Sunday, April 19, 2015

Let's go to the zoo! - part two of two

Ready for some more zoo visiting? I know I am!

Here are the rest of the photographs of my visit to the zoo in Emmen last weekend. Now we get to the more dangerous and bigger animals. And some butterflies too! Don't worry they weren't put in the same space. ;-)

This is my absolute favorite shot of that weekend!

The big cats are my favorite animals. Those and wolves, but they don't have those in Emmen. I hope to one day get some wolf shots in another zoo (close to where my sister lives). I am always a bit dubious about how I feel about zoo's in general, but for me they are the only way to get close up shots of animals that don't live here naturally and there's always a kid in me that's just fascinated by the different species that walk this earth.

But for the coming days I think I will stick close to home. I've had so much going on, with birthday visitors, a vacation, and several trips and stuff, that a coworker recently said "Isn't it about time you just stayed home for a while?". She was joking of course, but she was not wrong. So for the coming weeks I hope to have some quality time on my island and in my studio.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

And the winner is...

Time to announce the birthday giveaway winner! Thank you all so much for your sweet birthday wishes both on the blog and on Facebook. It was fantastic!

I made a list of the commenters who wanted to win this:

I numbered the list and used a random number generator to pick the winner.

Drum rolls please...

The winner is....tatataaa.... Kelley! Here's what she had to say:

Congratulations Kelley! Please contact me on c.m.j.winkelman[at] with you snail mail address so I can have the book sent to you. I hope you enjoy it.
(Please also beware that if I don't hear from you before April 26 I will choose another winner, but I'm sure you want this book in your mailbox, haha.)

And so ends another giveawa. Thank you all for entering and wishing you a wonderful and artsy day!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Let's go to the zoo! - part one of two

So it was my birthday last Saturday and I gave myself a photography trip to the zoo to celebrate it. I had wanted to go forever, but since a day-trip from my island usually takes three days if you want to make a real day of it, I kept postponing it. But no more. I booked a hotel and off I went.

Above is my hotel. It is a lovely cosy family hotel right in the centre of the town of Emmen just a few hundred meters from the zoo.  Since I've moved to the island I've had to stay in a lot of hotels and often they are staffed with pretty young ladies in skirt suits looking all correct and perfect. Here I was attended by middle aged people in jeans and I loved it. Everything was very clean and comfortable and the people were nice. And my favorite part: they bake their own bread for breakfast! It was still warm when served. So delicious!

But I didn't come for bread did I? I came for the zoo! Let me take you on a two post trip along with me. The Emmen Zoo or as it is officially called "Noorder Dierenpark Emmen" is quite beautiful and was very modern in it's policies when they started many years ago, meaning they didn't want animals in small cages, but in much larger habitats. Now they are slowly running out of space and things are starting to age here and there, so they are making a brand new zoo outside of town. But as long as that's not finished I still got to see the 'old' zoo, which is in the middle of the town.

The entrance of the zoo.

I had come to take many pictures and I did, but it was harder than I expected. Because a lot of the habitats for the animals are bigger there are spots installed where people can look, but they are often seperated from the animals with glass and glass is not ideal to photographs through. Of course this was not the case with every animal, but the more dangerous ones (lions, tigers and bears, oh my) of course cannot be let out in the open. The glass meant a lot of reflection and sometimes hazy pictures, because the glass was not perfectly clean. Quite annoying. With a little help from a photo editing program and positioning myself more strategically than I would like to I have however been able to take some nice shots. And of course the zoo has plenty of open spaces where animals can roam moderately free. There are also many indoor 'gardens' themed after different continents where the animals can almost be touched (although I'm not sure I'd like to touch a crocodile for instance).

Anyway, I took over 300 pictures and have narrowed them down to a couple of dozen for your viewing pleasure.

So...let's go to the zoo!

I'll post the rest of the pictures on Sunday. Tomorrow I will post the winner of my birthday giveaway. There's still time to enter today, so if you haven't yet, go over there and comment.

Have a wonderful and artsy weekend all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More mail art

A few weeks ago I posted a bunch of cards I made here and asked if there were people who would like one. Well, guess what? A lot of you did! In fact a lot more of you than I had cards for. But I put every responder on a list and promised to make cards for them. I also warned them it might take some time to get a card to everybody, but I do intend to keep my word.

Anyway, I recently finished another batch of cards and here they are:

These have all been sent out already, so they are not available, and I am working on a new batch that is also already taken. However I am enjoying this card making thing very much, so maybe in the future I will put out another call for takers. I'm on a roll! ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Birthday giveaway - The Flow Book for Paper Lovers!

Well, I sure hope you are all well rested after our photography trip to Texel, because it's time for another fun event: my birthday!

Today I turn 45. My, how the time flies. As I've already stated in the past I have no hangups about getting older. So far life just gets better with age and I hope to keep that up.

While you are reading this I am actually on a little trip I gave myself as a birthday present. For years now I have wanted to go to the zoo in Emmen (which is in the east of the Netherlands and a gorgeous zoo) to have a day of just photographing all the animals there. I never really went, because as you know I live on an island and a trip like that would take me three days. Well, now I have actually booked a hotel in Emmen and am staying there for a weekend trip. A photography trip to the zoo! I swear, I'm still a kid at heart, that's how excited I am about this, haha. But hey, I'm 45, I can do whatever I want!

Now, to the exciting part for you:

It has become a bit of a personal tradition for me to do a giveaway on my birthday and this year I picked a really fun one. For years I have been a big fan of the Dutch magazine Flow and for years I was a bit sorry I could not share it with my international followers. It's gorgeous after all. But what do you know: Flow is taking over the world! There are now French and German and international versions of this magazine. You can read all about it here.

As it grew bigger and bigger Flow has been publishing special editions and now even weekly notebooks. But my absolute favorite is The Flow Book for Paper Lovers! It's exactly what it says it is: a book for lovers of everything paper. It's one thick book filled to the brim with pretty papers, stickers, tags, labels, posters, wrapping paper, pages to colour in, paper projects, postcards. You name it, it's in there.

Last year's edition was so popular it totally sold out, but thankfully this year's edition is still available.
Here are some pics to show you what I'm talking about. This is the book that is in my personal possession.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg, people!

So here's my giveaway: for one lucky commenter I will go to the Flow site and order and have shipped a paper lovers book to their door! And yes, this is an international giveaway, so you all can play.

The rules are simple:
  • Comment on this post before April 18. I'd love to hear what you would do with a book full of paper goodies, but just wishing me a happy birthday is allowed too.
  • I will randomly draw a winner on April 18.
  • Check between April 18 and April 25 to see if you have won and if so contact me (I will give the contact info in the April 18 post, but if you look at my profile you will see it too).
  • If you do not contact me before or on April 25 I will pick another winner.
  • I will not search half the internet to find you, so if you know you will not (be able to) check back, just don't respond. (Yes, I have hangups about this.) 

That's all. No jumping through hoops necessary.

I hope I can make somebody really happy with this book. How happy? Oh, about as happy as a birthday girl in a zoo!

Have a good weekend all!

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