Tag Archives: Finland

The Finns, their dogs and a nifty gadget

Hi there,

For a couple months now I’ve been the proud owner of a Wacom graphic tablet and I must say it is a really nifty gadget to have. It came with so much great software too, like Corel Painter and Photoshop. I already had PS but was in dire need of a version upgrade – seriously, I’d been stuck with PS Elements 2.0 until I got the tablet. I can be so cheap sometimes!

Okay, enough of the geeky computer-software-talk and on to the more interesting part of what I did with my new shiny:

Mostly I had intended to use it as a digital drawing and painting tool but I soon noticed that somehow it’s just not my thing – I love my real paints, pens and papers way to much! I have a friend who creates really cool Manga/Anime characters with the help of her tablet. Like these…

I don’t know how she does it. They are amazing, aren’t they?

Well, even though I do not use my tablet to draw or paint, it has become a very handy tool for me when editing and altering photographs in Photoshop and sometimes Corel Painter too. The first real project I tackled using my tablet was – of course – creating a postcard for a fellow postcrosser.

It was my 15th sent postcrossing card which went to Pirkko in Finland. She loves dogs and has three of her own. On her profile she mentions that receiving postcards featuring a picture of a national dog breed would make her day – and hey, that’s what I want to: Make someone’s day a little brighter by sending them a lovely postcard! So, off I went to create a German-dog-breed-card for Pirrko using my graphic tablet, Photoshop and Corel Painter. And this is it:

I created it using a simple layering technique: First I created a collage using different images of German dog-breeds and then covered it with a simple white layer. With a few sketchy strokes of my tablet pen and some Corel Painter magic I made the dogs visible again as rough sketches. I didn’t just trace the images; I removed the white in the top layer to make the color of the dog images beneath reappear. I hope you get what I mean.  The finishing touch was adding the black quote box and my signature at the bottom in a third layer and voila: A German-dog-breed-card for Pirrko!

“Natürlich kann man ohne Hund leben – es lohnt sich nur nicht.”
(“Of course you can live without a dog – it just isn’t worth it.”)

~ Heinz Rühmann, German actor

When I printed it I also experimented with different color paper. Ten postcrossing-cards later (#25) I sent the exact same image printed on yellow paper to the also Finnish and dog-loving Kirsi – especially Finns seem to like dogs a lot for some reason : ) while Russians seem to be cat-people (but that’s a different story altogether)

Well, my dog Fredi and I send greetings to all dogs and their doggy people out there!

I had some fun sketching in ink and felt markers as you can see : P

Have a great Friday! *bark*

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RECEIVED CARD #4 – Escaping a wolf,…

Dear Friends,

I knew I would come across the topic languages again, as Postcrossing attracts many people not onyl interested in different cultures but different languages as well, but I hadn’t though it to be so soon. The fourth postcard I received was written in German! It was send to me by Helka-Maija, a teacher in a small Finnish town called Varkaus. Besides Finnish, English and German she also speaks Swedish and Russian.

All this writing about foreign languages and language learning had me thinking. What are the top 3 languages I want to learn before I die? It came down to…

… (1) Italian,
… (2) Romanian,
…and (3) Japanese.

The explanation for my choices is pretty simple because Italy, Romania and Japanese are countries I’d like to visit one day (I’ll tell you more about my travelling plans some other time…) and when I travel to a certain country rather than soley relying on English, I prefer to converse with people in their native tongue. I think it somewhat removes the glaring tourist-tag, is more polite and the natives are more inclined to show you the tracks off the beaten path. You get so much more out of your stay if you at least try to use the country’s native language! As I’ve said before: Language reveals a great deal about the people who speak it and the country they live in.
I’ve also done some research concerning language-learning-methods and stumbled upon this great post by Timm Ferriss: How To Learn (But Not Master) Any Language In 1 HourHis way of approaching and evaluating the new language you decided to learn is mind-bogglingly easy and logical. Just check it out yourself.
And then I came across a website offering the most common phrases for postcrossers translated into many different languages: Dictionaries for Postcrossers.

Back to Hilka’s postcard. If it weren’t already amazing enough that she send me a card written in German, she also added this great Finnish quote…

Finnish:
Kun menee sutta pakoon, tulee karhu vastan.
German:
Wenn man vor dem Wolf flieht kommt einem der Bär entgegen.
English:
When escaping a wolf, one will run into a bear.

…and picked a card with a beautiful art printing, showing an olipaniting by the Finnish artist Pekka Halonen. Hilka-Maija wrote that he is most famous for his winter landscapes but she likes the colorful paintings better. I think they are all wonderful. Just look at those two: “Ensilumi” (First Snow) from 1931 and “Talvinen Iltarusko” (Winter Sunset) from 1899.

Hilka-Maija’s postcard travelled 925 miles (1489 km) in 6 days until it reached its destination: My mailbox 🙂

So, what languages do you want to learn?

Bye! Tschüß! Näkemiin! Ciao! La revedere! さようなら!

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SENT CARD #1 – Postikortti

Dear Friends,

81 days ago I became one of about 260 000 Postcrossing members. I immediately requested my first address: My first ever sent card went to Miisa in Jyväskylä, Finland. I took great care in choosing her postikortti (Finnish for postcard) because it was going to be her first ever received card. I think it was a wonderful coincidence: My first ever sent card being her first ever received card!

Miisa likes postcards that tell her something about the sender’s hometown and -country:
So I picked a card showing the Italian-stlye rural residence and false ruins near one of the many ponds in Breidings Garten. Breidings Garten is a huge park-like garden in the south of my hometown which used to belong to a merchant’s and industrialist’s family who began to develope the swamp area into a garden about 150 years ago.
I think this is a very romantic and beautiful place and in this picture there’s almost something mystic about it too.

I sent the postcard on its way to Miisa on September 2nd. It travelled 867 miles (1396 km) in 6 days to drop into her mailbox on Septmeber 8th.

She favorited the card and I hope you like it as well,

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