Sunday, August 31, 2014

So how is everyone? Soap, mountains and tattoos

It's been a while since my last post, I've been busy with all kinds of other stuff but now I've decided my blogging break is over.

I've been making a lot of soap in the meantime, like this one:

This is a creamy kind of soap made with caustic potash. Its history in Europe reaches even farther back than that of solid soap bars. I added some salt and oils to a part of it to make a body peeling and generous amounts of oils and butters for a super nurturing body wash. Some people even make their own toothpaste out of soft soap but I haven't tried that.

I also liked this one, a pure white unscented coconut soap (I also wanted to find out if the beautiful scent of coconut oil would linger in the soap which sadly it doesn't). It has almost 20 % superfat because coconut oil, once saponified, is really eager to clean and de-fat your skin. The superfat counterbalances that somewhat.
I love that mold, these faces  look so gentle and peaceful!

I gave a lot of soap away as gifts for friends and family but still have quite some extra so I've stopped making it for now and enjoy using it. I guess I'll have homemade soap for quite a few months to come! The upside: soap needs to cure for at least a month and mostly gets better with time.

In May I got my first tattoo and some more have followed - I've been thinking about getting one for quite a few years. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised I like this kind of ink too!

Here's a snapshot of my first one, a meadow silhouette wrapping around my forearm. It was taken on the humble summit of the Schoberstein in Austria, looking down on the Attersee (a pretty large lake actually). I liked the idea of a "mountain meadow" picture so  I took it while recovering from the ascent. ;)
I truly like watching how vegetation changes as you ascend a mountain. There were numerous flowers I'd never seen before and countless butterflies fluttering around us in the afternoon sun. I also like it when the path becomes more rocky and exposed and looking down gives you the chills - in a beautiful, rollercoaster ride sort of way. The sweaty and exhausting part probably can't be helped if you want to get up there, but I really don't enjoy sports per se. :D

Ahh, there truly has been too little sunshine and warmth this summer, but looking at this picture brings it all back. I even got sunburnt on a convertible ride to the South of the Czech Republic - some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. Stopped by in Krumlov, the Vltava was full of boats, manned by people in various stages of intoxication - it seems to be their idea of a beer garden. Sadly I don't have any pictures to show for it but I was having a great time.

This is the latest addition, it's sitting on the front of my upper arm. It was done in Vianden, Luxembourg by my friend and tattoo artist Sonja (Punktum Tattoo) who has done all my tattoos up to now. She's located in Cologne, Germany and likes to do dotwork and all kinds of geometric shapes and patterns. If you like this style you should check her out, she's an amazing artist and a very kind and special person.

I've actually been to 4 different countries in August, though I have to admit the distances haven't been very spectacular. :D
Now I'm back home, summer is almost over, a perfect time to do some more writing and drawing, generally playing with my pens and inks - and waking this blog from its summer hibernation!

What have you been doing during the summer and what are you looking forward to in autumn and winter? Before we know it it will be Christmas again! (Ugh. Need presents!)