Stroll Through The Hood

Stroll Through the Hood – November 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

What a couple weeks this has been so far! just shortly after we moved in I had the film crew of Sketchbook Skool come over to shoot my part of Mixed Media Journaling – an amazing class with Seth Apter, Kecia Deveney , Mary Beth Shaw and yours truly. Check it out if you haven’t yet. It was so much fun and also weird to see this still new to me studio transformed into a filming studio …As you can see I was just my own goofy self ;)

We are also slowly putting artwork up and I love this piece we bought at the Art and Studio tour in Maplewood NJ. It is encaustic and by Kathy Cantwell. I loved seeing her process and also her transition from her older pieces like this to her newer pieces.

Bobby Pretzel also loves the house -his favorite is a new blanket – especially under the blanket spot ;)

As we are new garden owners we slowly adapt to the chores of having a garden – plus during the construction it was terribly abandoned and the parking ground for all kinds of debris and construction stuff. I like this little oasis a lot and since it is right off my studio I think it will provide me with some inspiration in the warmer months :)

I never get tired of this view from Liberty State Park – each time of the day and season change it ever so slightly.

Those views always make me realize how lucky I am to be able to see this every day if I want to – we often take things for granted after a while and it is good to hold on and think about the blessings in our life.

I love this massive sign on this store. Also …Cosmetics and Drugs ..I mean LOL- common!

I know I have been posting so many houses around my new neighborhood. There are all these little cute places …well some are massive – and it is funny how just a couple blocks away everything is quite calm all of a sudden and it is still a city but feels less like a city.

I love the facade of this apartment building and I actually already turned the arched brick part into a stamp. I have been carving a ton of stamps lately inspired by all kinds of little architectural elements in my neighborhood. It feels good to have more time in the studio again and to be able to turn some of the inspiration from my strolls through the hood into art. 


I hope you enjoyed this stroll through the hood and I hope I see you next month for the next one :) Have a gorgeous day

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Card Making Workshop in Jersey City – Dec 12

I hope you can join me on Thursday, December 12th for a festive evening of holiday card making in Jersey City! I am teaching a workshop at a new space in my hood and am excited to be bringing some stamping and watercolor fun to help you make a batch of 12-15 cards for your holiday wishes.

It will be a relaxing good time with lots of creating and some refreshments also will be served. Spend an evening with old friends and new, enjoying a holiday activity that will help you spread some joy too :)

You can learn more and sign up HERE

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Stroll Through the Hood – October 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Wow – the last couple weeks have been really crazy. Moving as you probably all know is not fun – and with having still contractors in the new house the day of the move and painting some parts of the house ourselves – I have been really exhausted to be honest. But it is all worth it :) Here is Pretzel telling me that this box is def. too small to pack all of his belongings.

Lamps were a big issue the last couple weeks- European lamps which were rewired but due to different mounting systems a challenge for our Electricians, lamp shades that were crushed accidentally by ladders. This gem above is an antique Halophane lampshade from around 1910 which an amazing lamp store owner around the corner found on his shelf and gave me for a wonderful price. It looks way better when the shade that was broken und boy do I love the grid and light it makes. I am obsessed

Nonetheless sometimes we made it with our bikes through the park to enjoy some of the fall weather – you need to breathe- don’t you think?

Art? LOL I loved how the movers packed our furniture. I am happy to report that besides one little piece of a lamp that went missing (did I mention that lamps were our little Nemesis the last weeks- LOL) , nothing was broken – they did a great job.

The last sunset from our apartment window even though I am super stoked about our new place, I will miss this view a bit. I can see a tiny bit of NYC skyline from our bedroom window but it is not the same :)

Our new kitchen ready for move in. I am so happy about the colors. We always wanted this retro mint colored fridge and we are so stoked to have it now being a colorful element in our kitchen.

I am still not done setting up my studio but as you can see I am getting there. Although I have about 3 1/2 times more space than before, I have less storage space as my old studio had a gigantic closet. Now to figure out where to store everything. As we still have contractors working and using the laundry room in the back for their tools- I have not successfully stored everything away. but I love it so far- I love that I have the fireplace and a sitting area in my studio as well – and once I can move my bike into the back – I will make use of it for sure. I also cannot wait for workshops in this new space- coming my friends – stay tuned :)

My favorite new addition to my studio is this wall easel – I am sooooo excited about it and boy – I cannot wait to start painting again.

We also tested our re-instated wood burning fireplace in the living room area – works like a charm. Very happy about it and ohhhh I see many warm and cozy evenings coming up in front of it.

The hallway down to my studio is now also finished. My husband and I exposed the brick wall and we are so happy we did. To lighten up the narrow space I had our contractors put in a stripe light along the stringer and it looks so cool. They made a nice molding to block off the light a bit and then we painted the stair threads the same color as the kitchen. That was a longer affair …let’s just say Bobby Pretzel has been quite the Houdini since we moved and fresh paint and cats do not go along ;)

Loved seeing Doug Madill painting in my neighborhood – I love his street paintings. 

We are so happy with our new house- most of the boxes are unpacked but there is still so much to do . Our contractors are hopefully finishing up all work this week – They rock but I would love to truly have the house for ourselves now – LOL. I feel like all my creative energy the last couple months was soaked up in the house reno and planning and I so cannot wait to get back to “normal” and have a real studio artist live again. Until then …see you next month! 

Comments (4)

  • Dee spillane


    The house is beautiful. Love it and your strolls. I even do them now when it’s not 100 degrees


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Awe- thank you Dee! Yeah when it is super hot or super cold it is indeed a challenge!


  • Sue Clarke


    Such wonderful space Nat!
    Bobby Pretzel looks like he could get into trouble. LOL
    Love the exposed brick…nice to have kept it.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you Sue!! hahaha- yeah- Bobby Pretzel is sure trying to get into trouble ;) LOL.


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Stroll Through the Hood – September 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

I am having a lot of fun exploring my new neighborhood. As you might have seen already in some of the previous posts there are a ton of gorgeous old houses. I do love the colors and intricate details on this Victorian house.

Don’t you love when Nature fights back? This parking side has some amazing patina and I do love the colors and texture of the tree as well.

Loving the scallop shingles and lines – these house are so adorable.

It is so interesting to see how about 3-5 houses are built the same way – probably formerly one lot belonging to one person and then broken up over the years.

This door is just so awesome- it a gorgeous art-deco house and I don’t know why I actually never photographed it- I walk by often.

Speaking of new hood- by the time you are reading it- I should be actually moving into my new home- cross fingers- but here is a picture from in between – the wall is gone in our middle section and we a floor :)

My husband’s office has a little formerly bed nook in the room -and I love the details of the molding. It has been painted a million time- maybe some day we strip it -but I am a bit over painting right now LOL- can you blame me?

Oh and look at this smiley face- that is how I looked when I harvested my first two tomatoes and one pepper. Stop laughing LOL- this is pretty awesome for this brown-thumb-city-lady :)

I “needed” a second Ukulele – yes I am obsessed LOL. Isn’t this wonderful – spalted maple has these gorgeous black lines -I am in love!

A progress of our new kitchen- again – by the time you read this- this is hopefully a finished kitchen :)

Tons of graffiti every where. I love that the fence says “Be A Better Human And Spread Love”

I wonder what will happen to those warehouses in the next couple years .

Hi Kitty!!! Loving the font and the colors- I want to be able to do this!

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my new hood and cannot wait to see you next month !

Comments (2)

  • Janet


    Wonderful post Nat! Congrats on your new home! There is so much inspiration in this group of photos…I may take some ideas, if you don’t mind! I am in the mountains for the week to winterize the cabin, but I brought some art supplies and will take advantage of my current mind frame. Thanks again for the wonderful images! Cheers!


    • Janet


      P.S. Congrats on your harvest also! I can relate! I get all excited about and am grateful for my puny harvests…


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Stroll Through the Hood – August 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

The past couple weeks were a whirlwind of emotions and things happening. We had a surprise good bye party for some very close friends who are moving to Texas -very sad and fun at the same time.

We made T-Shirts with a drawing I made of their house and to commemorated all the parties we had on that stoop. The back of the t-shirt had all the “famous” stoop sayings and we even had strangers asking us for t-shirts LOL. Maybe this could be a side business – Stoop Shirts – LOL.

By far the saddest moment though was when we had to say good bye to our wonderful little man Niles. He was with us for 19 1/2 years and he brought us so much joy and laughter over the years, he is truly missed. It is hard to not think of him during our daily routine because he was such a big part of it. I am sure anyone who ever had a pet can relate.

This fire hydrant is such an iconic American picture for me – LOL . I still wonder is that something that just happens or does someone open it up? It would be an even better picture with some kids jumping through the water.

Look at this wonderful color combination – we get these flowers at a farmers stand in NJ along with corn and tomatoes . Oh I am in love with Jersey tomatoes!

Our house is slowly progressing -the wall is out in the first floor – it is such a huge difference in space and light. This is going to be our living room, dining room area and in the back will be the kitchen.

One of our iron cast radiators – we had to remove one – but will keep the others. This thing is HEAVY!

How the kitchen looks right now …new electric stuff and since we passed the rough electric inspection it will soon be drywalled.

Big opening in the kitchen which will soon have a door going out on the new deck.

And here is our little Bobby Pretzel – he really misses Niles as well – and for the first couple days didn’t eat. He is very cuddly and I enjoy hanging out with him right now …maybe I should sketch this little guy :)

As you can see a lot of the strolls are simply to our house – LOL – we are on pins and needles at the moment but it looks as if we can move in at the end next month – wish us luck!

I hope you enjoyed the little stroll – until next month!

And check it out: my Exchange Place foam stamp is now just $4 in the shop! Love this stamp!

Comments (3)

  • Silvana Medina


    I just happened to be looking thru your website & came across the pics of your home and your fur babies – I’m so sorry for your loss, and you’re absolutely right. You think about them throughout the day, it’s really tough, they become part of the family & when they’re gone, there’s a void. We waited 8 months before adopting again. I imagine your remodeling has come a long way since it’s now Dec, good luck with everything. Regards, Silvana


  • Sue Clarke


    RIP Niles…so sorry for your loss Nat.
    The tees are wonderful.
    The deck looks like it’s boxing for gardens right now (looking through the openings).
    Is that your yard?
    Your home is quite the work in progress and it will be just what you want once done (well worth the wait)!


  • Diane


    Thank you for sharing your house renovations. I am sure you will enjoy.
    Sorry about your kitty. Little one is cute too. Hope he helps fill the void.
    All the best.


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Stroll Through the Hood – July 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

July is my favorite month of the year – well first of all it is SUMMER and then its my birthday and I am one of those dorks who like birthday and then you can sit outside all the time and just enjoy life :) Loving the view from our terrace ..and will enjoy it of the last couple months.

I am also very inspired by my new instrument …A Ukulele. Well – I have no musical bone in me and I tried learning the guitar when I was a teenager (any German here who remember Peter Bursch’s Gitarrenbuch?” hahaha). I failed miserably and mind you, no internet back then, no youtube etc. But for a while I had on my bucket list to learn an instrument and so my very musical husband gave me one for my birthday and I loooovee it! I have been playing every day since I got it and signed up for in person classes.

This wouldn’t be a stroll through the hood post without a picture from one of the bike rides through the park- here is Manhattan on an extremely hot and humid day …it was 87% humidity – blech.

Our house reno is coming along -and I learned this beautiful ceiling reveals the typical Balloon Framing invented in the States. I love it and almost wish we could expose the ceiling in one of the rooms- but you know you cannot have everything in such a small house LOL

Some street art at the back of a building down town which I actually rarely pass.

Some under the bridge street art.

Our deck coming along …I love all those lines- I also feel strongly inclined to sketch this as I feel it helps me understand painting buildings better seeing all those raw structures.

When they started taking down the reclined ceiling in one of the rooms (Why the heck do people do that?) we discovered some of the original crown molding. Keep your fingers cross we can keep it. The rosette of the ceiling already came crumbling down.

I love all those old houses in my hood. This one with the cute onion tower is saying – sketch me, sketch me!

And then you have this gorgeous house on the brink of falling down. It looks like there is a permit in the window so it will be interesting to see if someone can bring it back to its old glory of if it is going …sniff.

I love this graffiti also in our new hood! Impressive!

And then one day I decided to check out this church -it is a pretty impressing brick church but I didn’t expect it to be so quite beautiful inside- I didn’t go in as there was a service going on and I didn’t feel it was the moment to take pictures- but I will def. check again one other time.

I hope you enjoyed the little stroll – until next month!

Comments (2)

  • Sheryl


    I go around my neighborhood almost every day and find so many things inspiring. My husband walks me around and gets a little impatient because I stop so much to take pics. I put a dogs of Richmond on my Instagram and FB. People love it when you ask if you can take a pic of their dog. I just find so many beautiful things . I want to sketch them later but I think ….what’s the point if you already have a pic? Do you feel that way?


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Hi Sheryl- love that you are feeling the same about your neighborhood. I know what you mean about taking pictures and then not feeling the urge to sketch anymore – I do however sometimes sketch little details I see in the photo that I find inspiring for stamps or patterns – it is fun and I discover often even more in the picture than I saw at first glance in real life.


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Inspired By: Loew’s Theatre, Jersey City

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I attended a fundraiser event at Loew’s Theatre here in Jersey City. I have heard so many wonderful things about this theater I couldn’t wait to finally get a look.

Can you say Wall-paper bliss? LOL- but let’s start from the beginning- What is this theater? Loew’s Theater was opened in 1929 as one of the five Loew’s Wonder Theaters.

It was closed in 1986 and remained closed. An investor bought the theater and wanted to demolish it to build a new monstrosity on the spot. Preservationists began a campaign to save the structure and succeeded in saving the building from demolition.

The theatre was subsequently sold to the city of Jersey City, the current owner. Since then it is operated by a volunteer organisation, the Friends of the Loews.

During the 7 years the Friends of Liberty fought to save it, “the Theatre was abandoned and it decayed accordingly. Pipes froze and burst. Mold grew on the worn-out upholstered seats. Paint peeled from the dampness and cold. The roof leaked. Every surface became covered in dust. Before the City of Jersey City bought the Loew’s in 1993, an architectural report made it clear that nothing worked within the Theatre. The report estimated that it would take about $5 million just to get the Loew’s minimally operational, and at least $12 million to make the Theatre fully functional and up to code.”

The Friends of the Loews have been doing an insane amount of work to repear, and preserve the theater which had been in a horrible condition. Every weekend for years and still they met up to work in the theater.

Here is yours truly goofball lady shooting an infinity mirror photo in the foyer of the ladies room.

The theatre reopened in 2001 thanks to the FOL. Not all parts of the theater can be accessed for the public as to fire code regulations and problems and there is still a ton of work to do. There are some movie screenings, events and even weddings.

But oh my- tell me it wasn’t sooo worth it to preserve this place.

In 2010, the Village Voice called the Loew’s Jersey the “Best Movie Theatre in New York” — even though we’re located in Jersey City!

I loved the total overboard grand ceilings- all the details are just insane.

Look at the curtain

and the velvet paneling

I was just in awe seeing all this

Here is the men’s foyer- a little smoking room – go figure- LOL.

Wherever you move – amazing details.

The movie theater was amazing as well – I wanna see a move soon there. Above is an organ – it is not the orginal anymore but like the one that was there.

The ceiling and the balcony of the movie theater – you cannot go to the balcony- that is off limits for now.

Swoon !!!

Part of the appeal for me of course was that it was a bit run down and it showed the age- although I am fully aware that this is not good and that everything has to be done to preserve it.

I am amazed by this neighborhood organization ! I hope the city will step up to it’s commitment and give the funding it promised a long time ago to make this place fully functional again.

Maybe the city needs a Push!!!

BTW – I was super excited to learn that the The Strokes did their official video Under Cover of Darkness in the Loew’s theater. I am a huge Strokes fan – so I finish with that video for you :)

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke


    What a fun post Nat!
    I just love old buildings that have all that history and detail.
    The video was fun to watch as well.
    Hats off to the FOL for all their hard work.


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Stroll Through the Hood – June 2019

Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

Look at this gorgeous Allium in my garden! LOL- just a couple weeks ago I had no clue what those guys are called when they popped up but you my friends helped me quickly on instagram. I love the purple and green with this kind of fireworks look.

Around Journal Square are a lot of really ugly store fronts …sorry but it is the truth and I have to admit rarely do I look up but one day I did and I saw this gorgeous facade – look at the beautiful tiles with the flowers – I will now be a bit more on the look out and see what other little beauties I can detect there as well.

OK – now as I might have mentioned before I never had a garden, I am a terrible plant mother and I am excited like a little kid about anything that pokes it’s head out in our new garden. The rose bush though – I mean seriously …how gorgeous are those popping bright pink flowers.

And the Wisteria at the front of our house – I love those cute little flower buds -well not soooo little – LOL. They are called Blue Rain Flower in German – which I think is so fitting. I love how some of the colloquial names for flowers are so descriptive and creative.

Speaking of words- LOL – this sign at a dessert bar made me laugh! And yes …I a brie – cheese is dessert.

More NYC views from the routine bike rides through Liberty Park – see the “tiny” Empire State Building and the WTC ?

We also went a bit adventurous and explored the Bergen Arches – a little strip of abandoned railway passage through the Jersey City which is being discussed as a park – we are totally up for it.

Some weathered Graffiti under the bridges

And NATURE – in the middle of a buzzling loud city – crazy – and beautiful and crazy …

Some urban petroglyphs …wonder if in 1000 years someone tries to figure out what the meaning of this is and will call it newspaper rock- hahahah

Here one of the many “arches” on the way

Lot’s of garbage down here too – but there was something about this grungy dirty , colorful area with nature taking it back that I found interesting ….

OK for those of you who might have now wrinkled their nose …smell that rose ;) LOL. Sorry still back to my rosebush – I am sure like totally gaga about it – please don’t let me kill this gorgeous plant!

And we also bought a little buttterfly bush for the front of our house . This was one of our first plant we bought for our roof deck when we moved into our apartment in Hamburg, Germany and you know …we are romantic sentimental fools LOL.

We are still enjoying our deck in our apartment here – and as you can see, so does Niles who turned 19 in May. He loves the deck and as Bobby Pretzel is not allowed yet on the deck because he is a suicide contender, Niles loves the time he has just with us as well. He always just sits on the chair while we eat and talk and pokes his head up to the sun. Wise guy!

I hope you enjoyed the little stroll – until next month!

Comments (2)

  • Jean Goza


    Always love strolling with you!


  • Sue Clarke


    Nat, as always I so enjoy your strolls and that you share them with your fans!
    Bobby Pretzel not being allowed on the deck is a riot (in how you described him).
    Yeah for Niles being 19!
    I have a thing for arches as well. They make me think that I can pass through time.
    Keep posting,


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Stroll Through the Hood – May 2019

May is almost over- wow that was a pretty wet month here in New Jersey but nonetheless I was able to do some Strolls :) Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

This is from the beginning of the month – look at the amazing sunset – I always love this view the trees and our pencil factory buildings when I come home.

I love those houses on a side street of The Beacon, an old huge Hospital complex now Apartment complex – the little balconies and the colors- swoon.

Here is a part of The Beacon which has a ton of tall buildings which are the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in New Jersey. One day I would really like to go inside- some of the areas are suppose to look stunning. I had students in my classes in NYC who told me they learned being a nurse there and they would never move in there because they swear it is haunted. MMHH…though I do not believe in these things …I love hearing those stories …probably the reason why I am so scared when watching anything suspenseful hahahah- maybe a little bit in my does believe after all ;)

This house above is the Hilton-Holden Homestead- which is considered to be Hudson County’s only surviving safe house on the Underground Railroad. “David and Edward Holding, aspiring astronomers deeply immersed in abolition causes, are thought to have used their observatory mansion to shelter runaway slaves.” You can see a little bit of the observatory to the left of the pediment and it is believed that it was used for signaling.

Little head poking out – Love how weathered it is and still intriguing.

Cherry Trees in Liberty State Park framing the Manhattan skyline

and leading towards Lady Liberty

We always stop here so my husband can skip some stones, funny little habits :)

And this view never gets old for me – I love it – riding the bike through the park and seeing this.

BTW that is behind me when I look towards Manhattan – the only bridge – not for public – to Ellis Island. That’s how all the tourist sandwiches get transported over LOL. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just bike over there?

A burned out house in the new neighborhood. So sad to see this. I wonder how this will look like in a couple years – if they will take it down or gut it. It belongs now to a developer and the house to the right which actually looked pretty nice from the outside was totally stripped off its remaining ornamental original window and door parts and now looks like a typical Flipper-Frankenstein house.

Speaking of houses …here is our hallway where we started exposing some of the brick. It is a brick house after all.

I hope you enjoyed the little stroll – until next month!

Comments (2)

  • Michele


    I worked in Jersey City for many years before I retired. I miss the wonderful sights/sites you posted. Your photos were fabulous. I do get back there about once a month and have been mesmerized by some of the wonderful street art. Thanks for posting these photos. — Michele


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