My 2018: six years of Blogging

It’s the last day of the year. All the world is partying the evening away. I reflect on 2018 – it’s my kind of party (check out 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Compared to the last couple of years 2018 has been good to me. I’ve stayed busy. And so my sixth year into blogging was a bit slow. But let’s have a look, shall we?

Blogging

I did write 37 blog posts. This is the year with the least posts so far and of course November (24 posts) has been the strongest again with the attempt to finish the NaBloPoMo. I took a break in April and May but otherwise I was pretty constant. My favorite post this year was the list of favorite architectural buildings. As always your favorite is the mood board one but we have a new second: the tutorial on the Sorbian Easter Eggs followed by this Christmas DIY. Thank you everyone for coming by and reading along and a special thank you for everyone who is still taking time to comment on a blog. I know this is so out-dated nowadays.

Social Media

As you can imagine I have been a bit more active on Instagram (319) – who hasn’t. I uploaded 181 photos there. Mainly of course I have participated in #the100daychallenge again. See all about that experience in my post about the #100daysofcraftaliicousdrops. In the end I also started using my photography account streetcrops (59) again. Of course Pinterest (395) has been getting lots of my time again. However I only use it to save stuff for myself. I hardly ever post any blog stuff there. Is anyone using it for blogging? Twitter (227) seems to be dying. I am happy with using Feedly (12) as my reader but it seems like bloglovin (64) is still were most people are following me.

To be honest I am a bit ambivalent about blogging lately. I feel like it is getting rather lonely in this space or in the blogosphere in general. However I also believe it is a phase and people will come back. But will there ever be the connection and engagement we had when starting out? I am not quite sure. But as I say every year: I never started to get famous, rich or something. It always was to document my projects so I guess it doesn’t really matter if I am the only one reading my posts. But still it’s a bit weird.

For now I will end this year with those thoughts. But tomorrow I will post my new years resolutions. So come by if you like those posts. Until then happy celebrating

Tobia

My Favorite Books 2018 – Part II

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I have talked about my most favorite books of 2018 already in an early post. Here is the second part with series I read.

One & Future Series by Meredith R. Stoddard

The book is about a college girl who is collecting songs from her thesis which are connecting her to her past. Of course it is much more than that when she starts to realise how close it is all to her real life, that her mom had a huge secret and how it starts to catch up with her. The first book is a bit slow and and I felt like the story started when the book ended but I was intrigued enough to keep on reading and book too was much more interesting. I like it when a book gives and insight to a culture I know nothing about. I am sure I’ll continue reading this series.

#1 The River Maiden ✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english
#2 Cauldron ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english
#3 Thrice to Thine  (not yet read) – eBook english

Getting There (All Roads Lead Home Series) by L.L. Ward

They say the way is the journey. Jesse is a lost soul and decides to travel home. On the way he meets many characters who give him perspective. Once home we learn a bit more about him. The story then changes and takes a turn more into a crime aspect. Overall I enjoyed reading this western- However I was not aware it was a series so the cliffhanger left me rather unsatisfied. But I will continue reading.

#1 Getting There ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english
#2 Forgetting There (not yet read) – eBook english || paperback english
#3 Regretting There (not yet read) – eBook english

The Wings Trilogy by Angelina J. Steffort

It starts at a cemetery so it must be good one. Teenage love story between girl and angel. I was intrigued on the different take on the supernatural (not vampire, werewolf or such). I was bit annoyed with “I need to protect” part but ok. I will continue reading as the following books are part of the Kindle Unlimited deal.

#1 White ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english
#2 Black (not yet read) – eBook english || paperback english
#3 Gray (not yet read) – eBook english || paperback english

Mind Dimension Series by Dima Zales

New series, new author and I read two books in a row. That is a good sign.
It is a Si-Fi book where the world is dived in Mind Readers and Mind Pushers (oh and humans) and of course they don’t like each other. And then a hero comes along who might end it. Well I don’t know yet as I still have to read the third book.

#1 Thought Readers ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch
#2 Thought Pushers ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch
#3 The Enlightened (not yet read) – eBook english, eBook deutsch ||  paperback deutsch
#4 The Elders (not yet read) – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch

If you are still with me and speak German here are two more books. My reading goal for 2018 was to read a few German books. Those two made it to the top.

Priesterin der Kelten (Eifel Saga) by Sabine Altenburg

#1 Priesterin der Kelten ✭✭✭✭ – eBook deutsch ||  paperback deutsch
#2 Heilerin der Kelten (not yet read) – eBook deutsch || paperback deutsch
#3 Die Königin der Kelten (not yet read) – eBook deutsch || paperback deutsch

Die Erzählerin von Arden by Carola Schierz

A wonderful fairy teile that is easy to read and entertaining. It’s perfect for a day in the spa or a cozy night by the fire. I personally would have liked to here a few stories Lilian has to tell. And I found the role allocation very “classic” and devote.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook deutsch

Ok, so much for my reading in 2018. Now on to 2019. Do you have a list you work on? Do you have topics to cross off? In 2015 my goal was to tackle a few classics that keep getting a reference. I am thinking about reading a few Noble Prize or Pulitzer Winners in 2019. Can you give me any reommendations?

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

Shortlist of my favorite Sacred Architecture

Every once in a while I mentioned that I love looking at architecture. Precisely at sacred architecture aka old churches – and not only since I read Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earths”.

I am in awe of what mankind was capable of so many years ago when building techniques were less evolved. So much dedication, so much craftsmanship in masonry, carpentry and arts in general. Imagine you are a humble human being in the Middle Ages wandering for days to reach the big city and being greeted by a gigantic structure like that. Of course you can argue it was intimidating and forbidding but I believe it would have been amazing.

I have seen quite a few churches on my travels. Just recently I have discovered that I unconsciously created a shortlist in my mind. So for all my fellow architectural admirers here is my list of favorite sacred buildings.

St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta)

City/Country: Prague, Czech Republic
Built in: 1344-1929 taking 585 years
Measurements: 124 nave, 60 m transept, 33 inner heights,  tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, High Gothic
Historical importance: The church is part of the castle complex and sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. The master builder who started the construction – Matthias from Arras was a geometer and influenced the footprint of the building – a triple-naved basilica – and laid groundwork for the structure. After his passing the 23-year old master builder Peter Parler took over who was a trained sculptor and woodcarver. And this you can see in the entire church. He saw architecture as sculpture. He invented the so called Parler-vaults – double groined vaults which enabled wider ceiling width and at the same time created a net-like ornamentation. State of the art tracery and no identical window throughout the church are another pioneering feature. The St. Veits Cathedral had a high influence in the Late Gothic Architecture in all over Europe.
Fun fact 1: Due to a legal dispute over ownership only 7 people have a key to the regalia of royalty that are stored here.
Fan fact 2: The church has 7 bells – the biggest being 13,500kg – which are still being rang manually by 4 people until today.
Why I love it: This is the church where it all started. I have first seen it when I was in my early teenage years and have come back two more times to see St. Veits Cathedral. The outside with its flying buttresses is just breathtaking. And the vaulted ceilings in the inside are in no way inferior. I also like that it is located on a hill and you can actually make out the gigantic and impressive architecture from afar which is not always possible with churches that are within cities.

Unfortunately all my photos are still analoge but there are many on the web.

St. Johns Church (Johanneksenkirkka)

City/Country: Helsinki, Finland
Built in: 1888-1891 taking 3 years
Measurements:  59m length,  inner heights, 74m tower heights
Architectural Style: cross-shaped cathedral, Gothic Revival
Historical importance: It is the largest stone church in Finland by seating capacity and has very good acoustics. Located on a hilltop were there used to be the midsummer festivals. The church is – compared to others on the list – not that old. The outside is red brick and sits on a massive granite footing. The interior used to be a greenish-grey color but was changed in later renovations to a light-cream color. It was build by Adolf Emil Melander who also designed the seats, pulpit, altarpiece and font. It all has a ornamental feel to it.
Why I love it: We actually stumbled into this one and I had no idea about it beforehand. I liked it from the outside, it was already dark and snowing and it just gave off an interesting vibe. A sermon just ended and people left so we were able to have a peek inside and I was just stunned. It was a serendipitous find. Only later I learnt of its importance.

Trip to Helsinki st. Johns church

St. Mary’s Church (St. Marien)

City/Country: Lübeck, Germany
Built in: 1250-1350 taking 100 years
Measurements:  103m length, 38,5m inner heights, approx. 125m tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, Brick Gothic native to the baltic region
Historical importance: It is the highest brick building with the tallest brick vault ceiling in the world and the first of it’s kind. St. Marien was pathbreaking for 70 further churches in the baltic region. While on the outside its red brick shines bright the inside of the building is very calm. All was painted white and detailed floral frescos have been painted throughout the church. The church was destroyed in 1942 during a bomb raid and many of it’s artefacts and paintings burnt down. The fallen down bells have been preserved and it is humbling how they lay shattered on the floor. Immediately the church received an improvised roof that prevented further damaging and the re-building started 1947. The reconstruction has made it possible to cater to modern needs such as floor heating and more minimalist interior design. However it also removed some art historically pieces and is still controversially discussed.
Fun Fact 1: There was a scandal regarding the reconstruction of the fresco in the 1950s as one of the restaurateurs Lothar Malskat “invented” missing pieces of the frescos. After self-indictment the paintings were washed off. Günter Grass refers to this incident in his book “The Rat”.
Why I love it: The brick building style of the baltic architecture is just so unique and different. And also so impressive. I mean it is just bricks and then the ceiling is almost 40 meters high. It has a modern feel to it when entering while still holding the impressive architecture maybe even caters to it. The whitewashed walls and simple window decoration focus on the structure instead.

Cathedral of Santa María la Manor (Catedral Primada de America)

City/Country: Santo Domingo de Guzman, Dominican Republic
Built in: 1514-1541 taking 27 years
Measurements:  53m length, 3x23m wide, 16m inner heights,
Architectural Style: triple-naved hall church, Gothic (& Baroque)
Historical importance: It is the oldest church in the “New World” and (since 1990) part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which expands around the old town of Santo Domingo. The three doored entrance is rather unique as two doors are gothic and one baroque. The cross vaulted ceiling and limestone walls are really impressive and give of a golden coloured look.
Fan Fact 1: It is said that the church was the resting place of Christopher Columbus (before moved to a site a few miles away) however there is a dispute going on with Spain who claim they have the remains.
Fun Fact 2: The 500 year old doors are opened by the same key every since.
Why I love it: When I first saw this church it really hit me were I was standing. The sky was bright blue and the limestone was contrasting against it. The building style was just so different from churches in “The Old World” and it felt somewhat surreal. As often the outside impressed me much more than the inside. However for a Catholic church it was not as overly decorated and pompous but still rather gloomy. However it was fascinating and I would visit again when being in Santo Domingo.

New Synagogue (Neue Synagoge)

City/Country: Berlin, Germany
Measurements:  29m wide (on curb view), 97 m length with 15 angle, 50m inner heights
Built in: 1859-1866 taking 6 years
Architectural Style: Moorish Revival
Historical importance: For this building renowned architect Eduard Knoblauch and Friedrich August Stüler were contracted. The oriental style with it’s gilded dome and terracotta front was unseen in Prussia. During the Pogroms Night 1938 arsonists set the synagogue on fire. Contrary to orders policeman Otto Bellgardt and superior Wilhelm Krützfeld intervened and called fire brigades argumenting it is a heritage-protected building and saved the building from burning down. Unfortunately the main synagogue was still destroyed in 1943 during British air raids. Remains have been savaged for building material and the dome had to be blown up due to safety reasons. Only in 1988 it was decided to rebuilt the facade and a few rooms behind. It now hosts a museum about Jewish life in Berlin.
“Fun Fact”: Due to the bright color of the cupola it was camouflaged during WWII to avoid falling victim to air raids.
Why I love it: For me this place feels like home and I walked by it daily. Being part of the Jewish volleyball team Makkabi allowed me access to the parts of the building which now inhabit a gym from which we could see the dome while practicing. This also had me attend service once here (and once in a Prague synagogue). Seeing the golden dome always makes me happy. It is were I went to pay me respects on November 9.

There are couple of sacred places I would have loved to see from the inside (or closer up) however I was not able to enter for not being part of the congregation or the religious faith. So if you ever made it to the following places please let me know how to get in: Dome of the Rocks, Jerusalem and Upensiki Cathedral, Helsinki. And of course there are many more I want to see.

Now please share your favorite building I need to see and put on my list.

Happy travels,

Tobia

Current TV Shows I Am Watching

Hello there,

It’s the time of year were snuggling up on the couch is favorite thing to do. If I don’t have a fire burning and read a book or surf the net I often have a show playing. So I figured I let you in on my current TV shows I am watching.

Nashville

A show about my guilty pleasure – country music. I have just finished season 4 and I love it mainly for the music. Which means a lot because music usually doesn’t play a big role in my life. The characters of the show are ok but sometimes i’s a bit too much drama and especially in season 4 I felt like all the political debates needed to be voiced. But I am having the soundtrack playing on my phone so I obviously like it enough.

How to get away with murder

I believe there was movie with Sandra Bullock about the story. Now it’s a tv show. I enjoyed season 1 and am currently in the middle of 2. However it sometimes feels a bit slow. I am not sure if I will watch all 5 seasons. However I do like a good crime show and I have recently watched all of them so this one it is.

Scorpion

I love this show. I like shows with case work and when I have the feeling I can actually lern something while watching even better. This show defiantly makes me feel “stupid”. Season 4 just became available.

Salvation

What happens when an astroid collides with earth and extinguishes all life? It’s a bit nerdy and interesting to consider if this would really happen. This is a show we watch together. We are done with season 1 and can’t wait for season 2 to be on Netflix.

Lucifer

We just started season 2 of this show a few nights ago. I probably like it a bit more than Mr. ♥. When winter comes around I am craving supernatural stuff with demons, vampires and such.

This is just a snap of what is currently on my list. So many more I am in the middle of. I keep track of it all with the TV time app. How do you do it? Only watch shows that are already completed? Or watch it as soon as they come out and then wait for the next season? I like collecting a few seasons and then just binge watching them. I am not a patient person and it drives my nuts when I have to wait.

Now leave a recommendation for a show I should put on my list.

Happy weekend,

Tobia

 

Disclaimer: This post contains links. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them. 

My Favorite Books 2018 – Part I

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I think one of my favorite past times has become reading. Just a few years ago I have not read at all. I just had no time. I was lazy to carry a book around all the time. And then I decided to give an eReader a chance. Well what can I say G*A*M*E*C*H*A*N*G*E*R. Here are my favorite books 2018

South of Main Street by Robert Gately

This book is heartwarming and gut twisting. While it was funny it had some deep thoughts however they were delivered lightly – at least I thought so. It about family dynamics, how to deal with mental health and how the person itself is living a happy life while seeing why everyone else is struggling. It shares lots of wisdom, gives hope and made me re-evaluate how I perceive and judge people. This is the only 5* book I read this year.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Column of Fire by Ken Follett

When I heard there was a third and final book in the Kingsbridge series I was all excited. “Pillars of the Earth” is one of my favorite books ever and while this one is not quiet there it is still a wonderful engaging story with all the elements of love, battle, history, intrigues and politics. Unfortunately the plot didn’t take much part in Kingsbridge itself but traveled all over the place. Still I would recommend reading if you like historic fiction.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Photographers Wife by Nick Alexander

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. I have to admit I had an ambivalent feeling about the characters. I didn’t really like them, sometimes felt sorry for them and every once in a while could relate. However I found the story very much intriguing. It might have been the topic itself that drew me to read the book but the many layers to the story line that slowly revealed more and more kept me at it. My take away: life doesn’t always seem what is from the outside.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback englishpaperback deutsch

craftaliciousme seeking creative life favorite books 2018

End of the Wild: Shipwrecked in the Pacific Northwest by Jason Taylor

I was on the look out for a story about travel/survial/wilderness and it was a great find. As the title suggests it is about a shipwreck but in the end it is so much more. It goes into history of the area itself and the native civilizations and there connection to nature. Myths and legends and how we take things for granted. It left me with wanting to know more about the Salish history.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Kismet by MagdaLee Gordon

This was a rather unexpected read and from the book cover and description I did not guess what was headed my way. Honestly I might have not picked it up if I knew. It is dark, it is tragic. But it is beautifully written and it was a page turner.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback deutsch

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

I very much enjoyed this book. I would characterize it as a modern fairy tale. A young spoiled girl is being quite arrogant towards a young mans courting and has to face consequences. I enjoyed it anti was easy to read and entertaining.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Mermaids Sisters by Carrie Anne Noble

I found it was a cute little fairy tale. Something different from what I usually read. The writing style took me a bit longer to get through but it fits perfectly.
I was surprised more than once on how the story evolved and I found it entertaining.
My suggestion: give it a try.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Mystery of the Downs by Arthur J. Rees

This was a classic (published 1918) but I was unaware when I picked it up. So it doesn’t compare to the fast past crime mysteries of today but I still thought it was quite interesting and had a lot of twists and turns. I thought early on I had it figured out but was surprised more then once. I really enjoyed it and would recommend reading if you can handle this older writing style.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Ok, I think that is it for today. I will be doing a second round of books as I still have a few I want to share. Those will be the series I started reading this year and also a few German books. Please share one of your favorite in the comment so I know what to read next.

Happy reading,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…