Journal of a Mouse

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Studio Friday: Playtime

Tine asked us to paint something using our non-dominant hand and using colors we usually don´t use. So this is what I came up with. I´m surprised, it wasn´t as hard to draw and color with my left hand as I thought it would be! I had a lot of fun with these!

Yummy Cake and Marshmallow Bunny!

Our home is filled with the smells of freshly baked bread and plum cake! We are about to eat the latter in a few minutes, when I´m finished writing this post! So, I guess you´ll understand that I´ll keep it short ;-))

I finished the marshmallow bunny today! Only the little dress needs some sewing in the back, as the shoulder straps are not yet tacked on!

Olivia has already made friends with Bunny!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bea and the Sock Factory

Did I say something about being uncreative? Well, knitting socks might not be the most creative thing to do, but at least it´s productive and I can do it in my study breaks without it distracting me too much...I love how these turn out! The zebra socks are finished, by the way!

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Promised Pictures of Our Boat Tour

I spend my days with my nose in my books, so I have nothing much to tell or show you, I´m afraid. Oral exams will be in the last two weeks of september. I don´t know the date of my exams yet... But as I have promised you some pictures of the boat tour we took a while ago, I thought I´d post them today, just to entertain you while I´m trying to fill my head with the facts and figures of German law...
Above you can see some beautiful old house in Heidelberg. Below, you see the old bridge of Heidelberg with the famous Heidelberg castle in the background.

An old bridge across the Neckar in Ladenburg.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Yippeee Yay!

I can´t believe it! Did this really happen to me? I ACTUALLY PASSED MY WRITTEN EXAMS! I didn´t really expect the results before tomorrrow or the day after tomorrow... and then my boyfriend came back from emptying the mailbox, and he told me to get the opener, there was a letter for me, and I got this sinking feeling, but I PASSED! - Just need to dance a little - okay I´m back... I can´t believe it. I didn´t even expect to feel THAT good, in a case like this. Now, I noticed how much of a stress it all has been these last weeks! I feel a lot lighter now! So many of my worries were taken off my chest!
I still have to take my oral exams some time in september. But, although it won´t be easy, they normally don´t let anyone fail if they got this far! So, there is still a lot of fear involved here, hee, hee, but I won´t let it get to me right now! No way! And no matter what might happen in september, no one can take this little victory away from me! I am so damn happy! Now, it will really be a free decision to do something else afterwards. No one can say, I had to do something different, because I failed at my exams! What a great feeling!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Illustration Friday: Reflection

We reflect each other´s warmth and beauty...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Projects that Help Me to Procrastinate ;-))

I think, you will only be seeing seashells in the next weeks, because LOVE drawing them with my paintbrush! I would love to show you the sketches for Holli´s Birdie Swap, too, but I´m afraid you will have to wait a little until Holli gets my swap!
I woke up this morning having a slight panic attack because the results of my written exams can be delivered every day now... After breakfast, I was so nervous, I could by no means study. So I took to writing my morning pages, which I haven´t done for quite a while now. They really calmed me down. Afterwards I felt quite euphoric, so now I wasn´t in study mood either. Oh my... Well, somehow I managed to read a few pages anyhow. But I doubt that my brain remembers what I read... Late in the afternoon, I found that the only thing that could calm me down again would be to go on painting my seashells, which I did, as you can see here. And it worked. I feel good! I don´t even have any guilty feelings! I hope, that I will be able to study again, when I have the results...
This is the other project that I use to procrastinate: The zebra socks! (Made of Regia Loop)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Studio Friday: Positive Space

It took me really long to realize which place it is in my room, that I like most. Actually, I like all of it! But these days, when I have to sit at my desk so often, I love to look at all my pens and paintbrushes and inks most of all, enjoying all of their colors! Distracts me from my academic duties though...

Saturday, August 20, 2005


This is pure magic, I tell you! I have been sooo afraid of doing this! I wanted to sketch my seashells in my travel journal while still on my vacation this june. But I always chickened out. I thought that I would not be able to do it to my own satisfaction... Then, a few weeks later, I tried it half-heartedly. You can see the result here:

I gave up after this disaster. But today, it grabbed me. I had to try again. Just taking photos of my seashells didn´t satisfy me one bit! And now look at this! I surprised myself! How can this be? My only explanation is, that first of all I didn´t really put a lot of effort into my first watercolor sketches, and second of all, I didn´t really give myself permission to take some time out for this. I still see a lot to be done better the next time I do this (if you click on the pictures you´ll see what I mean), but I´m really happy, the sketches turned out the way you can see here. I am so excited! Now, I´m afraid of finishing the sketches for fear of ruining them...

(Click on pictures to see a larger version)

Friday, August 19, 2005


I took out my travel journal today, because I haven´t finished writing my entries yet... And now I´m sooo homesick for my dear little island in the North Sea! I did that watercolor sketch of a wild Kamtschatka rose two days before we left this little place, sitting in the dunes in the midday sun, sharing the rose´s sweet smell with a bumble bee, the salty winds playing with my hair... It´s the only one I did while staying there. I actually forgot about it, when I posted my sketch of the old house a few days ago! How could I!
I put a postcard with a picture of the old island church in the lower right corner (there is a welcome letter from the lady who owned our vacation home on the back) and wrote the text of a song on this page that my grandfather had taught me to sing when on that first vacation there, when I was only four years old. It´s an old Frisian song saying something like "where the waves of the North Sea wash upon the beach, where the yellow flowers bloom in the green country, where the seagulls are crying in the roaring storm, that is where I am at home, there I am at home..." It´s as if he knew how much this would mean to me one day. I miss him so. No, I´m not going to cry...

Me and my older brother with my grandpa, june, 1978.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bea the Red-nosed Mouse

This is what happens when you go on boatride and don´t wear sunscreen... Not so pretty! My boyfriend´s sister and his mother came for a visit on monday evening and we took them on a tour up the River Neckar from Mannheim via Heidelberg to Neckarsteinach and back. This took us all day. Although the sun didn´t shine all the time, when it did it was quite intense. We had a great day and I took a lot of pictures. Some of them I will post tomorrow, as I don´t have a lot of time right now. We are actually on our way to visit some friends for a barbecue. Yum! So bye for now!

Monday, August 15, 2005

My Weekend

This is what I´ve been working on in my study breaks: Socks for my boyfriend! It might seem like I love to knit socks all the time, but it´s just because it´s so easy and relaxing. No muse needed for this! It doesn´t distract me as much from studying like drawing often does.

Saturday morning, I went to the park to sketch the old house you´ve seen in my last post. Late in the afternoon I went to the park again. This time my boyfriend came along. We went to the upper part of the park, which costs admission, and is a lot more attractive because it has been part of a landscaping exhibition in the seventies.
You can take a boat ride over the little lake and look at all kinds of exotic birds living on an island in the middle of the lake. If your not careful and you let your hands hang into the water it may happen that one of the huge carps tries to bite off your finger, hee, hee! And if you´re lucky, you can sometimes see these turtles swimming past your boat. This saturday, they decided to relax a little and take a sunbath on these stones near the lakeside.
They have a little zoo in this park and a small area, where various farm animals live. But best of all are all those storks who live in the park. They like this area especially well, as you can see here:
Now that I have overcome my outdoor-sketching-fears a little bit, I must come here to draw! I have wanted to do that for the last two years. Imagine!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

First Outdoor Sketch in a Long Time!

(Please click on picture for a larger version!)

I got inspired to go outside to the park and draw this old mansion that sits right on the edge of the park. I have looked at it so often, thinking I should draw it, but being too afraid of people who might look over my shoulder. This post by Paula Becker inspired me to not put it off any longer! Go take a look at her blog, if you didn´t do it already! It´s really great! Now, for my fears... noone looked over my shoulder! I sat down right in the middle of the lawn. Only one man walked past me and all he did was smile at me! I only worked at this one sketch. It took me about two hours. Two hours of pure bliss! So why didn´t I try it before? This stupid fear! I always waited, if I couldn´t find someone to come along sketching with me. But fact is, that none of my friends who live in my area draw or paint. So how long did I intend to wait? Crazy! So thanks Paula for inspiring me to go outside and draw! Now I´m sooo happy!!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

5 Idiosyncrasies of Mine

Andrea tagged every reader of her post to list 5 of their idiosyncrasies:

1. I bought a magazine for sewing childrens´clothing because of instructions for sewing your own diapers -although I don´t have children yet... Must have inherited this from my mom, who bought a bowl for a dog three years before we got one, who bought batteries before buying the radio...

2. Sometimes I´m so excited about an idea that pops into my mind, I do strange things... like once, I had this idea of needing to go to a nearby park and pick a few leaves of a gingko tree, because I wanted to press them. I darted off and when I stood in front of the tree I burst into laughter... there was not a single leaf on the tree, as it was the middle of january...

3. When I made my soul map collage, I was so happy when I finished it, that I put it up at the foot of my sweetie´s side of the bed (he was on a business trip at the time), so I could look at it immediately when I woke up and for as long as I needed to fall asleep.

4. I sometimes like to startle other people. My last victims were a few 13 year old boys. One of them ran, rammed a gate on purpose and play-acted like he had hurt his belly...and I said in an all serious tone: "That´s what I always do! E-ve-ry-day! Now that´s why my tummy always hurts! I really should stop doing that..." They looked at me in a real strange way and ran off...

5. The tip of my nose moves when I speak (like that of a bunny)! (Does this count as an idiosyncrasy?)

Small Sketch

I´m really nervous because of the results of my written exams. They will either be sent off next week or the week after. I have such an aversion to studying these days! And I feel guilty because all I want to do is paint! So I do neither one nor the other... Sometimes I wish that I didn´t pass my exams. Studying law feels so wrong! And I feel that I can´t wait even one day longer for living my dreams! Being true to myself is so important to me, that I actually sometimes wish for having failed at my exams... I know it sounds crazy. I wouldn´t have understood a few years back either... I just can´t wait anymore! I want to be able to live my life the way I want to - right now! I´m tired of pushing myself to do things I have no interest in anymore. I´m finished with this.
I started to paste some magazine cut-outs into my new visual goul journal today. I had collected articles and images of people who lead a creative life. An illustrator, some women who have a great store selling felted goodies, a woman who paints and sells old furniture and knickknacks... I only glued in the article about the illustrator. All the other ideas I had collected suddenly seemed wrong to put in my journal. If I´m really honest, I want to be an illustrator. I don´t care if it will take me ten years or twenty or thirty years before my drawings are good enough. Even if they stay the way they are now. I want to draw. I want to paint. Everything else I only want to do as a hobby. I hope I will find a part time job, so that I can make my own money, but will still be able to draw and paint a lot, take classes, ... Call me crazy, but that´s what I want to do. And it actually scares me to death! But I´m going to do it anyway! So now it´s out!

Studio Friday: Negative Space

This is my studyroom/studio, which you may have already seen on my flickr site. I actually love my room a lot! I painted it pink, because I have always wanted to have a room with pink walls and white furniture. I just wish I were allowed to paint the window frames white, too. Even though I love this room, there are still some corners I don´t like that much, because that´s where I store all the clutter that I don´t have room for. Take a look here:

This is where I store my sewing machine, drawing-blocks, some notebooks (because the shelves are already packed), a bag with wool in it, an old shirt that I wear when painting, and sometimes other pieces of clothing, too, as you can see...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A New Notebook!

Look what I found in one of my favorite stationary stores today! Something I have always wished for: A notebook where you can put your own cover on (from my alltime favorite Clairefontaine)! Isn´t that great? I´ve just decided that this will be the notebook I´ll be using for my visual goal journal. I´m so excited! I took some time today to cut out more pictures from magazines. Now, all I have to do is deciding on the categories... Then I´ll start using the glue!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Happy Seaside Memories

I cleaned up my studyroom/studio today and in a plastic box found these. I collected them at the beach of my favorite island in the North Sea. It´s a place where I spent the best vacation of my childhood! So many happy memories! I have always longed to visit that place again, but somehow I never made it. At the beginning of this year I have dreamed twice about this little island. Very intense dreams. And I had the strong feeling that the island was calling me. So I looked it up on the internet and when I saw the pictures, I knew I had to go! Even though I was very small when I had spent my vacation there, I had vivid memories of it. I even remembered my way around! So I convinced my sweetie of going there for a week. And that´s what we did at the end of may/beginning of june (the same time of year!). It has been no disappointment! I immediately felt at home! We spent our days in the dunes and at the beach. It was all very peaceful. No cars allowed on that island, hardly any bicycles - only horses and carriages! You have to pull your luggage in a small cart from the harbour to your vacation home! And everywhere wild roses! Their smell mixes with the salty air of the sea! I miss that place! This is me at a time when I was still called something like "Little Mouse", playing happily in the finest sand!
At the end of a very long day at the beach, my dear grandfather took this picture of me. I always feel loved when I look at this one.
And I was so blessed to spend my fourth birthday at my favorite place! Can you see the candy seashells I got? I remember, I also got a paper doll with lots of clothes and a room you could fold up. And a Holly Hobbie doll!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Look Ma! No Hands!

The marshmallow bunny is on his way, too! I´m tired now. Night, night!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Monkey Time

Olivia is enjoying a yummy picknick in our crooked yucca tree... She hasn´t got used to the cool temperatures this summer, so she got a scarf to match her pleated skirt.

Relaxing in the warm afternoon sun, shining into our kitchen.

Who can resist this smile!

I´m so happy I made this sock monkey!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rainy Day Blues...

It was nearing noon and Bea the Mouse was sitting alone in her kitchen, reading a book on German family law that was slipping through her brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind... I have adapted this from the first sentence of the new Harry Potter book ("It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind."), as it seems to fit my situation perfectly.
I´m really trying. But I only have images in my mind of pictures I want to draw, things I want to knit and sew... I feel really guilty because of that. Why can´t I just discipline myself! It´s only a few weeks. Then the struggle will all be over and I´m finally free to take up my graphic design course again, and be who I truly am. My creative part is - as I have mentioned before - really jealous. It gives me a really hard time as soon as I honestly work at preparing for my exams. Since I developped a burnout syndrome three years back, I suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). But it got a lot better these past month, as I did more and more of what I really wanted to do and not push myself too much into doing seemingly "reasonable" things, like studying etc. And now its back... So even my body is telling me what to do. It´s so smart! Smarter than I am.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Illustration Friday: Empty

Not so cute this time. And only a quick sketch of my idea for "empty", as I don´t have so much time these days, having to study...

Studio Friday: Sketchbook(s) / Notebook(s)

(please click on picture for a larger version)
These are my sketchbooks and notebooks. I use the large folder for keeping images cut from magazines, as inspiration for future paintings and craft projects. Underneath, you can see a spiral notebook which is a kind of travel journal, but I sometimes put cut-outs from magazines in it, too, as you can see here. Then there is my sketchbook, which I don´t use so often, because I find it´s rather intimidating to put something in it. I like it much better to doodle on loose sheets of paper. The blue painting is in my first altered book. A kind of "feelings-only- journal" for me, as I don´t really write anything in it. On the left are some cut-outs I intend on putting into a new visual goal diary. But I have not started on that one, except for collecting images from magazines and such. I got inspired to start this kind of journal by Tera.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Illustration Friday: Aging

Oh well, I didn´t quite make the deadline... but I´ll post my illo anyway! My thought was, that the process of aging starts at day one, and not suddenly, when we are seventy. I think many of us realize this growing up process first, when we make the transition from child to teenager, and for some of us this has not been an easy one...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Sweets for my sweet...

Since my sweetie is home for august and september in order to study for his tax advisor exam in october, I have less trouble disciplining myself to study for my own exam in september. But in my study breaks, I just couldn´t resist baking some super tasty strawberry muffins... It makes life sitting at this table (scroll down) a lot more bearable! It´s a little sunroom (a.k.a. as the "balcony", or the "veranda"...) in our kitchen, where we usually have our meals. As it is the only sunny place of our appartment in the afternoons, I love to sit there. I would love to place a little wicker couch where you see the plant in the background. Then I could lie down there, especially in the wintertime, a book in hand, enjoying the sun like a cat, eh, mouse!

Short Update

Well, nothing special happened today. Aside from trying to study, I also worked at Olivia the sock monkey´s sweater. But something with knitting the v-neck didn´t work out. It turned out too tight. Now I´m knitting a scarf for her (wonder why...). I´ll post a picture soon!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kitsch happens...

The colors are not quite right. But what´s really funny is the paper bag that was lying underneath. I didn´t recognize what it was saying before I viewed the photo on my computer...Hah!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Studio Friday: Playtime

(please click on picture for a larger version)

This is actually something I made a few month ago, when I took out all the magazines and catalogues, I collect in a huge basket next to my desk, and randomly cut out everything that in some way appealed to me. I wanted to find out, if there was some kind of pattern in what I like. When I started to put everything on a large piece of packing paper, I had this idea of cutting out those areas from a map, that showed all the places I had lived in (I had to leave out the place in the US, where I had lived as a teenager, because my old road atlas only contained maps of Europe). I then arranged those pieces from "North" to "South", so they made up a new map. This time, it became more like a soul map... I also included some pictures in my collage, that I had printed out from websites I admired. The result of this playtime amazed me. It is so "me". Looking at it makes me really, really happy. What´s funny: That blue sign in the upper righthand corner says:"Playing allowed!" Now talk about coincidence!


I can´t sleep. I have been turning from left to right, from right to left, and back again - a zillion times. I´m just so scared. This month I will find out if I screwed up on my written exams. I will get the results by the end of august. I screwed up last year. There was half a point missing on one of the eight tests we had to write... Now, this is my last chance at earning my degree. It´s not like I want to become a lawyer, so I don´t really need this degree. But I put so much time and effort into it all these years, I struggled so hard, despite nowing that it´s not what I want to do. I stuck with it. It´s more like I´m scared of having a hard time finding a job. Or maybe, no: I´m scared of feeling like a failure. I´m scared, I might believe I´m a failure...

I´mad at me, too. For not knowing what it is that I want to do. For not having enough confidence in my abilities. For not being able to be what I´m not: A career-oriented, confident, successful person. For some years I worked my butt off to become just that. I thought, it was all a matter of pure willpower and determination. Where there´s a will, there is a way. The one thing that came my way was a burnout syndrome. Three years later, it´s still a struggle for me. I´m amazed at that person I have been a few years ago. I have been so into this law thing. I can´t relate to that anymore and boy have I tried! A lot of times, I think that maybe it is too a matter of pure willpower, blah, blah. But it´s not. That is what I know, although I question it over and over again. It´s just so strange, that I changed so much.

In the process of recovering from my miserable state, I took up all those things that I had neglected for years on end. All those things that had made me happy when I was a child and that saved me in my lonelyness as a teenager. Drawing, painting, crafts.

And now this creative part of me is ruling my life. And it´s jealous. It´s acting really wild inside of me, whenever I dare to sit down to study... I become depressed, whenever I spend more than two hours over my books. I´m brimming with ideas - most of which I never express, because I think that I can´t allow myself to do something fun, when I actually have to study! So rather I numb my brain with watching some mindless tv instead, feeling even more like a failure afterwards. I have tried different routines. Studying in the morning, creative stuff in the afternoon, and vice versa. Breaking down my study time into tiny chunks and doing creative stuff inbetween. You name it.

And still I´m having a hard time accepting it. I often think that I just exaggerate. That it´s all in my imagination. That I don´t need to create. That it´s all crap. Because I´m not even good at it. How will I be able to make a living of painting or crafting? Me? I need more time. I have lost so much time all these years that I have been trying to be somebody else.

But then again - you can call me naive - I just know, that I will be able to make a living, even as the person that´s me. I know I can be a lot better, if only I keep on doing what I love doing. I know that I will be a lot better at drawing and painting, than I am now. I have seen how much progress there was in my drawings the last two years - and I didn´t even draw all that much! I know that I´m meant for a creative, arty life ( although I´m scared of saying this). There is a part of me, that knows what it is. "That knows it´s neither ice, nor mud, nor winter light - but wood, with a gift for burning." Thanks Andrea, for helping me remember this.

You´re wondering if I´m lonely:
OK then, yes I´m lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean
You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely
If I´m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn´s first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep.
If I´m lonely
it´s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red-light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it´s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning
Adrienne Rich