Blog: Hamburg

Nice to Meet You! with Jenny Rohrs

Hello and welcome to another Nice to Meet You! From time to time I learn about some amazing artists out there who are working with my stamps and stencils and are creating some fun and exciting projects. It’s always inspiring to see what others do with my designs. Sometimes they even introduce me to a new way of seeing the pattern or a new technique to try on my own. Today I’d like to introduce to you Jenny Rohrs from Craft Test Dummies  and cohost of Hands On Crafts for Kids on PBS.

How do you make time to be creative?

Being creative is part of my flow for the day. Generally I get my “mom” duties and chores done in the morning so I can spend a few hours after lunch every day for doing reviews, crafting, and blogging.

What are some of your favorite n*Studio stamps / stencils and how do you use them?

I lived in Manhattan last year, so I really was drawn to the Brownstone and Warehouse stamps- they are perfect for watercolor techniques, which is one of my favorite things to do with markers. I also am in love with the Kassel and Hamburg stencils! I have been on a gel printing kick as of late, and I  reach for these over and over.

Brownstone Stamp
Warehouse Stamp
Kassel Stencil
Hamburg Stencil






What is your favorite medium to work in?

I couldn’t possibly answer this- I use multiple mediums every day! Some days it’s liquid oils, another day I’m pouring resins, and yet another I’m playing with collage or polymer clay. I think that the quest for novelty and new techniques is just part of my creative process.

What inspires you to be creative?

As strange as it sounds, doing product reviews for my website actually sparks my creativity. I like to see how a product or medium works, how I can push it’s limits, how it will respond. By swatching and testing I get new ideas all the time. I also love to travel- new places, foods, music, and architecture make my brain bubble with new possibilities.

Do you have a favorite artist?

Not really- different artist’s work rotates in and out of resonance with me. However, I am ALWAYS struck by one piece by John Rogers Cox (contemporary American painter, 1915-1990.) This piece is in the Cleveland Art Museum (where I lived for 20 years, until last year) and it strikes me every time with those golden fields of wheat and roiling grey skies. Breathtaking!

How did you get into art-making?

Years ago, as a newly-minted board certified Music Therapist, I would come home after a day of playing instruments and singing. I craved quiet and needed a way to process all of the emotions and issues that I had experienced with my clients. I turned to painting and quilt-making to “squeeze the sponge” so to speak, and it really helped me cleanse myself for the next day of work.  After I “retired” from Music Therapy, I started crafting with my kids and I created my blog as a way to inform and connect with other artists/crafters. I’m still on that journey today.

In three words, how does art-making make you feel?

Present, energized, validated.

Thank you Jenny for sharing your art and story with us! Stay tuned for more Nice to Meet You! posts to learn about other artists.

Comments (1)

  • Deb


    Thanks for sharing Jenny Rohrs with us! Always nice to hear about others’ journeys.
    Love the variety of your blog posts. I eagerly await them and am always learning.
    Thank you soooooo…. much!


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Art Stroll: Max Pechstein in Brucerius Kunst Forum

When I visited my home city Hamburg in Germany my friends and I spent a couple hours in the Brucerius Kunst Forum to see the Max Pechstein exhibition. Max Pechstein was an expressionist German painter, who was part of the Art Group “Die Brücke”

He was highly influenced by the ideas and techniques of Van Gogh, Matisse and the Fauves. In the 30s Max Pechstein was vilified by the Nazis and most of his paintings were removed from German Museums and some of them displayed in the degenerate art exhibition of 1937. He was dismissed as an art professor by the Nazis and was only after World War II able again to teach art.

1912 – he dabbled a bit in cubism. I love how he painted the patterns and his usage of colors.

Pechstein was also a really good printmaker – and he seemed to have used any kind of paper he could find to do his prints.

I love the texture of the wood grain visible in his prints.

He loved painting his first wive Lotte- below in a painting which reminds a bit of Gaugin.

While his style seemed to change all the time – his use of color was very unique and consistent.

“Early Morning” – Oil on Canvas – he picked up the curves of his wife’s body in the landscape in the background.

Nidden Coastline with Fishing Boats – so very different yet again.

Fisher Boat – 1913

Monterosso el Mare, 1924

Amazing painting- it somehow reminded me a of painting by Max Beckmann of seals in a circus.


Sitting young man

Printed Christmas Cards showing him, his wife and his son – 1916

Sleeping Nude and Cat (1911) was one of my favorite paintings of his.

Kurenkähne am Deich, 1920 – watercolor and pencil – one of the few non-oil paintings.

Fischer Katen – 1932 – This shows the typical style of houses in the North of Germany .

And this one just glowed intensely and beautifully – a stunning piece. Sunset – 1921

and here are my friends Sandra and Liz who joined my this Art Stroll. Hope you enjoyed it :)

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Artful Adventures – Michelle Rydell


Hello from the Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Michelle Rydell sharing an art journal that she created for taking on some weekly Artful Adventures. She used my Hamburg stencil, and this month’s theme: Artful Adventures. Are you planning an Artful Adventure this summer? Whether it’s a day at the beach or a full blown International Vacation, don’t forget to take the time to soak up the uniqueness of your new surroundings and gather some inspiration for future artmaking. This month we’re turning to Nat’s new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media, to help us find inspiration as we travel. We’ll be noticing color, shape, texture and more and then we’ll be taking that to the studio to help inspire some mixed media projects. Join us in the adventure!

I have to say that I was very inspired by Nat’s “Artful Adventures” book!  (and I am not just saying that because this is her blog – ha). I’m a color enthusiast and Artful Adventures is a visual feast of color!  The chapter about gathering inspiration from books and movies got me thinking about that, and I knew I wanted to take inspiration from her book in some way.

I decided to combine that with another book that has really inspired me, called  “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron.  It’s a book about rediscovering your creative self, and it really helped me do just that. One of the tools that the book suggests, is that you take yourself on a weekly artist date; which is an excursion alone, to do something that feeds your creative soul.  It can be anything from a long walk in nature, to visiting a junk store, to going to a movie. I’m telling you this, because it’s one thing from the book that I rarely make time to do, even though I really want to; and Nat’s book gave me an idea. What if I use my weekly artist dates as a springboard for my art journaling?  That would inspire me to actually do them! I’m going to make a special journal for recording my artist’s dates!

So, my project for today is inspired by both books –  “Artful Adventures,” and “The Artist’s Way.”

Here’s how I made my little book…

I happened to have an old October Afternoon chipboard mini-book cover lying around, so I decided to use that as my substrate. It’s 5 x 7 – just the right size for recording my adventures.  You could use any piece of chipboard or even heavy cardboard instead. I wanted to use the gorgeous colors from the Nat’s painting on the Artful Adventures cover as inspiration, so I gathered up some paints that matched as closely as possible…

I gessoed the chipboard first, so the paint wouldn’t soak into the chipboard, keeping the colors brighter.  Then I added a couple of coats of a dark teal color as a base.


I used the Hamburg stencil to add interest to the background. I sponged small areas at a time with a lighter teal, while twisting and turning the stencil to create movement and texture.

I love the beautiful green on Nat’s painting, so I attempted to mimic that by adding yellow over the teal –  as a border, and also dripping it across the top.  At first it wasn’t showing the green, so I sprayed some water on the drips to make them more transparent, and then it mixed with the teal to create green – yeayyy!  I hope I did it justice!

I wanted to add some contrast so I decided to add a pink flower to the cover.  I painted the center on copy paper, and then added the Hamburg stencil pattern again, with a subtle color change.

I pasted the pink flower middle onto another layer of white copy paper, and drew the petals for the flower.  Then glued it onto the front of the cover.  One of the drips looked like a stem to me, so I outlined it in black. Then I finished it off by adding a title with a white poster paint pen. Here’s the finished book-

And one last photo so you can see the pink and coral title page I painted, so the word “play” would show thru the cover in pink.  I plan to put a quote about Artist’s Dates here. The inside of the front cover was created by adding a layer of gesso to the same bright pinks and corals, then rubbing some of it off with a dry paper towel.

My plan is to add to this book each time I go on an artist date, by writing my thoughts and creating a little art piece inspired by the experience.  I hope you like it, and maybe you will try making one too!

Thank you Michelle! We hope you have many happy art dates!!! Michelle used the following (some are affiliate links):

Play along with us too and share your Artful Adventures with us: I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke


    Thank you for your detailed instructions and that teal is gorgeous Michelle.


    • Michelle Rydell


      thank you Sue! I’m so glad you liked the tutorial!


  • Julie Tucker


    This is gorgeous! LOVING the colors!!!!!!!!


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Pattern Lovers – Tina Walker


Happy Tuesday from the Creative Squad! Today Tina Walker is starting us off on a new theme for June with a super cool canvas and a fun art journal spread using my Hamburg stencil and my Cardboard stamp set. This month’s theme is: Pattern Lovers Love Patterns: We admit it – sometimes we go a little crazy over cool patterns. We see them everywhere and whether it’s in the human-made stuff all around us or in the designs by Mother Nature, we love them all. So this month we’re playing with pattern and giving it the attention it deserves!

Hi! Tina Walker here today with a new month and a new theme. June’s theme is a theme that I am super excited about – Patterns!

Patterns and repeating images are some of the best ways to create interesting and eye-catching art. I am always looking for patterns in nature and for ways to create patterns out of patterns. My main project this month uses 1 stencil and 1 stamp to create an interesting piece full of pattern on pattern. Not only was it fun to make, it was quick and easy.

Place your favorite Nat StencilGirl stencil over a primed canvas, I used Hamburg. Using spray-mist, acrylic paint, or inks, paint over the entire canvas. I used Marabu Acrylic Art sprays that are permanent. Once they dry, you can layer one spritz over another without creating a muddy brown color. Love!

Randomly stamp canvas. Here I used Pie Top from Nat’s Cardboard stamp set.

Repeat this step, rotating the stencil 90 degrees so that the stenciled image overlaps the previous layer.

Repeat until you have a base that is full of yummy layers and pattern on pattern.

Place several widths of artist or masking tape over your stenciled/stamped canvas to create a pattern. I trimmed the edge for an interesting look.

Make sure the tape is securly adhered to the canvas.

Using your favorite spray paint, spray entire canvas in contrasting or coordinating color, I chose white. Then allow to dry completely. Remove tape.

Reveal the magic of pattern on pattern. This project took approximately 30-45 minutes, from start to finish! My kind of art.

As I was adding my stenciled layers to my canvas, I didn’t want to waste the gorgeous paint on the surface of the Hamburg stencil, so I ‘stamped’ the stencil to an art journal page. Not only did my patterned canvas create a super easy and fun piece, I had an instant background started on an art journal spread.

Here’s the spread I created with ‘stamp off’.

I love it when one project creates another. And pattern on pattern…be still my heart! ♥

I hope you enjoyed my projects today. Have a great day!

Thank you Tina for two projects that definitely celebrate PATTERN! Tina used these supplies – some links are affiliate links:

Play along with us this month and join the 30 day Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge! I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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What Makes You Different – Art Journal Page

I made this art journal page with my new 9×12 Hamburg Stencil which was inspired by my hometown Hamburg in Germany.

The “H” in the pattern refers to the city abbreviation of HH for Hansestadt Hamburg, and is found on license plates in the city.

I used grey spray paint over the stencil laid over a previously painted background

For the journaling I used the ArtGraf Varco sticks- which I love love os much and then went over the writing again with a wet brush to move the pigments.

The magazine image was painted over with some acrylic markers and pencils.

Here is a supply list for the spread

Comments (2)

  • jbonomo


    Love this page! Love the colors, the sketching over the magazine person and oh, that stencil. Thank you for sharing.


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Europe Workshop Tour- Part 3 – Short Stop in Germany


After Art Mesa in Madrid, Spain I flew to Hamburg, Germany for 3 days of Fun, Friends and Food. It was quite crazy with every two hours a different place and friend to visit. That was the good thing – the bad was, that the summer was basically missing. I don’t think I saw the sun in the time there -and I had to buy a warm rain jacket – and shoes (ohhhh to bad – LOL)


Staying in my old hood always makes me happy. For some it is a nightmare for me it is “home”


Fun sign – I liked it


Best subway ride going up alongside the harbor


The Elb Philharmony – also seen from the subway


short fly by at city hall


and my favorite office supply store Büromarkt Hansen – family owned – which also carries all those yummy Liquitex Spray Paints !


Did I say food? Oh and of course a little beer – yep – we are in Germany after all.



A walk at the harbor after dinner with a friend


And good old Bismarck crowned with a capricorn. A nice art action to criticize the way some antiquated and right groups in Germany use Bismarck and his Monuments for a weird personality cult.


Fun decoration piece at one of my friends house.

And that was it from Germany – next up is my trip to Finnland ;)

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Stroll Through The Hood … the new and old one

DISCLAIMER: This Blog Post contains a picture with a peeing panda – some might think of it as totally inappropriate . If you have a problem with this, you might be better off looking at something else . Don’t email me to complain, don’t visit my blog anymore because I might post things like this again and for sure shield your precious kids’ eyes !


A lot of times I get asked what inspires me. And one of my key answers is always “a stroll through the hood”. It might be street art, it might be thoughts or feelings connected with certain sights, it might be stuff I find to buy…in one way or the other you might find the photos, the thoughts, the feelings, the colors or anything from those strolls in my art journal, a mixed media project or a scrapbooking layout.

I would love to show you once a month what inspired me while strolling through my neighborhood. I hope you like the little insights into my daily life where I live . This is also a wonderful way for me to remind myself on the inspiring things in the hood. Maybe you get inspired by those posts and even invite ME to a stroll in YOUR hood – feel free to grab the logo and leave a comment for me on the post and share!

This time I am showing you some pictures of my stroll through my old hood in Germany – Hamburg (as I was there in May) and through the new hood in Jersey City :)


Love this paste up by El Bocho and yes it was so right …because I saw it the morning I came into Hamburg right after the red eye flight…gotta love jet lag…not ;)


Love this – one of my favorite junk stores with this fun sign reminding me of how much I miss German costumer service …not ;) – Sign reads: “The letters cost 1EUR and up! If you want to bargain because you think that is fun, you pay a higher price!”

If you know the rules you are fine, don’t you think? LOL


Fun fun fun colors and tile art


Miss this old squatted theater in the hood…yes, I know some of you might think of it as a terrible eye sore…I love it because this building is it’s last domain standing against tearing down wonderful old buildings in this hood and putting up new unaffordable apartment houses or another expensive empty office building.


This paste up just made me laugh ….a lot


and this

And now back to Jersey City – I love my new neighbor hood – there is so much to discover still:


Here is a street in Little India- so colorful and oh the food ….so good!


I love this probably 50s sign – and the fire stairs…


The cast iron around the entrances – so beautiful – I guess it makes sense that this is also referred to as the New Orleans Alley. I met Walt who lives here all his life and is a “bit” older, he told me that the steel workers that lived here a hundred years ago, didn’t like this at all because this reminded them of work. I find it so fascinating how these things change with different people – I sure love it but I might think different if you would put computer screens around my entrance or easels !


I love this mural by Alice Pasquini  – the colors make me swoon!


Some pictures of a recent bicycle tour on Liberty State Island. It was beautiful -just a couple minutes and you are out there in some nature and you see the city skylines (Jersey City and New York City) and it is amazing – what a million dollar view…for free :)


and another one for free


and this…this is the old train station in Liberty State Park. After the immigrants arrived at Ellis Island and went through the whole ordeal of immigration, all the people that would not stay in New York would start their journey to the rest of America from this train station. Which is now falling apart. Sad…such an amazing place, so much history and so many stories behind it! You can almost hear the hustle and bustle.


And then there is time for a picnic…with a free view of the Lady and crowded tourist ferries landing at her feed…or mine …or whatever.

I hope you enjoyed this stroll through my old and new hood , you must have liked it…I mean… I showed you a peeing panda, that is pretty impressive, don’t you think?  ;)

have a beautiful day!


Comments (6)

  • Vicki


    I’ve never seen a peering Panda! Thank you!!


  • Gerit


    Love all of it, the peeing panda make me lol


  • Sue Clarke


    It’s so fun to see what you see Nat. I love the wrought iron and it’s interesting to think about it from a worker’s perspective that they don’t wish to see (at home). I tend to take pics with one shoe in the field of view too so I liked that one especially.


  • Laura Strack


    I love going on your strolls. Thanks for taking me with you. Some day, I would love to visit Hamburg or New York and your strolls entice me more and more.


  • Kathy P


    Awesome eye for the artistic elegance of a place, Nat! Loved that beautiful mural, too—AND that cute panda!!! You should some day take a trip to Charleston and Savannah- I think you would enjoy much scenic beauty in the homes and wrought iron and cityscapes there so much! Thanks for sharing this again with us here!


    • nathalie-kalbach


      I love Charleston and Savannah. I have been there on my very first trip to the U.S. in 94- but def wanna go back ! Thanks for visiting me Kathy :)


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Stroll Through The Hood



A lot of times I get asked what inspires me. And one of my key answers is always “a stroll through the hood”. It might be street art, it might be thoughts or feelings connected with certain sights, it might be stuff I find to buy…in one way or the other you might find the photos, the thoughts, the feelings, the colors or anything from those strolls in my art journal, a mixed media project or a scrapbooking layout.

I would love to show you once a month what inspired me while strolling through my neighborhood. I hope you like the little insights into my daily life where I live (this is the last one from Hamburg, Germany). This is also a wonderful way for me to remind myself on the inspiring things in the hood. Maybe you get inspired by those posts and even invite ME to a stroll in YOUR hood – feel free to grab the logo and leave a comment for me on the post and share!



While on a Beatles-Tour with a friend (yes…you gotta do some sightseeing in your own city) I actually for the first time realized the St. Joseeh Church in my neighbor-neighborhood St. Pauli. The Beatles started their career in Hamburg and it is said that Lennon once said: “I might have been born in Liverpool but I grew up in Hamburg.” Well…same for me- I might have been born in Düsseldorf but I grew up here as well…or so I think…snigger ;)



Actually I let you down a bit on photos of the hood- LOL- there will be photos of me in the hood mostly. I asked Andreas Muhme to take some photos of me in the hood as a memory- and we had a wonderful morning.


He always makes me laugh and do the worst faces…I guess it is a face of the hood ;)



Here is actually my bestie, former room mate and maid of honor Esther goofing around in front of our old apartment. We used to live in the yellow house in the background which back then wasn’t as cutely renovated and we froze a lot with wooden windows and had the ugliest bathroom you could imagine. But oh I loved this little place – lot’s of happy memories connected with it.



And just recently they put up these tourist signs in my hood. It is quite funny for me- because 20 years ago when I moved here, my family would anxiously call me because they heard bad stuff again about my area on the news and would asked if I was ok. Nobody wanted to live here, the rents were still low and now, the rent skyrocketed, and it is constantly changing – some things are good some things are not good at all…this neighborhood is tourist destination when you go to Hamburg. I made a joke when I saw the sign and said “I guess it is indeed time to go now” ;)


And so..this was the last stroll through my Hamburg Hood (at least online ;) ) …I am moving in less than 2 weeks. Packing up stuff, doing lot’s of paper work, sorting, giving things away to friends, seeing lot’s of friends every day…slowly saying good bye to this wonderful place that was my home for 20 years. But I am so excited to stroll through my new hood in Jersey City next month and I cannot wait to share pictures with you.

Have a wonderful day!




Comments (17)

  • Scra


    Thank you SO much for sharing. Beautiful pictures of you!!! :D

    And how exciting to move to the big U.S!! That’s a big change!!! :)

    Moving both business and family — You go girl! :D

    You are brave!! :D


  • fran from down under


    Thank you so much for sharing the hood with us Nat. It has been a wonderful journey and I’m looking forward to following you as you start a new phase of your life .All the best . ENJOY


  • fran from down under


    Thank you so much for sharing the hood with us Nat. It has been a wonderful journey and I’m looking forward to following you as you start a new phase of your life .All the best . ENJOY


  • Madeline Rains


    This must be challenging. I love all the strolls through Hamburg that you have shared. On to new adventures!

    Your pictures also make me sad. I lived in exciting cities my whole life until I met my husband and moved to the country and I still miss that vibrancy of city life. But I am doing my best to embrace country life.


  • lily


    Lovely stroll. Bittersweet….. You will me missed!
    Looking forward to the new strolls in your new hood!!


  • suzanne bouchard


    Nathalie I wish you all the best in the USa but i really don’t understand why you are mking this move!


  • Mila


    Beautiful historie, I desire the best in the new city. Hugs


  • Sue Clarke


    Gorgeous pics of you Nat! Can’t wait to see what your strolls show us once you’re in New Jersey. Happy packing and I’m sure that your “see’ya laters” are full of memories and hard to say.


  • Laura Strack


    This must be bittersweet for you…but aren’t you glad you have been able to document all your memories of Hamburg? I am looking forward to your strolls and post when you get to Jersey, your new hood! Although I live in the states, I’ve never been to NY so it will be interesting and fun to see your new hood. TFS, Nat!


  • Marie-Anne Raeman


    Wish you the best of luck in your new hometown, can’t wait to read new stories about your new hood


  • Micki


    wonderful pictures of Hamburg. I love the pictures of you. He did an awesome job, really captured your personality. Looking forward to your strolls in Jersey City.

    PS: I hope I get to take some of your workshops now that you’re in the States. :-)


  • Corrine


    Pretty place your “hood”. I am sure you will miss the views and the friends as you start your new journey…xox


  • Kirsten Alicia


    Great photos, I hope I get to visit Hamburg one day. I hope everything goes smoothly for you in the next few weeks.


  • Cuchy


    Beautiful post.


  • Michelle Guest


    Thanks for the stroll… Hoping you have an easy move & a good transition to your new “hood”…


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Fragmented II or Hamburg*End(si)e Canvas

This is my favorite canvas that I created for the exhibition. Actually not only for the exhibition. I created it already with a place to hang it in my mind in our new home in Jersey City. It is a wall that is in the middle of our dining and living room – there is a little fireplace in the wall. So the plan is to hang this canvas on one side and make another one the same size  70x80cm (27.5×31.5 inches) – or the other side of the wall but with a Jersey City or NYC theme- have to see ;). mmmh- now I wonder if that is a size I can get in the States- better inquire – LOL .


Again symbols, landmarks and typical Hamburg-related things on this canvas.



I painted with Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paints, Markers and Spray Paints.



After this canvas I am almost striving to do even bigger canvases…but then there is the question, where to hang it – LOL.

Have a colorful day today :)



Comments (9)

  • Liz


    Love the vibrant colours on this canvas and I am sure it will look wonderful in your new home. Look forward to seeing its “partner”!


  • Corrine


    Love this big painting…but you are right, so paint on raw canvas so you can hang anywhere! Suspended from the ceiling! xox


  • Carol


    I LOVE this painting, and the idea of two depicting your “old” and “new” homes and hearts! Welcome to the USA from the deep South!


  • Laura Strack


    To satisfy the need to paint a larger canvas, maybe someone will hire you to paint their wall or a mural! Or you could start tagging while in New York! Lol. I can’t wait to see your NY canvas. You will definitely be able to choose from many iconic subjects.


  • Jean A Marmo


    Just so cool! Love the idea of a NJ/NY one!


  • Kathy


    Totally awesome design, Nat! This will certainly be a very special piece of art in your new home, and a treasured memory! Better bring a matching canvas with you….that is NOT s standard size in U.S. Getting close now, huh? Happy travels!


  • Ursula


    …………….but then there is the question, where to hang it …………….. zur Not organisierst du eben wieder eine Ausstellung *LOL* Aber der Stilwechsel ist schon spannend, wenn das man nichts zu bedeuten hat ;) und auf das “Gegenstück” bin ich gespannt

    LG Ursula


  • Kaz


    A masterpiece!! Love all the vibrant colours, it’s full of energy and very gorgeous!
    Kaz x


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