56. Little Starlight Lantern

I was in shock yesterday morning when I found out that the clocks had returned from daylight saving to standard time - meaning it gets dark around 5:30 in the evening now... The early darkness is something I really don't like about winter and every year I try my best to lighten it up a bit and make it cosy. That's why I ignored all kinds of Halloween/Samhain/Reformation Day inspired stars today and made a little lantern (autumn coloured so it doesn't look too much like Christmas yet...):

For the stars I used scrapes of wax crayons that I placed between two sheets of ordinary paper and ironed over them. I could use both sheets afterwards and cut four stars out of them. There's actually a little more green which doesn't quite show in the picture. So far, it doesn't seem too Christmassy to me. :)

P.S.: Just discovered:
"... We'll shine like stars in the winter night ..." (From an additional verse to a live version of U2's 'With Or Without You')
Yes, please...

55. Gift Wrap Star

Yesterday's post had to be delayed because the star was invloved in a birthday present a friend was going to receive tonight. But here it is now, painted with oil pastels:

Happy birthday, Tina! :D


54. Zauberflöte

Tonight, some friends and I (8 total, can you believe it!^^) went to see Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" ("The Magic Flute") in Weimar. It was the first opera I saw when I was a kid, and I still enjoy it immensly. The star is made out of some of our tickets - here's the proof:

P.S.: My mom just emailed my this scan of our old ticket (how amazing that she still has it!):


53. Vertigo

Yesterday morning, I dug out my U2 CDs again and since then I've been listening to them non-stop. About one third of the time it's a neverending loop of a great live version of 'Vertigo' - and it doesn't feel like I'm going to get tired of it any time soon.^^

So here's my vertigo-inducing star (and while I could listen to the music for hours on end, I wouldn't want to look at this for more than 30 seconds...):

P.S.: This is the first computer-made star of the project.^^ (Spiral design by Akiyoshi Kitaoka)


52. String Figure Stars

Alright, today's stars are something of a substitute for the star on which I spent a lot more time this afternoon but which I cannot yet present due to lack of recording equipment. So, yes, they may be substitutes, but to make up for that, they are three:

I don't remember where I found the instructions for the first one... The second one can be found here, the third one here.

Favourites, anyone? I can't quite decide which one I like best...

And concerning that other star... I will make it my daily project when I manage to record it. :)


51. Mordsstern

Ganz herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, lieber Papa! Ich wünsch dir einen mörderisch tollen Tag!

Yay! I got a star-shaped cake mould! :D I used it to make a special cake for my Dad whose birthday is today. He's into all kinds of murder mystery and detective stories, that's why the cake had to suffer a sudden death. Sadly, he lives more than 400 km away from me, so he cannot eat any of it... I'll eat some for him, then.^^

P.S.: The title is a German pun. Literally, it means 'murder star', but it could be understood as 'tremendous star' or 'a real humdinger of a star' (according to my dictionary - I've never come across that expression before... :))


50. Bedside Lamp Shadow

A long and somewhat exhausting day - too much hustling, too much rushing from one place to another, and too much forgetting about things... Now it's lights off for me (and movie on):


I simply made a lid with a star-shaped hole in it for my bedside lamp. It was a bit tricky to take a picture, though: With the lamp on the bedside table, the star was far too big and half of it was on the wall; simply holding the lamp up towards the ceiling wouldn't work either because I couldn't get the camera in my other hand far enough away to capture the whole star. So, I built a pedestal for my lamp out of a table and a high stool, and lay down on the floor to take the photo... Ah, what I wouldn't do to get my daily dose of starlight... :)

P.S.: I did notice this is star number 50... I did think that maybe I should do something special today... I did not even get close to mustering the energy for that, though... Anyway, there are so many more still to come. Just wait until I get to one hundred...! ;)


49. Mandala

Shortly after I had started this entire project, I began to design a mandala. I completed it weeks ago, and today I coloured it in while meditating on a Chinese poem I had to learn for tomorrow's class.

It turned out to look a lot different from what I had expected... but okay, that's life... :)


48. A Kite's Tail

Looks like we're in some kind of fever here... namely hiking fever. Today's trip was rather short compared to past ones but this one had a bonus: kite flying! We had a normal one and a stunt kite - the latter not being able to fly any good stunts due to lack of wind (I really need to get my old delta stunt kite next time I visit my parents!), the former having a long tail which I used to make a star before we left:


Yes, well, it's not the best star ever made, but it's colourful and it represents something which I haven't done in a (far too) long time and which is a lot of fun.^^


47. Scraped off Jam

I'm really and truely tired today, so this star is a very simple one. But again, I tried something new: I made my first self-made jam! :) (Pumpkin, of course, what else? But there's apple in it, too.) After I had filled it all into jars I found myself staring at the bottom of the saucepan sighing at the thought of having to wash it - a dishwasher being a luxury I don't possess... Why not play around with it first?

 P.S.: There is still some pumpkin left because I didn't have enough jam jars to use it all up...

46. Pumpkin with Stars

Woohoo! I made my first ever jack-o'-lantern! I'll still have to work on it a bit tomorrow to make it shine brighter, but the basics are visible:

I'll probably update tomorrow night when it will hopefully be finished. There was not enough time today as my friend Tina and I were very busy not only with carving our pumpkins but also with preparing a pumpkin dinner for our friends - pumpkin soup, pumpkin apple pie and pumpkin waffles. So delicious! (I'm always amazed if kitchen experiments turn out well, since I'm not overly experienced in cooking or baking - I just try some new things every now and then.)

Also, this was actually the first time ever I took a look inside a pumpkin. And what an excitement that was! :D

Update 2011-10-22:
It's finished! And so am I - at least my back and my right hand and arm. But I'm happy with the result, so cut the whining, girl...^^


45. Autumn Leaves Star

Finally! I took the leaves I collected on last week's hiking trip out of the book and made some decoration that is actually appropriate for this time of the year. For some reason (which remains unknown to me), that is something I very rarely do. I decorate my rooms with all kinds of stuff and I never care about the season. But now...! I've got an Autumn Star on my balcony door:


Initially, I thought about cutting off all the parts that go over the borders, but then I remembered that I actually like a bit of irregularity - after all, how could I make a star out of nature materials and then destroy their natural shapes? That would simply be unnatural... Anyway, I prefere it like this. :)


44. White on Black

I'm still feeling swirly. :) So I made some use of it and created a somewhat swirly star to place in the middle of the four triangular canvases I made a few weeks ago (and which are now hanging on my wall). Just a black square was too boring. Now it's a black square with a white star:

I used a white pencil and a white watercolour pencil which is a bit stronger to highlight some parts.

And here's the star surrounded by its friends:

The problem with photographing these colours is still not solved... Oh, well, I suppose I'll have to enjoy them on the wall, not on the screen. ;)


43. Year of the Stars

In the light of university lectures resuming today after the summer break (for me, that is - there are poor people who already had to start yesterday) , I realised I would soon need a new calendar for next year. Appointments dates and deadlines are going to cumulate over the next few weeks.
I had been on the lookout for a pocket calender for some time already but… well, I got to know myself over the past years so I am aware that this search is rather pointless. So I ended up bying the cheapest one I found of the right fromat and altered it:




Inside, I added some notable celestial events of next year (t.b.c.).

I seriously considerd redoing it all because I was quite unhappy with the front cover (I felt very clums with the paint brush and the far too thick white paint). But there's this thing about perfectionism, you know... unhealthy and all. I figured I could live with this version. Plus, I would have been very uncomfortable throwing away my first ever nine-pointed star. ;)

P.S.: Concerning its title: I am aware that my personal year of stars will end already in September 2012. However, 1. the larger portion of the project falls into next year, not this year; 2. I will begin next year with lots of stars on my mind; 3. who knows whether I will actually (be able to) stop after the 365th star?; and 4. who cares, anyway? :D


42. Bowling Star

Bowling Night! It's been far too long since I've last been bowling - it's so much fun! Especially with that many friends. :)

Just before we left, Tina and I gathered some bowling balls to make a flower and a star. (Since our group was the only one playing we had free choice in colours.^^) It was more of a challenge than I had thought to get the balls to lie still, but it worked eventually:


41. Feather Star

Another beautiful day and another beautiful hiking trip with a lot of sunshine (though it's getting really cold now). Somewhere along the hillsides of the 'Hausberg' we found a bunch of beautiful feathers - sadly, it looked like some bird had suffered rather a lot...
I gathered the larger feathers and made a star out of them when I was back home (too windy outside):

In loving memory of the bird.

I have not yet been able to determine what kind of bird these feathers are from. Possibly a Jay (the Eurasian kind), and possibly a young one. But suggestions are welcome! :)

40. Suminagashi

Today, I spent some time looking for other people who are doing yearlong projects or daily challenges. Yes, they are out there, and they are more than just few. :)
One of them has introduced me to a new technique I had never seen nor heard about before: Suminagashi - the Japanese art of marbling. It basically consists of dipping paint brushes with ink into water to create patterns and then place a paper on top of it to absorbe the colour. I was so fascinated I had to try it myself. Here are the results:

Of course, I don't have the original ink that's used for this, so I had to make due with watercolours (regular blue and black ink didn't work at all). Red and yellow definitely worked best while blue was extremely difficult - no idea why.
But it was a lot of fun sitting in front of that large water bowl with my paint brushes. I shall try it again some time soon. :)


39. Celtic Knot

Oops, a little late... Well, I made a star late this afternoon but had to leave before I could finish the post - film night with friends. :)
Today, I've had a lot of Irish music in my head. I couldn't stop singing and humming and whistling the same tunes over and over again. So, when I talked to my sister this afternoon and mentioned I had not yet made a star, she suggested to make an Irish star. That reminded me of an idea on my 'list of ideas' and so I made this:

I found the pattern online and then - remembering what I had learned a few years ago about making celtic knots - decided to pick it to pieces and figure out what shapes are behind it and how to draw it myself.
Now, for those who are somewhat in love with celtic knots like I am, I decided to write some instructions how this star can be made.

1. You draw 3 pentagons like this:

The outer ones are aproximately the same size. The smaller one has a side length of about 2/3 of the larger ones and has to be exactly aligned to one of them.
Mark the middles of each line with a little cross. (You should have 15 crosses in total.)

2. There are many different knots you can make from a pentagon shape. For this star you will need the following three:

The crosses on the pentagons you drew before now mark the points where the lines of the knot actually cross (as demonstrated in the first picture).  To get a more interesting look you should double the lines of the knot (second and third picture). I usually draw two new ones to both sides of the original one in order to keep the pattern even.
At the points where the lines cross, make sure that one line always runs alternately over and under the crossing line - thats the typical pattern of a celtic knot.

3. Now, the tricky bit is to merge all these three patterns into one.
Knot number one goes into the large pentagon that is aligned to the small one.
Knot number two goes into the small pentagon.
And knot number three into the other large one.
As you put the knots together make sure that again every line - no matter where you start - always alternately runs over and under another one.

4. Trace the lines of all knots with a permanent pen...

...and then erase the pentagons and crosses.

5. Colour it in if you like. (You might also like to use different colours for different knots.)

6. Relax your hands and enjoy. :)


38. A Twin Star on the Mountain

I went on a hiking trip today with two very good friends of mine (Hi Tina & Verena! :D) and we had a grand time!  By the time we reached a large clearing up on the mountain, the sun had finally broken through the clouds and we celebrated this with a little dance around a huge lime tree (linden tree) and a bit of acrobatics on the meadow. That's when I made this star:

Normally, it's my mother's signature to make this kind of star photo in all kinds of places. (Though she calls it a starfish because the first time she did it was in front of a beautiful sunset at the Pacific Ocean.)

After we had taken the picture, we realised that there was actually a second star - my shadow on the ground. :)


37. Liszályis

Wow, this one is special to me (though probably not very much to others, so I don't blame anyone for ignoring this ;) ) - and it came as quite a surprise.

Some friends and I had been playing a quite interesting game today where we were supposed to make up and tell a fairy tale together. Needless to say, I just love creating stories - and then I remembered, that the biggest story I have ever worked on, one I'm still working on and probably will be for the rest of my life (which I don't mind at all, by the way), the story that has become so much more than a story over the past 12 years, that has become an entire world...That story is basically set in a world which is shaped like a star.
I haven't worked on it in months (if not years), but some parts of it are always around, so today it was the shape of the land that suddenly popped up in my mind and I decided to make it the next star:

One could say that there're six different continents with water between and around them. They each have their own symbol (the one of the inner circle is, well, a circle) - and that is the farthest I'll go with describing it, otherwise I won't stop for hours.
I had never before drawn the entire land like this - when I originally invented it, there were only four outer continents until I decided that four was too much symmetry for me to bear. This is also the first time I definitely decided on the shapes of the symbols. (The colours are not yet certain, though.)
At first, I wasn't very happy with the outer continents being this pointy, but it's the only way they will fit around the circle if I don't want them to be tiny. So, I think I'm coming to terms with this version.

I cannot even begin to describe how good it feel to have this complete! As I said: special one for me. :)


36. Miröchen

First, something I made between yesterday and today: There's a video update on the Human Supernova!

Second, I painted a star today:

Third, I painted some company for the star:

Quite obviously, this is inspired by Joan Miró*. For as long as I can remember, my parents had a Miró print on the wall - first of our living room, then our office room. I first 'learned' about this painter in primary school when we were supposed to do a painting after his style. A friend and I had so much fun with this we kept making more. We called them 'Miröchen' which in German is a kind of diminutive of Miró.

I'm not exactly sure why I did this today. I just felt like painting something again after so many non-painted stars. This was the first thing I rememberd when thinking of ideas I've had before.

*Oh, how I love the name Joan! Juan seems such an ordinary Spanish name - but Joan... :D


35. Rorschach Inkblot

I've reached the end of week 5 - and I'm still in love with all these stars. :)
Suprisingly many people are telling me they keep looking at my blog every now and then; surprisingly many people catch fire when I tell them about this project, and immediately start thinking about what else I could do or how they could hep me with a particular star. I'm beginning to realise how sharing this can make everything a lot more interesting and push me on (sometimes to where I would not normally have gone...)
So, thanks for all the ideas, comments and excitement - whether online or in 'real life' ;) - it makes this whole project so much more enjoyable and so much more fun!

I've also reached the final week of my summer break from university and thus decided to do a psychology project today (in order to revive the psychology spirit a little 'cause it feels like it will take some time to revive that...) So, make free associations: What do you see in this picture?

P.S.: You may try this at home, but if you do, be sure to have a cleanable surface or else a lot of paper and tissues around - at least if you're using real black ink... :)


34. 10 Arms

Well, what is it with those 'human stars' at the moment? I suppose that's the result of spending so much time with so many amazing and funny people. :)
This was a very spontaneous manoeuvre on our little walk between visiting a traditional lapidary`s workshop and having a delicious lunch:

Let's see if I remember to whom these arms belong: My mother, my second uncle, my great aunt, my second aunt-in-law, and Mim - whom I'm not related to but who's great to have around!

P.S.: If I'm not mistaken, this is the first ten-pointed star of my project!

33. A Three-Generations Star

17 people from 5 different places and 2 amazing days of fun!

I went to Southern Germany to meet with a part of my (extended) family. Our weekend contained a lot of laughing and singing, hiking and geochaching, gemstones, sweets, stars, and taking pictures - and generally a whole lot of fun. Those people are truely awesome!
Saturday night, when everybody was exhausted from a somewhat crazy card game, I tried to revitalise people by putting something into practice which had been suggested before: a star of people lying on the ground. 3 generations got up (and then down) to do this:

1st Generation: my great aunt.
2nd Generation: my mother.
3rd Generation: 3 of my second cousins, my sister, and a friend who is an exchange student from Australia.

Great job you guys! I'm especially proud of you for lying down on the cold stone floor for this one! ;D (I only just now realised how much I appreciate those patterns on the floor.)

P.S.: a little bonus
Idar-Oberstein, the place where we were staying, is famous for its gemstone work so you could buy all kinds of different stones at every corner. However, I saw stones that were cut like stars only twice throughout this weekend - one of them at our youth hostel:

A rock crystal which is not quite flawless, but that makes it all the more interesting to me.


32. Rubber Stamp Star

The things you find when tidying up...

I haven't got many rubber stamps (I never want to buy any because I'm convinced they'll get boring quite soon since they're always the same...), but today I rediscovered my favourite one on the outside of my bathroom window sill (don't ask...). I hadn't even missed it until now. So, I took the chance to use it for another quick star, because I'm about to head off to the next train - again - because I'm about to spend another weekend with wonderful people - again - and so, once again, I might not be able to get online for a couple of days and will probably have to post the stars later.

Until then, here's my purple favourite rubber stamp star:

31. A Somewhat Cheesy Star

I just got home from a truly beautiful night with friends, some of whom I had not seen for several months. Between dancing, singing and looking at photos from our workshop last spring, we shared a delicious meal of mostly self-made food. That was where this star 'happened':

About this corner which has been nibbled off: No, my friends do not have mice in their appartment, that was me. I took on the bold venture of eating cheese... Strange as it may seem to some people, I don't like cheese - at least as long as it's not grilled, and appart from mozzarella which does not quite qualify as cheese in my opinion. So, yes, I tried it - once more - and still got the same feedback from my sensory nerves: 'Nice joke, honey, but keep that stuff away from us in future.'

So, the fact remains: No ungrilled cheese for me - appart from mozzarella, that is. ;-)

P.S.: Mehr Klebstoff! ;D


30. Tangram Star

Alright, this is the third time I went for my tangram puzzle:

1st attempt: I realised there was no star figure in any of the tangram books I own. I searched online but discovered nothing there, either. So, I went for a different star that day.

2nd attempt: I felt challenged and the day after the first attempt I wanted to figure it out myself - only to realise that given those two large triangles it seems nearly impossible to create a decent star out of those pieces.

3rd attempt: Weeks later, I saw the tangram idea on my list again and promptly decided to change the rules (thinking outside the box and all, you know): In this tangram puzzle the pieces are allowed to overlap - et voilà:

STOP HERE - in case you want to try this yourself (it's not that hard). One of the possible solutions is shown below. ;)

 Here you go:


29. Grocery Star

4 weeks have passed since I started this project. It feels like the last three of them happened in some kind of parallel universe - or several for that matter… The conference, the workshop, the days with my sister, staying at my parents', meeting several old friends, the convention… And all of a sudden I have to get back to real life - and quickly so, since I'll be taking an exam tomorrow. I haven't got the slightest idea how to do that, but grocery shopping seemed as good a start as any.


28. Geocache Log

As the Discworld Convention came to an end and my sister and I were waiting for the shuttle-service that would take us to the train station, we took the opportunity to look for a geocache that had to be in very close proximity of the castle where we had been staying those past three days.
In spite of my confused GPS, we soon succeeded and logged our visit in this logbook:

27. A Human Supernova

Wow, I'm blown away! Some 60 to 70 people came together and made a star to help me with this challenge! How can this be explained? Well, apparently, it's quite simple: Discworld fans.
You go out there, stand on a bench, call for attention and ask for help in making a star out of people - and they come! They would stand on the marked lines and wait patiently for the City Watch to appear (in a surprisingly well-formed line!) and take formation in the middle. You ask them to wave and they wave. You ask them all to jump and shout 'Supernova!' - and that's what they do! :D

Guys, you are truly amazing! As yet, this is the star I've had the most fun with - and I'm still fascinated by the fact that it actually worked! :)
It's so right to say that there seems to be something special about discworld fans, that they're more like a huge family, really, and help each other out - strange as the request may be. They're the most adorable freaks I've ever met.^^ [Quote: 'You've worked at the check-in, haven't you? Would you happen to know if someone found a finger? About this size, with blood on it…']

Thank you all for such a wonderful weekend and for giving me the biggest star and the most laughter of this project so far!

Lena aka Elfe Lotta

P.S.: There have been made about a ton of other pictures of this, so maybe I'm going to add a few when I get them.

Update 2011-10-11:
I've got some more pictures and spent last night working on a little video putting them together. Here it is!
[Since the quality of this 'Blogger' video is unfortunately quite bad, I also uploaded it on youtube in HD.]