January 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Open Air Museum


Velkommen til Frilandsmuseet!

Today we flashback to my year in Copenhagen, Denmark to the Open Air Museum (Frilandsmuseet).  The Museum is one of the oldest outdoor museums in Europe and is home to over 100 buildings dating from 1650-1950.  The buildings have been reconstructed, brick by brick, to Lyngby, a suburb outside Copenhagen for the public to experience Scandinavia’s rich building history.  The home above is a traditional Danish farmhouse, complete with a thatched roof and white wash exterior.



June 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

Finally complete and ready for sales…

watercolorWEDNESDAY original stationery sets!

and personally speaking, I think they are just swell!

I am selling two sets of prints– TRAVELS and COPENHAGEN.  Each set includes 6 original prints from Kirsten in Copenhagen watercolorWEDNESDAY and matching envelopes.  

Each set is for sale for $15 and all profits will be donated to my dear friends participating on mission trips with Cru this summer (check the projects out here).

If you are interested in buying a set or two (…or three), please go to my Etsy webpage to purchase.  If you are a friend, family member or local (Bay Area resident) you are welcome to just send me an email and I will reserve a set or two (…or three) for you.

Each print is an original from one watercolorWEDNESDAY week. Travel paintings include adventures from Prague, Salzburg, Lund, Barcelona, Rome and Ireland.  The Copenhagen set is a collection of my favorite paintings from that city I love!  The back of each card includes the original text from each blog post related to the painting.

packaging for your pleasure

Back of cards. Includes the original blog post.

Here is a sneak peak…


preview of all original paintings

the TRAVEL set…aren’t they beauties?

back and front view pictured here

included in set of six- cards, envelopes and note from me!

included in set of six- cards, envelopes and note from me!


preview of COPENHAGEN set originals

oh how I miss Copenhagen already!

close ups

For you newbies…what is watercolorWEDNESDAY?!?  From August to May I was blessed with the opportunity to study and live in the magical city of Copenhagen, Denmark.  Throughout the year I explored Copenhagen and Europe through the lens of my watercolor brush. Every Wednesday I shared my work on my blog and it is now my pleasure to share my year and artwork with you.

Please enjoy and spread some love through these special cards.


Kirsten in Copenhagen

If Etsy link did not work, click http://www.etsy.com/shop/watercolorWEDNESDAY


June 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

A melody of birds chirping adds to the tunes filling my headphones.

The music of choice? Danish top hits naturally.

Even though I have been back in the States for almost two weeks, I still have yet to change my Spotify music account from Denmark to the US, allowing me to access all of Denmark’s top hits.

I am still not ready to let go.

I sit at Linnea’s Café in San Luis Obispo (SLO).  Linnea’s is my favorite café in San Luis Obispo; which is quite a compliment because SLO is filled with a plethora of cozy and welcoming cafés.

Although quite popular in SLO, I still feel like Linnea’s is a hidden gem.  The back patio is filled with a dozen colorfully clothed tables surrounded by walls of crumbling brick and vibrant climbing ivy.  The entire atmosphere feels like one of H.C. Andersen’s fairy tales.

By routine, I feel like I am still in Copenhagen.  I biked to the café just like I would in Copenhagen.  Upon entry the delicious smells of the soup of the day, Lentil Miso, filled my nose (lentil soup just happened to be a staple in my limited Copenhagen cooking repetoir).   My usual mocha sits in front of me making that familiar foamy design that oddly inspires me.  And I am still banging away on these black keys blogging away. If the California sun wasn’t streaming down tanning (…burning) my (extremely white) shoulders, I would think I was still in Copenhagen.

And coincidence has it that as I sit here and remenice of my past life in Copenhagen, I run into three fellow classmates from Copenhagen.  We all had the same idea: fly home to States, give mom and dad a hug and immediately drive to SLO for the week.  It is surreal to see these familiar faces in SLO after spending nine months with them in a magical place far, far away.

Homecoming has been so bittersweet.  Missing my life in Copenhagen has been bitter, yet reunions have been so sweet.  I did not realize how much I missed people until I was reunited with them!  Late night baking sessions, lazy days at the beach, farmers market and more catch-up coffee dates to satisfy any caffeine addict have made up this blessed week.

Bitter or sweet, there is one thing stays the same: “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress and my deliver” Psalm 18: 2.

I am so blessed.  I was blessed by an amazing adventure for the last year.  And I am blessed by life in California, wonderful friends and such a loving family.

I just pinched myself.

I felt it.

Well, I guess this is not a dream.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with your joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” Psalm 16:11

Linnea’s Cafe back patio, San Luis Obispo

Home at Last.

May 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

Oh the joys of traveling.

After living and traveling so much in Europe throughout the year (especially in Italy), few travel hiccups can phase me.

Traveling in such extremes has taught me that with patience and a good attitude things usually turn out just fine.  And if I think of traveling as an adventure rather than a chore, it makes it all the more fun.

I have arrived safely back in home to the Golden State and in my opinion, everything went well.  But looking back, the trip was a bit hectic.  Thank goodness for patience + a good attitude (yes, I am totally that peppy girl that is incredibly annoying when all else are in a bad mood) I survived the 20-hour journey!

I started my journey at 3am Copenhagen-time as my plethora of luggage and I took a taxi to the airport.  Of course I was willing to try my luck at the night bus-metro-airport route, however after my father insisted I take a cab (and he agreed to pay for it) so I gave in.

Even at such an early hour, the Nordic sun was already illuminating the clouds bringing light to the night and allowing me to say goodbye to Copenhagen.  From Østerbro, to Central Copenhagen and out through Amager, I gave the city one last wave goodbye while holding back tears.

I arrived at the airport way ahead of schedule to find the airport almost empty and my flight to Frankfurt already delayed three hours.  I had to wait an hour for the airport service desk to open and figure out my fate.  After a long line and long process of flight-shuffling, I was placed on a new flight and my extra bag was complimentary thanks to the confusion!

Because of the flight cancellation, I arrived in Frankfurt an hour later than planned.  With only 50 minutes before my plane to SFO was to take off and I had an obstacle course of customs, passport control and security to jump through before boarding that plane, timing was tight.  And naturally, there hundreds of people and an hour-plus line to get through before.

With my calm demeanor and sweet face, I made friends with a pushy professor from Stanford on the same flight to SFO as me.  She was hysterical that we would miss the flight and be stuck in Frankfurt forever (just a little dramatic).  Despite our differences, I became friends with her and tailgated her as she demanded her way through the security lines.  We arrived at the gate just in time as last passengers were boarding.  As I scanned my ticket I let out a sigh of relief and looked forward to a long nap on the 11-hour flight.

I boarded the world’s largest commercial plane, the Airbus A380, and admired its size, two-seating decks and seating for 525 people.  After long line of waiting to find my seat, I found my number 60C empty and waiting for me.

I then looked to the right of my seat to see three smiling individuals sharing the row with me– mom, dad, and one-year old baby.  I then notice the three-year old sitting behind me, already chatting up a storm and kicking my seat.  And in the aisle across from me, a wide-eyed toddler that does not look like he is going to sleep anytime soon.

Great, I thought, I am in the kids section!

I began calculating how powerful my noise-cancelling headphones are and exactly how loud I could play music to drown out these children’s’ screams.

I loaded my oversized backpack full of the 10+ sketchbooks and journals I did not want to check in the overhead compartment and organize the rest of my belongs underneath my seat.  I decided to make the most of the situation and begin chatting with the father of the one-year-old to my right.  I learned the family had already been traveling for 10+ hours from India and the baby slept that entire flight…leaving little hope that she will sleep throughout this leg of the journey.

However, I quickly made friends with the family and find this big-brown-eyed little girl absolutely adorable.  We made a game of high-fives and waving to each other and were suddenly allies.  To my surprise, she slept almost half the flight and other than a few whimpers, was silent and content the rest of the journey.  The chatty three-year-old behind me stopped her chatting and I did not hear a peep from her for the rest of flight (was she drugged?!).  And although the wide-eyed toddler did not sleep, he barely made a sound and enjoyed taking his mom on many teetering laps around the plane (got to love active German children).

I was able to sleep most of flight (I was drugged…thank you over-the-counter sleeping pills!) and when I woke up again I found us circling see the familiar Golden Gate bridge below and starting our descent into SFO.  As the buildings become larger and runway into view, I countdown…five…four…three…two…touchdown! I was again on American soil again after nine months away.

Once landed, it took me almost an hour to go through the US passport-customs-baggage obstacle course.  While waiting by the baggage carousel for my bags, I was caught by the security dog.

Oops!  Forgot to throw out my eaten apple cores from the flight.  The officer laughs at my mistake, takes my apple cores and writes a note on my customs sheet that he confiscated my ‘apple cores.’

This mistakes put me through another line and I had to have my bags scanned again.  The security woman checked my customs sheet, chuckled and asks if I am harboring any more ‘apple cores.’

Once I am all clear, it was through the final security gates and I was greeted by the smiling faces of my family and waving a homemade “Welcome Home Kirsten” sign.  I gave my mom a hug and she busted into tears (aww, I feel so loved), hugged the rest of my family members and my dad took my luggage cart from me.  We exited the airport and the dry California heat immediately hit me.

I spent the rest of the day resting, unpacking and enjoying a delicious steak dinner with the family.  Apart from my room being a different color (my mom got sick of the Tiffany-blue and decided to painting it a more mature olive green) I find everything the same.  

Same family, same house, same car, same dog, same California.

But one thing is not the same…me!

Its just the beginning of the acclimation process however I am already having to remind myself that yes, the last nine months did happen and no, its not all a dream.

I am so overwhelmed with the blessings of this life.  Life in Denmark was such an incredible, life-altering and amazing experience.  And I have come home to such blessings as well– a wonderful family, faithful friends and a loving home.  And I have faith that all these blessings are a gift from one thing, the Father.  

For I know that

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” James 1:17

The current state of my room.  I have some work to do…

Realizations since coming home…

Wow, everything is huge!  I could fit four of my Copenhagen apartment bedrooms in my one bedroom at home.

Wow, I have lot of stuff!  Its true, America is a consumer society.  After living out of just two suitcases of belongings for nine months, I forgot I owned anything else.  As I opened my closet back at home the amount of stuff exploding from my closet practically devoured me..to the Goodwill I go this week!

Wow, its hot here!  I was greeted by SF blue skies and 80+ °F (27°C) weather.  I don’t have to wear a scarf and sweater?!? Where am I?!?

Wow, I am so pale!  The scarce Scandinavian sun has not given me much color in the last nine months.  When I put a dress on, my mom suggested I switch to pants.  She said the white-ness of my legs were blinding her.

Wow, I understand all the conversations around me!  I have become so accustomed to being surrounded by languages that I do not understand.  Must learn how to eavesdrop again…

Wow, my allergies are horrible!  Thanks to jet-lag, I awoke at an absurd hour this morning, decided to get some fresh air and went for an early morning jog.  I forgot how badly I the Bay Area Pollen-Bowl effects me…I am now paying for it with itchy-eyes, a scratchy throat, swollen fingers and sneezing every 5 seconds.  Good thing I am off to the allergist tomorrow!

I still have not…

I still have not purchased anything since my arrival.  After nine months of using the Danish Kroner currency, I do not remember how to use US cash (nor do I remember the prices!).

I still have not driven a car.  If I could get away with it, I never want to drive again.  But wait…I live in the United States of Automobiles.  My dad says driving a car is like learning to ride a bike again…so why can’t I just ride my bike?

I still have not gotten a cell phone.  I have enjoyed using my 10-digit archaic-brick Picell international phone for the last year.  Just calling and texting…who needs a touch screen?

The Last

May 19, 2012 § 5 Comments

The last time I jog in Fælledparken.

The last time I work late in studio.

The last time I purchase a 35dkk (≈$6) latte.

The last time I miss a Copenhagen S-train.

The last time I bike like a fiend to school.

The last time I socialize at the pub after church with friends Vineyard København Kirke.

The last time I savor chai with friends on the lakes.

The last time I enjoy a Carlsberg and picnic in the park.

The last time I attempt to order my coffee in (extremely) poor Danish.

The last time I dumpster dive with fellow poor students for rejected pastry and bread items.

The last time I walk into a building constructed in the 16th century.

The last time I indulge in a Danish chocolate snegle (pastry).

The last time I float through Illum Bolinghus and admiring all the overpriced Danish Designs I can never afford.

The last time I take tourist photos of Copenhagen even though I have lived here for almost a year.

The last time I share a candle-lit meal with so many great people.

The last time I window-shop down Strøget.

The last time I attempt to fit into Danish society by sporting all black, an oversized scarf, a high bun, aviators and my bike.

The last time I give someone a blank stare and soft “sorry?” when they speak to me in Danish.

The last time I wake up in my bed in my cozy apartment.

The last blog post…just kidding!  I am not ready to let go.  I still have a couple more posts to share with you!

This week has been a plethora of ‘lasts’ as I say goodbye to people, places and experiences that have become part of this blessed adventure.  In less than 10 hours I will board a plane that will take me away from this city that claims a large part of my heart and bring me back to the Motherland that feels more foreign than home. My bags are packed (everything fit! I am not sure who is more surprised– me or my dad), my room is clean, my boarding pass is printed and now it is just time to wait.

And even with all these ‘lasts’ I still do not feel like its the end.  Even as I say goodbye to so many people and places, it does not feel real.

I feel like I will see the same people tomorrow, just like I have every other week.  I feel like my bike is outside waiting for me to go exploring, like I have so many other weekends.  I feel like I will be back at my favorite coffee shop, like I am every Sunday.  I do not know when ‘the last’ will become a reality, but I will keep you updated when the tornado of tears appears.

Here are some snapshots of this week’s ‘lasts’….

Last Bible Study.  I will miss all these beautiful ladies!

Last time strolling down Strøget.  Thankfully it was beautifully sunny day in Amagertorv!

Last coffee date with this lovely one!  I plan on seeing this fellow west-coaster soon again!

Last chocolade bolle from Sankt Peders Bageri.

Last time witnessing old buildings and straw thatched roofs.  Day trip to Roskilde.

Last time in Tivoli.  I gave Copenhagen a proper goodbye from the high-heights of the swings above!

Last time with good friends in Copenhagen…not forever though! I will see you again!

These past nine months have been absolutely life changing and I plan on taking the next lifetime and a half to unpack all that I have experienced and learned.  This chapter might be coming to a close, yet the next has already started to write itself.  The future holds reunions with loved ones, an internship in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, my final year of college and oh, so much more!

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and  not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

But for now…

 Vi ses København! Farvel for nu!  Jeg vil savne dig, men jeg vil se dig igen!


May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

You can sense the finale.

…all of a sudden boom! bang! boom!

Each second dozens of fireworks explode into the sky, painting the dark night with a vibrant fire.

This climax indicates the inevitable…yes folks, the finale.

So like any good show, I leave you with a watercolorWEDNESDAY finale.

Its been such a pleasure to share watercolorWEDNESDAY with you for…gulp…37 wonderful weeks!  Sharing my work with you every week has given me the opportunity to explore the medium of watercolor to new heights.  The weekly reminder has given me reason to paint, to explore, to learn and to share.

If one were to ask me what I have learned most about watercolor painting through these weeks, it is patience.  Waiting for layer after layer to dry and repeat has taught me much about patience (do you know how much time the Utzon Church took to paint?!?).  And with this artistic patience I have found patience in my own life.  Above all else, my experience abroad has taught to live patiently and faithfully in every moment I have been blessed with while here.

So now for the finale.

I could not just give you one painting.

So here are some of my favorite places around Copenhagen.

Swans at the Lakes.  I wonder if it was here that HC Andersen was inspired to write The Ugly Duckling?

Colorful row houses of Nyboder.  Built by King Christian IV in 1641 and still going strong!

Bridge to Christianshavn.  Although I don’t visit this part of the city often, I love the colorful architecture, cozy canals and sunsets reflected through the west facing windows.

Biking through Fælledparken.  In days with good weather (and when I feel like my allergies can take the hit) I love taking the shortcut through Copenhagen’s central park and being surrounded by fields of green.

Ørstedsparken in spring.  Yes, it might be known as the gay-park, but its still my favorite park in Central Copenhagen thanks to its fairy tale feeling and willows that drape into the colorful reflective pond.

And now for a shameless plug…

I have a handful of wonderful friends currently raising support to participate in a handful of wonderful Christian mission trips this summer sponsored by Cru.  And to help them with support raising along the way I will be selling some of my original paintings and well as making greeting cards sets of prints from the year.  Depending on the size of painting, originals will be for sale starting at $30 and greeting card sets (sets of 6 +envelopes) at $15.  If you are interested in purchasing some of my work please contact me at kstabler@calpoly.edu so I can get a feel for the interest level.

I am also available to do custom paintings if interested.


Florentine Friends

May 14, 2012 § 6 Comments

My apologies, this post is way overdue!  Better late than never, right?

I have just completed my studies at DIS and I am now soaking up one last week in Copenhagen before…sigh…heading back to the Golden State (I really have no justification for complaining, this year has been amazing!).  More on leaving later, but for now enjoy some of the shenanigans in Copenhagen with old friends.

Two weeks ago I had the joy of entertaining five Cal Poly friends that have been studying in Florence for the year.  Us Copenhagen Cal Poly kids rallied together to show these good friends a good time in our city that has become home.  Adventures in the woods, trampolines by the harbor, soccer games and good food were all part of our adventures!

Kristina and I spent a day exploring the woods in the outskirts of Copenhagen.  Never know what you are going to find out there!

We discovered an abandon castle/fortress of some sort which made a wonderful opportunity to use our camera’s self timer and find some…expressive…shots.

Welcome to the rest of the gang!  No proper visit in Copenhagen would be complete without getting a bike.  Good work boys!

Trampolines by the harbor = hours of entertainment.

New Single coming soon…

When most people visit the infamous Little Mermaid they stand on shore, smile and take a photo with Denmark’s doll in the background.

But not Kristina.

She wanted to get up-close-and-personal with this special lady…and almost got stuck in the process.

Enjoying the world’s best chai latte’s on the Lakes!

FC København v. Aarhus Fodbol Kamp!  We dragged our Florentine friends down to a game to experience Danish soccer at its best. Jooo joo jooo!

The Poly section.

Hygge.  Brunch with Kristina before departing for…ahh…four months!

Tak jer alle for besøge!
Bet you wish you had visited right?

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