERENCE! It’s two days of lectures and workshops with almost 100 of us. Most of the gals (I will keep count of the men, if there are any, for you) focus on interior, travel, and lifestyle – so I will be a bit of an oddity with my focus on “modern life & modern art of Nepal”. But there will surely be loads to learn and to (re)-motivate me for the blogging on this platform …

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Below you see me all happy the day before the fall, in the hospital ready for the operation, 
and the last one back home, without sling - but still black & blue!

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A recent styling project: Before & After

A recent styling project: Before & After

A small apartment previously lived in by my son during his university years needed to be turned into welcoming guest quarters for 2 to 4 people.

During major holidays we’re quite a big family so it comes in handy that there is a full 1-bedroom apartment in the downstairs of my mother’s house, with its own kitchen and bathroom. It can even sleep another two people as there is a sleeper-sofa in the living room.

 

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It took me a while to collect the right furniture, especially as I was doing this total re-style on a very small budget (totalling under Euro 2,000), so I mail-ordered the sofa, desk, and sideboard. The round table is from Ikea and the replica Eames chairs I had already scored earlier.

But by far the most the most fun was getting the colors right and collecting just the right light fixtures, pillows, and decorative items to give the place a somewhat whimsical retro and slightly Scandinavian touch, made possible during a summer vacation in Sweden and Norway last year.

 

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BEFORE

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 AFTER

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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AFTER

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… and the bath was fixed up nicely, as well as the kitchen through which you enter the apartment:

 

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Day-trip to Gouda

Day-trip to Gouda

A cold and sunny day about town in Gouda, the famous cheese-town. For the first time this year the open-air cheese market was going on again. Big rounds of cheeses were being traded right in the center of the historic town. What a sight to behold…

After walking around town and enjoying a snack of traditional cheese soup,  fried cheese roll and old cheese sandwich the day-trip was topped off by a visit to the “Kinderdijk” collection of historic windmills (19 of them, the largest collection of windmills in the world in one place!). Enjoy:

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Gouda 3

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A house filled with modern art from Nepal

A house filled with modern art from Nepal

There’s art everywhere, even in the hallways and the bathrooms … and with very few exceptions it is all modern art from Nepal. Enjoy:

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… aaaah, light and brightness and lovely art on the walls (the large painting on the yellow wall is not Nepali, it’s  the “Barcelona Lilies”  by Berlin artist Ariane Boss). Above the USM HALLER sideboard large mountainscape painting by Binod Pradhan, framed  line drawing  of a Buddha head on blue marbled paper by Ratna Kaji Shakya, and small sketch by senior artist Shashi Shah.
Red tryptich on top of the bookshelves by Manish Lal Shrestha and two colorful small works next to door by Binod Pradhan.

The kitchen wall next to the Tulip chairs and Tulip-inspired Ikea table is seen in two incarnations: with the framed work by California artist Stephen Scheffler (and a temporary lighting solution) and with the unframed mountain scene with gold/bronze effects by Binod Pradhan.

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… the large table doubles as dining table, seating 8 easily, and as work table for the home-office.

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… art in the entry hall by Bairaj Bachracharya, some unnamed works in the guest toilet and a less recent foto of the arrangement above the sideboard with a favourite mani stone painting by Bidhata KC. Note the raku mug bought at the ceramic artist’s studio in Cornwall next to the three-Buddhas lamp.

 

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… n the hallway between the bedroom and the “library” two small works by California artist Stephen Scheffler. Vintage Moroccan carpet with treasured candleholder object. Above the sofa large blue work by Saroj Mahato.

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… and below a last wide-angle view of the open livingroom-diningroom-kitchen space, in the home-office incarnation. Finishing up with some pictures of the patio and front of the attached bungalow and a drawing from the sales prospectus!

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… and the Rothko exhibit in The Hague!

… and the Rothko exhibit in The Hague!

Visited the Rothko exhibition today. It was quite impressive but massively overshadowed by the huge number of visitors. The show is so incredibly popular that on a Sunday afternoon there were long lines of people trying to get in. Luckily I had arranged tickets via internet so we could skip the queue – but inside it still was overwhelming peoplewise. Too crowded, too hot, too stuffy. I am still glad I saw the works in the original and was especially impressed by their enormous dimensions.

(All fotos are mine - text and film from the city of The Hague)

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The “Gemeente Museum” in The Hague

Rothko’s work & life

The oeuvre created by Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is both epic in scale and extraordinarily human and intimate in feeling. It has great appeal and attracts many passionate admirers. Painted layer upon layer, his colour fields are of unprecedented intensity and sensuality and communicate universal human emotions such as fear, ecstasy, grief and euphoria. Rothko was an intensely committed painter who invested his whole being in his art and, like many other great artists, led a difficult life. Deeply disillusioned by the two world wars and plagued by depression, he was a tormented soul, yet capable of producing great art with an enduring capacity to comfort and enthral. Exhibitions of his work still attract huge crowds and his paintings now fetch record sums at auction.


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Rothko was of Russian Jewish origin but grew up in America. Nothing in his background or family seems to have predestined him to become an artist. Indeed, he discovered his bent for painting only relatively late and more or less accidentally. He took some courses but always regarded himself as essentially self-taught. Rothko is famous for the ‘classic style’ he used from the 1950s onward. By painting large colour fields on outsize canvases, he aimed to use colour to evoke emotion: from jubilant yellow and pink to sombre blue and black. The vast square or rectangular monochromes seem to overflow their canvases and were intended by Rothko to overwhelm and engulf the viewer.

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An early work, very different still!


 

The exhibition in The Hague

The exhibition will include plenty of these ‘classic style’ paintings but also examples of the less well-known early work, in which Rothko moved towards abstraction via a kind of Fauve-like Realism and a highly personal form of Surrealism. The exhibition will draw on recent research on Rothko’s transitional period. As home to the world’s greatest collection of work by Mondrian – an artist renowned for his own path towards abstraction – the Gemeentemuseum is a particularly appropriate place to examine Rothko’s somewhat similar artistic journey. This exhibition will consider both the analogy and the differences in the evolution of the two artists’ work.
By the early 1950s, Mondrian was famous in New York, whereas Rothko was still a nobody. That is probably why one art critic called his work ‘blurry Mondrians’. While publicly resisting this view, Rothko otherwise showed great respect for the older artist, once even saying that Mondrian was the most sensual artist he knew.

Rotterdam and great architecture

Rotterdam and great architecture

 

I had a fabulous weekend in this amazing place, the only city in the Netherlands to be totally bombed at the end of WWWII, thus practically nothing quaint left – instead a very modern and multi-cultural place to visit.

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We just had to see two major sites: besides the modern watrfront area “Wilhelminapier” this was first the “Markthall”, an indoor market-place just recently opened (near the famous cube houses) with an absolutely amazing arched ceiling and apartments on the outside, creating a kind of shell around the market activities inside. On both sides the market hall is enclosed by huge window fronts which had to be specially engineered to withstand winds and temperature changes in summer and winter (and allowed for some nice mirror photos!).

Market Hall

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Downtown

On the way through town we also saw an ingenious underpass, making possible the continuation of a major shopping street UNDER a busy thoroughfare – nice shops and a very pleasant experience instead of having to wait to cross the busy street above:

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Wilhelminapier

The second major point of interest was the Wilhelmina pier. A totally new quarter on a pier that still welcome about 30 enourmous sea cruise ships per year, but also hosts the highest apartment tower of the Netherlands (43 stories!) as well as just one historic building, namely the “Hotel America”, last abode of thousands of emigrants taking off with the Holland-America Line for a better future in the U.S.!

(image by kcap.eu)

(image by kcap.eu)

 

View of “Hotel America” with the modern construction all around it:

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On the very left below the highest apartment building of the Netherlands , the New Orleans building.  It  is a 43-storey,  158.3 m (519 ft) tall residential tower, designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. It is currently the tallest residential building in the Netherlands:

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(all photos: Beata Wiggen - except when specified)

 

And if you want to watch a really cool advertising film:

 

 

Why this blog … “message from the editor”

Why this blog … “message from the editor”

Looking back two years

Funny how this really seems to be “my time”: internet and digital information finally reached a point where I can collect-curate-distribute news about the modern art of Nepal and my artist friends ON MY OWN.

Two years ago, the year I presented at “pillow talks” of MCube Art Center and when I was discussing the need for a blog like this over a pleasant lunch with my friend Manish Lal Shrestha, I wasn’t quite ready yet. I didn’t have enough technical competence in house, I didn’t have the right contacts yet. Now I have finally reached that point and can begin to build this blog!

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Giving a talk at Manish Lal’s art center in early 2013

Not an art historian but a connector/communicator

I am not an art historian (studied psychology and worked in print and tv media all my life and ran a small Nepal Art Gallery for 7 years), instead I am a connector/communicator and passionate about the modern art of Nepal.

I just love having access to information in a way that was not possible even a few years ago. And I enjoy filtering this information and offering to my – admittedly still very small – “target group” to make their lives easier when it comes to staying in the loop about what’s happening in the contemporary art world of Nepal …

… and when it comes to finding just the right artwork and just the right artist – to get the art lovers connected with the art creators. And all this in a simple, visually pleasing and functional way.

The magnitude of the project

It’s of course turning out to be a much bigger project than I thought: a huge task I have in front of me to collect all the information and images on all the artists who should be featured on this site. And to show the incredibly broad variety of artworks. And to collect the necessary background information and archive it.

But then it helps to be friends with many, many artists on Facebook. And the number of artists with own websites is fortunately increasing, as well as the coverage on art in the local news media. New art critics and art writers are emerging and they are producing continously better content.

This Nepal NOW project is turning out to be a task much like a thesis: incredible amounts of research, sorting/filing, archiving, and contacting people for yet more information. But it’s good work, a work with which I hope to serve the art community – artists and art lovers all over the world!

Your help is needed

And YOUR HELP, dear reader, is much needed, too:

a) artists please get in touch to be presented here

b) art lovers everywhere sign up for regular updates … and LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT THE PROJECT!

FB cover blog screenshot about

… such a modern house – built 85 years ago!

… such a modern house – built 85 years ago!

Yesterday I had the chance to join an architectural tour in Krefeld featuring two villas “Haus Lange” and “Haus Ester”! How fantastic was that. With a lot of background information we walked around the villas, built 1927 to 1929 for a rich textile merchant and his legal advisor. Both villas sit on 7,500 square meters of ground, featuring more than 1,000 square meters of living space. Take for example “Haus Lange”: a bedroom each for the parents with individuals bathroom, a bedroom each for the 3 children, all with their own bathrooms and access to the top-floor terrace. On the ground floor a huge hall (where up to 100 chairs for listeners of concerts or readings could be accomodated), a gentlemen’s lounge, a ladies lounge, a living, a spacious dining room, kitchen and prep-kitchen, and servants quarters.

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Krefeld binnen langI had long been aware of famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe having designed these villas in Krefeld, a city nearby my German home. Yes, that’s the Mies van der Rohe of “Barcelona chair” and “Barcelona pavillion” acclaim. I was incredibly impressed by his ingenuity (most impressed by the 4 huge picture windows facing the garden which could be totally lowered – they disappear with an ingenious motorized contraption into the cellar wall!) and his impeccable detail-orientation.

Krefeld plan

 

krefeld chair Krefeld mieskrefeld binnen old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 7: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 7: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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… happy with my dear friend JaniMa at an extended brunch and lots of good, deep, and fun talk at the cutest café in Cologne!
As this is the last day of this series of “geluksmomenten” or “moments of happiness” I challenge Carol Williams to  share her very own happy moments of the day in the week to come. Can’t wait to hear from you, Carol 🙂
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Day 6: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 6: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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… today just words, no pics (just the opposite from yesterday): happy about absolute quality time spent with my colleagues from the mindfulness teachers training. Wonderful to hear about all the precious work everyone has done with MBSR in the past year and nine months since graduation. Thankful for the friendships. What a gift!!!
Day 4: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 4: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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… my happy moment is NOW: the light is fading, I just got home in Almere after an extended meeting with two dear BFFs. Turned up the heating, lit some candles, put my new CD with dinner jazz (birthday gift to myself) on the stereo – and I intensely enjoy my home. Feel warmed by my surroundings and bathed by lovely music. So much to be thankful for, aaaaaaaaaaaaah!
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Day 3: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 3: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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 Happy in the early morning, taking the train into town (to meet the tow-truck for my car, see yesterday’s post) and seeing Duesseldorf waking up. Felt good to have a change in routine, even though for the wrong reason. When you are in your own town at an odd time you get to appreciate it all over again, almost as if you are on vacation:
But the “happy moments” just added up as the towing action went so incredibly well. Perfectly on time, perfectly cordial and competent people coming to get my car, smooth and quick action to make life easy for me and even get to work ahead of time instead of being late.
I am absolutely grateful to live in a country where things work!!! Like clockwork, with quick calls on the mobile to prepare everything in an optimum way, with appointed times being met perfectly, with friendly and easygoing professionals who do their very best to ease any nervousness on the customer’s part.
Now just hoping the repairs won’t cost too much …
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Day 2: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 2: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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… now, that was a bit of a difficult day:
Overshadowed by my car that wouldn’t start and sat like a lame duck in the underground parking garage smack in the center of Duesseldorf. Arranged for ADAC (the German automobile club with its emergency system) to come look at the car after work. It was not the battery, not the sparks … but they couldn’t get it to start either.
As it was too late to have the car towed to a repair place we arranged to have this done in the morning and then came my pretty much only happy moment of the day (aaaaw, poor me!): the ADAC guy took me home in his little truck!!!! He wanted to be extra-nice to a lady who had her birthday messed up by a broken-down car ….
Day 1: “Happy Moment” Challenge

Day 1: “Happy Moment” Challenge

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I was nominated by my friend Sabine Klencke to tell about a happy moment in my day for the next seven days, so here here goes my first try:Today’s happy moment was a very early one, namely right after my morning meditation when I jolted awake from a brief nodding off (ha, again!). It’s my birthday, and that made me intensely happy and – most of all – intensely grateful that I am still here to enjoy it. It is now 7 1/2 years after my breastcancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. And on the one hand these 7 years have flown by in little more than an instant, but on the other hand they have also allowed me great travels, interesting projects, wonderful meetings with old and new friends and much love and happiness.So today`s moment is both happy and filled with intense gratefulness.