Saturday, December 1

In Vegas.

Boy, I used to hate it here. Turns out the culture shock of coming to Las Vegas from Germany was a little much. Tucson to Vegas, muuuuccchhh better. Plus I have part of my family here to keep me occupied. I came this time to help with a birthday party and stayed to help with life. Johnny and I leave tomorrow and I am actually going to be sad to go. Good thing we know we will be back soon!

Katie's daughter, Genny, had an Across the Universe party. So cute! Stars and strawberries on the ceiling, yummy treats and cute games. Lots and lots of sugar and sparkles, haha! 

Johnny went to Genny's school for a few days, and the rest of the time he has spent in the sandbox out back.

It's amazing how many places feel like home to me now. J and I can settle in pretty easily almost anywhere at this point!! Little things and awesome people from lives past show up and are very comforting indeed. It's been quite the soul-fufilling stay, for sure.

We are about to put that idea to the test as we drive off into a desert sunrise on a week-long road trip to Florida for Christmas- just me and J! I'm really looking forward to stopping and visiting with some great friends and family along the way, and of course the family at the end of the road!!

Sunday, November 25

5x7 Folded Card

Picture In Portrait Christmas Card
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Wednesday, November 7

life lessons.

I feel like it's time for one of those deep posts about life that I used to write so often.
I guess when life gets busy you just don't have much time to reflect and think, but then as things settle down it all coms flooding back. Especially after such a huge change as moving halfway around the world.
Today as I was driving around town I was thinking about how we are trying to make new friends here. This got me thinking about the friends we do have, and how we managed to get them into our lives. This of course led to an evaluation of my life morals and where they came from (okay, maybe I over-think things).
I have a very certain philosophy on life that cannot be summed up in a few short sentences, but I would like to at least try to share.
Strangely, the three people who have influenced me the most in my life don't know and probably never will know how they have impacted me.
One has passed, one I barely know, and one I haven't spoken to in many years.
But this is what I have learned in my encounters with them:

~Always trust love, and love whoever you can, whenever you can, without attachment. Love can be fleeting or long-lasting, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is sharing with someone that you care for them and felling cared for in return (possibly not by the same person, remember), however briefly that may be. It doesn't have to be physical, it doesn't have to be returned (although, of course, that's always nice) it doesn't even have to be spoken (but I encourage it to be!). It just has to be. Every time you let love in, your sprit/soul/heart/whatever expands and grows and becomes open for even more good and more love. Let it lead it's natural path and let it go if you have to in the end. I promise you it's still better than never finding it to begin with, and you never know when the moment will pass.

~Be accepting and compassionate. You don't have to agree with people, you don't have to always be nice and not voice your opinion, but you should always give a person a chance to be their authentic selves around you. You will learn SO much and build strong relationships, some that will be bonded and never broken because at some point, you two felt truly at peace with each other together, despite your differences. You will also see how this rubs off on others, becoming a sort of mantra for the people you know. You will attract people who feel the same and you will never, ever want for true support and guidance. Some people you are dealing with may not return the favor, but again, this doesn't matter. You may literally save lives because at some point, you may become that one person someone can turn to when all else has failed.

~Always trust yourself and have faith in your intuition. If you feel like you should be someone or somewhere in your life, 1.) realize you are already that person and, 2.) get there any way you can. If you have a bad feeling about something, then abandon it as soon as you can. Don't trust anyone else to get you where you want to go. Do it for yourself and make it happen. Listen to your heart as actively as possible, meaning, never let it fade to the background. Our intuition needs practice to become strong, but when it is strong it is a guiding light that you couldn't have imagined. I'm sure some may call this God, or the Universe, or whatever a belief may be, but I think that outside of those influences we have something deep inside that can help us navigate our days and lives. Trust it, like you would trust a loved one with your life. Listen to it, learn to tap into it. YOU are your best guide in this world. *This has always served me especially well, but has become more and more important to me this past year.*

I hope that you can glean something from this. The only other thing I want to share is that you can't wait for the world to bring luck to your door. You can't pray for it, you can't wish for it, and you sure as hell can't just expect it. You have to DO it, MAKE it for yourself. Take chances, scary ones. Live outside your comfort zone. Take life obstacles with a grain of salt. Keep moving, keep doing, keep becoming and you will find out how fortunate you truly are.

I love you guys!


I also wanted to share my next step in city living: My bike is here! Yayyyy Edie!!

Sadly, she is not working, I messed up the back wheel drum somehow. BUT there is an amazing bike co-op here that will teach me how to work on her right and I will get her up and running in no time! I'm looking forward to hanging out down there and learning a thing or two :)

Saturday, November 3

I do love a deal.

I am not doing this for free services or rewards or anything like that, but I'm really excited about our new business cards so I am sharing about them here.

So, several weeks back I bought a Vistaprint Groupon, thinking that it may come in handy for Christmas or something.
Now there are plans in motion for the Art Barn Project, so I decided to use it on my and Katie's new business cards :D
Including the coupon and shipping, I got $108 worth of cards- for $29!!
AND they are 100% recycled! Yay! Vistaprint did not offer that option the first time I ordered cards several years ago, so I am glad they are moving into the future with that. :)

So here is their little linky to a preview of the front of my cards:

Hooray for moving forward!

P.s. Speaking of deals, I got the coolest pair of white and pink striped trouser pants today for $2.50. Heck. Yes.

Friday, November 2


We are officially open for business!
Introducing Do-Over:

This is the bebe booth, I cannot wait to see how it evolves! It will be filled with art and love, I will continue to post about it as it goes :) So neat to have a permanent spot for Katie and I to peddle our wares!

And, I am also officially teaching sewing classes! I really think that teaching others to do something for themselves will be very rewarding, as it has been in the past. I actually am not sure why I have not been doing that all along, seeing as how I love it so much.

So, have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 23

falling in love with the desert.

Zak took J and I on a drive today, it was just breathtaking. We were just outside of Tucson, right at sunset... Pretty amazing.

Monday, October 22

In the shop this week.

I've recreated my Etsy! New name, new banner, all new in preparation for my business adventure with Katie :)
So I figured each week I will make a post showing you what's new, either in the online shop, the (as of yet) theoretical traveling market bus, or the soon-to-be booth right here in Tucson.
These are things I just listed in the Esty, now named after this here blog, Kunst der Kuh.

So exciting! There are even collaborations in the works with other friends, how can that NOT be exciting?! :D

Here's to art every day and reaching for the stars. And friends, always to friends!! xo!

Friday, October 19


My camera is broken, so I've been using my blackberry to take photos recently. Really lame, but I feel it's a lesson in letting go and letting my memories be just that- pictures in my mind; especially on a day like today, when my baby boy turned three!
We didn't wrap his big present and had him cover his eyes instead, which was really cute. So hard not to snap away and take a million photos, but I felt more present than usual not ducked behind my camera checking to make sure I had a good shot. Interesting realization in the end.

What a sweetheart. He's amazing, really. He went through this move barely noticing all the changes, just going with the flow and enjoying moments with new people every few days/weeks. A few months ago he was weary of new people and tonight Chris brought a coworker home and J wanted him to go play trains in his room before they even knew each others' names. He is no longer worried about where I am at the playground, he washes his own hands and gets his own water. He was mad at me the other day when I almost forgot to strap him into his car seat, and he lets me know when he's ready for a nap. I never have to wonder why he's upset or crying, he tells me just what he needs or wants, all I have to do is listen. He will spend all day making me think my work here is done and then he will climb up in my lap and ask me to sing baby beluga while rocking him, reminding me that I am far from done and he will be my baby boy for awhile longer, thankfully.

So Johnathan, if you ever look back on this, I think you are the best three-year-old a mother could ask for. You have taught me more about patience and kindness and empathy than I ever thought a small person could. You've taught me to listen and to take things at face value and ask for what I need. And to nap when I'm feeling tired or sad. You are a champion napper, my boy.

I look forward to this next year while looking back fondly on the previous years (years! so hard to believe already!). What a cool kid we have! 

(Here are some photos from before the camera broke, of J doing his favorite thing: lining up his cars and then rolling over them like a steam roller... and then of course lining them back up and taking photos of them like mum!)

Thursday, October 18

what i needed.



lush bath bomb (lavender and tonka absolute)


yes. please. 

my homework assignment for my art/living class was to take a bath. to fill it full of herbs and soak and soak and let it all go. i didn't have herbs handy and didn't get to the store, but i had an old bath bomb laying around that is all my favorite scents mixed together. that plus some baby bubble bath was all it took to sweep me off my feet. the movie was an indulgent addition played on my laptop, one that had been sitting in my que for a very long time just waiting for the right moment. cute, sad, blissful edie.

not sure where to go from here. bed? i feel fabulous! i don't remember a bath this comforting in at least 15 years. man. a blog-worthy bath, if you can believe it ;)

what do you do to take care of yourself? 

Wednesday, October 17

bumpy roads.

Dear loved ones:

It seems that everyone around me is in some insane state of flux. Families are moving, changing, growing and dissipating. Jobs are doing the same. Almost as if our sleepy universe stood up and said, "Wait a minute. What's going on here? It's time for change!" and shook us off it's back with the flick of a shoulder.

In any case, things are changing, and it doesn't seem all bad. It's not so bad especially because we are clearly not alone in this adventure.

I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend with two of the most inspirational women in my life (besides my mother!). We joined our families together for breakfast and lots of talk about what is to come. (How funny that it says 'meuse' behind Emily, as Katie and Em are certainly meuses of mine).

The horizon is far for some, closer for others, but we are somehow on this path together, even if distance divides us. Leaving all the beautiful people behind in Germany was difficult, and knowing that some of them are having a hard time as well makes it a bit harder. So this is a love letter to you, my friends, and to my family, to let you know that I love you. I miss you. And I truly look forward to the future and the path it takes me on, no matter how hard. I know you are there, all I have to do is reach out and ask for an email, or a phone call, or a visit- and there you are.

You can expect the same of me, any time, anywhere. I am here for you.  I believe that, once the road smoothes, we will find our selves stronger, closer, and in better places than before.

xo, Kari


There is a bit of a new look to the blog. There will be more changes slowly as I undertake a new endeavor with Katie, who is now only a day's drive away! 

Friday, October 12

new surroundings

 Oooh, I'm so behind! 
I have Sooooooo much to say (okay, not really, just that: I flew to Arizona, I miss my family, Johnny keeps asking to go 'home', Tucson is hot but today it rained, I'm happy to be unpacking, aaaaaaand I need to make friends).
Other than that, I am painting and unpacking and sorting and exploring. 
Here's a peak into our new house:

That's all for now. There will be more :)

Saturday, September 29

Red Hill and some more art stuff.

(View of Lake Winnipesaukee, from the top of Red Hill.)

When I was a kid, we hiked Red Hill every chance we got. I think I hiked it with my mom when I was about Johnny's age. It's a 2,000 'footer', so it's a short, fun hike. Thursday I took J, with some bagels and bunny crackers as incentive, all the way up and back. It was such a beautiful day, and he did so well! I think it must just be in his veins :) 
I was taking photos for an art project I was working on and getting all emotional by the time we got back to the trailhead. I always imagined hiking this little mountain with my kids, and here we were, running and laughing and jumping in the fall breeze all the way down the trail. It was a moment like none I've had before: watching one of my dreams unfold right in front of me and feeling every second of it.  

The project I was working on is taken from a book I'm immersed in, Inner Excavation. I found it through looking at the website of one of the lovely women/teachers I met at Squam, and I was delighted to see her involved with the book! 
I was to take some photos throughout my day, write a poem (which I've never really done), and combine these as inspiration for a self portrait type mixed-media painting.
Here are my favorite photos: 

And the poem, untitled as of yet:

I stand, waiting in anticipation for
things to come.
The beauty slowly unveiling 
before my eyes.
Every second is
and desire.

I stand, wanting the world to
embrace me.
Nothing can deter me from becoming
a part of this moment.
From becoming
and contagious. 


And here is the painting to finish it all off:

I can't wait to delve into the book some more. And I can't believe I wrote a poem, haha..

Wednesday, September 26


here's my second drawing for illustration friday. i'm sure i broke some rules by using an internet photo for inspiration, but it was a cool one... and really, i just wanted an excuse to draw freddie mercury! 

i'm experimenting with scanning and/or taking photographs of artwork. this is a photo that i then altered in iphoto slightly (just the color a bit, it was very yellow in my dark bedroom. this pink is closer to the original purple and white.) go freddie!! 

Tuesday, September 25


(i had a pretty picture of a chrysalis to add to this, but i can't get it to load, boo!)

i'm in such a state of confusion. and clarity. everything all at once.

many years ago i made the choice to become a tattoo artist. i loved every second of it. i left behind painting, and sewing, the handwork that my grandmother had just taught me; forgot everything that wasn't geared towards sharp lines and bold colors, perfect points and plastic-covered equipment.

something lately has been creating a larger and larger space between me and my tattooing. i have left it before, not sure where it was taking me, trying out my other skills such as sewing and baby making :) i have always gone back, but never with the thought that i would do this forever. the more years that pass the more it becomes a 'just for now' job. i don't think that's a good attitude for a tattoo artist. many things are transitional but tattooing takes dedication. lots of it. enough that, the only way i can see it being worth it is if i do plan on making it a life-long endeavor. i don't think it should be picked up and dropped off like an unfinished quilt that has been in the closet too long, only brought out on cold winter evenings to be worked on by a fire.
i make too many excuses.
i waiver too much.
ultimately, i don't feel like this is my path.

on the other hand, i do want to experiment. i want to learn hand-poking tattoos and spend time exploring the designs and possibilities behind that. i have friends who have unfinished work and i won't let them down.

so i don't know. i wish it were easier. i do know that the most valuable thing i've learned in the past few weeks is that just because we are drawn to something doesn't mean it's best for us. so what's best?

these are the things i want to change:
i want to swap out little fluorescent-lit rooms for big, bright, open windows. 
i want to take off the gloves and get as much color on me as possible.
i want freedom from others' expectations. 
i want my canvas to be unlimited in size, and my materials unlimited in variation.
i want to work and rework; i want the process to show.
i want to color outside of the lines.
i want to be rid of competition and drama. i refuse to invite it in. i want to only work together with my contemporaries, not against.

and, just as a reminder to myself, these are the things i want in the future:
i want my own shop, one shared with friends- crafting and sewing and painting and doing whatever else we can think of.
i want time with my husband and boy, and with my future children. lots of time. 
i want to learn and teach the arts of my family, the hand crafting that has been so important to them over the years.

tattooing was what i  needed, most of all, at the time it found me. it taught me about people, it gave me opportunities i hadn't dreamt of, it gave me confidence as an artist, it gave me friends.

but i think it's time to say, finally, that i need something different. it's time i give myself permission to explore that wholeheartedly.

as my perception of myself has shifted the past two weeks, so have my goals. i am becoming who i always wished to be. i didn't realize that i have always been that person. now it's just a matter of becoming comfortable in that skin and moving forward with ideas that i didn't think were possible.

it's easy to be who you want to be. you just have to be. the person in my mind who spends lots of time with her family outdoors, spends days in a bright studio or shop with her children doing homework or projects on a table nearby, stops at the market to pick up veggies to make a good dinner and tucks her kids in at night- that person has to start somewhere. she is starting as me, right now, in this moment.

i refuse to delay any longer.

Friday, September 21


At the Squam art workshops last week I was able to get into nature and do some art I've not been familiar with until now. 
My second class was Earth Art with a sweet illustrator named Penny as our teacher. She had us meditate to come up with a word that means something to us and then we were to strike out to create a symbol of that word within the constraints of nature. Amazing. We all cried just a little by the time the class came to a close, our explanations reverberating through each classmate. 
Mine was Regenerate. Strange word, I thought at first. I based my 'design' on the ripples of a water droplet that I had been so intent on during class the previous day.
Regeneration. The tiny drop creates change and life beyond it's scope, bringing life back to itself in turn. It's hard to explain in my own words what I was feeling or meaning. The art said it best, really.

Just now I was reading 'A field guide to NOW' by Christina Rosalie, and something she wrote encompassed exactly how I felt about my Earth art project:

"...There is something fragile and breathtaking in me, like a field of irises; something unstoppable like the innate instinct that sends salmon upstream through rapids and turbines, following the scent of sweet water. Something tremulous, like the song of the thrush, that tells me this life is meant to be lived ardently, not merely spent. Life is abundant and impermanent. It burst forth, ripens, and then becomes just as quickly another thing. Leaf to soil. Breath to song. Bone to spirit. Natures claims us, holds us, remakes us again and again."


How nice that she was at Squam as well (I think we were both meditating and relaxing in solitude at the lake for hours one afternoon, just a few rocks over from one another?). It's simply magical there.

Thursday, September 20

Tuesday, August 7

When it rains it pours.

I have so many photos on my camera at the moment, but not really any way to upload them yet. I'd really like to share them, but soon!

We've been in temporary housing for about a week, two more days to go, and then we're on our way to Frankfurt...

The movers came two weeks ago to pack up our household and ship it to the US. While they were here I came down with food poisoning and Chris failed his PT test, resulting in loss of his line number for Tech Sergeant.
He then had a lot of difficulty trying to sell our truck due to the title being shipped with our household, but that didn't matter later because it died on the way to drop it off to the buyer. It's now in the scrap yard.
We then got news that it's unlikely that the house we've been trying to buy for the past two months will be sell-able to us any time soon, due to repairs that need to be made before we can acquire the loan. The house is bank-owned and being sold as-is, so repairs are not really in the deal.
We've had two rides to the airport cancel and have paid hundreds of dollars to ship packages to Arizona and New Hampshire, since our household was over the weight limit (usually the military will pay for some boxes to be mailed when moving, but not if you are overweight).

Chris had to pay divert our car mid-shipment to get it to L.A. instead of San Diego (even tho the latter is closer to Tucson, he has to fly into the same place the car is being shipped and they won't fly the him and the dogs together to San Diego, only to L.A... Yea, I don't know either. Sadly no one mentioned this to him to begin with, before he had to pay to change it.)
Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, we will get the dogs to the States successfully and without it costing us 1.000,00 euros. That all depends on the weather and the heat.

Also, I hope they don't change my and Johnny's flight information again, we already have connection tickets to western NY, but they keep screwing with our Frankfurt to JFK flights and I seriously hope there isn't an overlap!!

And hopefully Chris, Zak and Brenda can find a good place to live (quickly) in Tucson. Johnny and I will be out of their hair in New Hampshire for almost two months, so that may be helpful, although I'd love to be there to help with the dogs and the house hunting.

We are all so tired and worn out. I didn't even mention all that has gone wrong in the past two weeks, really just scratched the surface. It's so beyond time to get to Arizona and get settled.

Phew. Three more days.

Wednesday, July 18


I am flipping out a little. We're spending all this week getting the house ready for the packers. I am starting to feel really good about that part, although I still think we have too much stuff, but nothing a yardsale can't solve on the other side. 

The thing is, last night we went to eat at our favorite restaurant in Bernkastle. I told the owner that we would be leaving for the US in three weeks and he asked for how long? I said, "Forever." 

He looked like he was about to cry. He grabbed me and gave me a huge hug and said, "No! You all can't leave me here alone!"

Man, that was hard. I almost burst into tears. I said we would come visit, and I fully intend to, but who knows when. Every other week we share our time and smiles there. We have brought every visiting friend there, much of our family, new friends from the base... 

An Indian restaurant is going to break me. 

Today I can't catch my breath quite right. I feel like there is no way I'm going to survive leaving here, our home. In the past few months I've been pushing it away and have planned on going without looking back, but I have a feeling it's going to be much, much harder than that. 


We were able to get out to Daun Wildpark once more before leaving. The baby boar are so cute (but not the mommas, haha!). And the deer were sure putting on a show for us!


Just two other things,  a tattoo plan....

And new best friends:

Johnny sits on the couch and calls, "Luckie! Luckie!" until he comes and jumps on his lap. Then he pets the crap outta him. Super cute. Not bad for a dog we almost re-homed because he was so nasty to the baby, I'm so glad to see this!! It definitely unbreaks my heart. <3

Friday, July 13

Turtle suitcase.

 Oh, packing. I've been great at packing my whole life, like a tetras master ;D and I always, always do it last minute. I'm not a light packer, either and once I had Johnny I figured I'd always have to lug around a million pounds of extras. This time I decided to really cut it down and super pack for our 8 week 'trip'. We'll be in a hotel at first, starting the first of August, then at some friends' houses, my grandparents' house and then on our way to Arizona finally in October. The last thing I want to being doing is hauling a huge suitcase, a carseat, some carry-ons, and a kid.
Awhile back I saw an article about a stewardess who can pack for ten days in a carry-on. My smallest suitcase is a larger carry-on. It can be used as one if not extended but it's pretty roomy once the zipper extension is open. I did a test run today to see if I could fit it all in.
I made a very specific list then gathered all the ingredients and set to work.

Here's what I had to fit:


  • toiletry bag (makeup, soap, tooth brushes, hair brushes, ect.)
  • sewing kit (with hand sewing projects included) 
  • 2 pairs of shoes, vans and maryjanes
  • swimsuit
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of leggings, one pair of tights
  • 5 tanktops
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 pair yoga pants, 1 pair yoga shorts
  • 1 pair shorts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 dresses
  • 3 sweaters

  • 6 diapers for night time
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • swim trunks
  • 3 pajamas
  • 2 long sleeved shirts
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 button-up shirt
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 1 sweatshirt
I almost can't believe it, but it all fit!! I had all the clothing piled up next to the suitcase while rolling everything and was SURE there was no way it was going to work, but then there was even room for Turtle! Amazing.

We will obviously be wearing one outfit each on the plane, which are not listed above.  
I will have a carry-on with a shawl for me, a change of clothes for J, my camera, a couple books, a handful of toys and some snacks. 
I am also sending a box to my gram's with some art stuff, some school stuff, a couple pairs of shoes, and some sweatshirts to hold us over into fall in New Hampshire. 
I bought an airplane seat strap for J (like this) to avoid carrying the carseat onto the plane. I'll be carrying him in his hiking backpack to make things much easier while not on the plane. I'm not sure yet what's going on on the other side of the pond once we get there, so I'm trying to make sure I have all our bases covered. If we have to do some walking I want to be prepared.
So anyway, hooray! I declare project packing a success!! We actually have our entire household shipped in about 2 weeks, so this is a huge relief. It seems like such a tiny amount to live on for 8 weeks, and especially in comparison to the rest of the house! We have a lot of stuff.


As for the rest of this past week, I've got a new finished tattoo for ya....

And some yummy cupcakes for our friend's son's birthday!

Wednesday, July 11

the morning after.

Painting late at night can lead to some hurried and ridiculous mistakes. I'm always thankful when I wake up in the morning and see the finished product and it's in the safe zone... although I'm not quite sure what's going on with the elbow, haha!!
The main thing is I wish I had gotten my act together and created an original Captain America drawing, but that's what happens when you start planning a gift at 10:30 the night before a birthday party! It was fun, though as I haven't drawn a comic book character since about 9th grade I think.  
Anyway, here he is, all done (this photo is a bit darker than the painting): 

acrylic on canvas, 23"x31"

'Merica! Eff YEA! ;)

art and monster movies.

It's about 3 a.m. and I'm ready to head to bed. I've been up much of the night working on an art project, a painting for one of Johnny's friend's for his birthday tomorrow. Way to procrastinate again, although I did manage to get it done! This is such a comfortable spot for me, up late painting. It reminds me so much of high school and times pre-kiddo. 

Speaking of the kiddo, he's found a favorite spot in the house to hang out, on the living room window sill! 

And yesterday in the kitchen I spent most of the day walking over or around these toys. I imagined him planning a grand scale Mothra-type movie... Snake vs. Lobster anyone?

I've been working quickly to get all my long-term tattoo clients wrapped up, since our house gets packed in just two weeks now! There are several, but this is one I've gotten a good photo of so far, a bit of a retake on Little Red Riding Hood!