Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Bread Basket Tenants


I'm actually contemplating a rental fee for the ever popular bread basket. No way I'm too big for this basket.


Especially for tenants that has subjected the rental object to undue strain and pressure. Snug as a bug in a bread basket. No I most definitely do not look like a furry rise dough, hrmf.


Although I'm probably willing to overlook that fee for the more photogenic always immensely clever looking posers.

~ Have a good weekend, inside or outside the comfort of a breadbasket ~

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Exception to the Rule Friday Treat


For years now I have had a sneaky suspicion that the mailman working my neighbourhood has a four days working "week", since with very very few exceptions my mailbox is never blessed with content on Fridays. It doesn't matter if I do expect mail, it hardly ever is delivered on Fridays.

So when I haphazardly take a peek in mailbox on Fridays - because hope is the last thing that goes - and actually find something I tend to get all giddy excited. Today was such a day. I had a look and inside was a padded envelope without a return address. Since I'm easy to please when it comes to content in my mailbox I found it very intriguing.

Inside the envelope was something grey and woolly... And as it turned out it was a very-Pia looking cute wool/cashmere cap from Aussie - the hair care range I wrote about was finally coming to Sweden - perfect for hiding those bad hair days (which I of course never have, unless I have a close encounter of the toy car kind). Oh I must have been a good girl, at my best behaviour, getting a cute cap and mail on a Friday.


In general I'm so not a fan of very obvious placed and attached labels, but I think this one is rather fun, not to mention the message being easy to relate too. Well at least for all those, excluding undersigned of course, who know what a bad hair day means.

The cap is in a limited edition of 150, and if you're Swedish and doesn't belong to the in-cap-crowd you can apparently enter a competition at the Bad Hairday site if you're willing and brave enough to upload a photo of yourself having a bad hair day. You can win a cap and products from Aussie.

Thursday, January 29, 2009



Probably every Swedish child growing up during the 60-70-80ies knows how to make these sweets, the recipe could then be find on most every package of oatmeal sold in Sweden. Making them made for a perfect and innocent pastime with friends, they were sold in most every school cafeteria, served at any school class party.

This was the era before Sweden became a very anxiously aware of everything that could maybe possible perhaps be construed as non political correct-country, instead of having open non-prejudicial discussions about things, the whys and the hows. These balls got caught in the new PC-awareness and lost their traditional and, in hindsight, ambiguous name. We live and learn. It's a sweet that stirs up quite a lot of emotions these days. And not only pleasant ones.

The Swedish Equality Ombudsman has recently banned the word deeming it offensive and derogative. From then on this classic spherical Swedish sweet made from butter, oatmeal, sugar, cacao, cold coffee rolled in coconut (pearlsugar or chopped almonds) got a name change because its name - a derivative from the Latin word "niger" which simply means "black" - was concidered obsolete and associated to slavery, oppression and a lack of respect for every human's equal value.

Most people call them chocolate balls now. Or oats balls. Others call them by their original, ambiguous name. Another name is "kalla dem vad du vill bollar"/call-them-whatever-you-like-balls. The name may be debatable, but the recipe is simple and moreish. Here it is and it makes about 23 sweets - enjoy!

100 g softened butter
3 deciliter oatmeal
1 deciliter white sugar
2 tbsp cacao
1 tbsp cold coffee
1 teaspoon vanillasugar
shredded coconut

Mix the ingredients properly, form them into small balls and roll them in shredded coconut. Put in fridge for a while before you serve them. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My MOO Card Debacle


Now has come the time to write a bit - notwithstanding what you might think once finished reading this post, this is not the long winding real life story - about this past Christmas Holiday cards.

You know, the one thing I have very strong opinions about when it comes to Christmas traditions. And I like to give most of the recipients of cards from me a special and personal treat when possible, hence I like to make an effort, there should be an extra thought behind the cards I send. If all the recipients in question pick up on that, well, that's a whole other story...

Since I've been so pleased with my MOO mini and business cards I thought I'd splurge and give the postcards as well as holiday cards a go too. The holiday cards also had the extra brilliant appeal of the sale benefiting the World Society for the Protection of Animals. A most, most worthy cause. Indeed.


A decision that turned out to be, from the very start, a complicated and far from satisfactory business. Which I now feel most appropriate to vent a bit about, since things in the end - after a lot of grump and bickering on my part, despite what some might think, not my favourite past time... - have been sorted out in a reasonable way;

1. countless times over a period of 2-3 weeks I was, in vain, trying to upload and order holiday cards, postcards and stickers. Very far from the "only a few minutes to upload and complete the process"... Different computers, different times of the day, many hours I was forced - everything is relative but I use the term "forced" since if I gave up the whole thing and much coveted stuff completely that meant I had been putting down a whole lot of time and energy for absolutely nothing... - to wait and wait until either there was a MOO error message of some sorts or the MOO site had a "lock down".

2. The products that I actually had been able to already put in my cart disappeared with the "lock downs" - I do hope there'll be a future change that makes it possible to save things in your cart and return for touch ups/order/payment later.

3. With the risk of losing yet another batch already in my cart I had to place separate orders, hence having to pay twice the shipping. My original intention was to order for the get-free-shipping-sum, but since I really didn't want to lose yet another order in the cart I succumbed to this less than satisfying solution.

Then I waited. Then I received the postcards, of which about 20% were way out of crop, too reddish in tone, or too grey. Grump.

Then I waited. Then I received the holiday cards. Where about 45% were even more way out of the so called 2 mm bleed area as far as cropping was concerned or too dark or in weird colours (some of them to the low left above). Very much gnarl. Hence the very upset complaining began.

Which, after the first neither rhyme nor reason reply, did pay off - if you don't start counting the hours and energy invested... - and, without getting in to details I think the MOO team has been rather reasonable and kind in their efforts to kind of compensate me for all the trouble and all the money I've put in to this. Oh my oh sigh, all just because I'm a discerning Christmas card sender...

The MOO stickers all turned out great by the way, 90 lovely stickers in a sticker book with the colour of your choice (yeah, I'm forever young at heart and a sucker for neat colour matched and personalized packaging). Very neat and fun for both business as well as personal use I think.

Personal conclusion from all of this; even if the system bug that afflicted some holiday cards might be fixed by now I'm *slightly* hesitant in ordering new ones with photos of beings that might be cropped into half headed or legless creatures. I kind of like that what I see (and crop myself) on screen (plus 2 mm bleed area) is what I get. What can I say, I'm finicky that way.

I will also very carefully chose - to hopefully be on the safe non bickering side - which photos I will turn in to MOO postcards in the future. I will however, most definitely, order more of them, because the ones who turned out fine, turned out pretty darn great with the neat personalized reverse.

And if there's such a thing as a love story with business card, well then that's exactly what I'm experience with the MOO eco friendly ones. Because I get all giddy happy over them, love showing them off - in a hopefully somewhat modest way - getting people to tell me their favourite colour, interest, animal, food, season, landscape, mood, whatever and then carefully present them with the perfect personalized business card and conversation starter that shows a little piece of my labour of love. Will. So. Order. Again. And. Again. And...


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ruby Tuesday - Tidö Castle Threesome


Tidö castle is situated in the middle of practically nowhere - that is, from a city dweller's point of view, about 1,5 hours drive northwest from Stockholm city -, a pretty yet slightly modest looking white building that sports - look carefully - rather bold, for a castle, and snazzy looking red window frames.

The castle, built in 1624, is one of the best preserved Renaissance castles from that era in Sweden. Open to visitors May to August it also hosts a toy museum, a restaurant, a chapel and, of course, a castle shop.


I'd imagine that once upon a time the castle was quite a self sufficient place with it's own bell tower - and yes the surrounding farmers tend to live in the classic Swedish wooden houses red with white corners - as well as...


... it's very own petrol station, now out of service but still standing boldly erect in that middle of practically nowhere field rural Sweden.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Smoothie


From yellow tulips, to one mr Y, to another smoothie, this time, of course, yellow. A smoothie that obviously is very tempting for one (yellow nuance) cream cat named Pelle. It was a wonderfully yummy smoothie made from two bananas, two squeezed oranges, one kiwi and a handful of goji berries.

I'm sure one quarter or so of a galia melon would have made a lovely addition to the foursome. Perhaps a piece of fresh (or for that matter tinned) pineapple too.

Dash of cardamom, sprinkle of psyllium and generous amount of sunflower seeds - oh my, yellow is truly mellow.

The End of Mr. Y

When in high school I found the philosophy lessons - compulsory for a student of classics at that time, nowadays the Swedish high school curriculum seems such a muddle I have no idea how it works or what it consists of - quite a treat, notwithstanding the very less that exciting teacher. Philosophy was such a mind and eye opener, although I could also imagine how those thoughts and ideas could easily turn the mind as well as life into something quite, quite different. Not always in a good way.

But as my mind like to be of use, as my thoughts like to work I thoroughly enjoy books and ideas that keep me thinking, that keep me questioning, that keep me interested, that keep me evolving. Just the kind of book I've now finished, the first book I carefully chose to begin my new year with, the one book that will set the standard of my year if you will, "The End of Mr. Y" by Scarlett Thomas.

What can I say, other than I'm so very happy that I did step into that bookstore just to browse a bit that day. That I did pass that corner and that shelf with that book in an intricately amazing cover, a foretaste of an intriguing story on the back cover with promising cries of mesmerized reviews sharing the space. And that I return to buy it a couple of days later, letting it bide its time in my ever growing to-read-heap of books I can't resist getting - I rarely borrow books, I want them to be mine, mine, all mine forever and ever... - , allowing it to be my number one of 2009.

It was a most wonderful and utterly satisfactory first read. I was spellbound from the first page - admittedly from the first time I set my eyes on the book... - and it certainly did turn out to be as ingeniously intelligent and delightfully masterpiecey as the voices on the cover claimed. And then some.

The book itself is written in a way that's so easy to embrace - I most always find that the best books are the ones written in first person singular, with that often comes an intensity other books just don't master - and the quirky original story offered an enthralling literary roller coaster ride, with great care taken to details. The narrative web enlacing so many different subjects - such as thought experiments, philosophy, love, quantum physics, time travel, homeopathy, s*x, religion, paradoxes (got to love those!), animal rights, biology... - making it a truly enchanting read. With a beautiful ending to the wild literary ride for people who, as the author says, can never escape language and metaphors.

I loved, still love, my first book of the year. Do read if you want a mind and thought evolving experience set in a brillantly told story. Many of the suggestions presented in the book still haunt me in an interesting way, as more than worth to explore chaplets of ideas. This book will keep me returning for more.

And yes, it does remind me of another wonderful special calamity read last year, as well as kafka shore.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spring Signs

At last for some, a plethora of tulips available everywhere in Sweden now, one small sign of spring to come...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stina Smitten, 1 Year Gotchaversary


Today is the 1 year gotchaversary of one blue gal named Stina Smitten - read about her arrival here. One lovely looking handbag - my *slightly* guilty pleasure - who has proven to be a fab camera carrier - yes, with a little work and rearranging even the tele lens fits along with the other necessities - and, as proven in picture, a fearless fighter of lions. In other words, pretty much everything one handbag borderline addict can ask for.

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Happy one year gotchaversary, my blue companion!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fiffi's Good Night Kiss

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"Have you bathed ? Yes, darling - Have you brushed your teeth? Yes - Have you shaved? Yes - Now you can give Fiffi a little good night kiss..."

*Any similarities to undersigned's world are purely coincidental*

Fridge magnets with Swedish comic creator Ulf Lindkvist's Assar and Jan Stenmark's collages can be found at Designtorget. Perfect pawky wee gifts for yourself or someone else with a quirky sense of humour.

~ Have a good weekend ~

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Like Father Like Son


One of my (unique) selling points when it comes to breeding cats is that cats brought up by yours truly are very clever and advanced with a certified membership in the cat brain trust. And even if M constantly has to point out that they are very obviously of the non clever looking kind, we with brains to use know that looks can be oh so completely deceiving.

I'm still not quite sure how to interpret - or grade on the omnipresent clever scale - the fondness for breadbaskets my cats - still living at original home as well as moved out - perpetually like to flaunt.


The other day one classic - a k a much loved by many in this residence - breadbasket happened to be left on kitchen table. The next time I passed the kitchen there was one semi-small black panther who had managed to curl himself down there looking all content - that is until I showed up with one annoying flashing camera - and happy.


This morning the bread basket was occupied by another of my typically - albeit not bred by yours truly - clever looking furry dudes. Being the picture perfect example of like father like above son.

Who said odd fellows can't be clever ones, in the case of bread baskets I know one can safely deduct that it takes lots of brains, loads and loads of smart grey cells, to figure out how to get one not so small body dressed in fur into one quite small non flexible area and there find at least one, possible more, comfortable position.

And then figure out exactly how to get all snuggly cosy for as long as possible and not letting any less distinguished member of the famous cat brain trust make a sneaky take over. Now that does require a lot of ingenious thinking and a membership in Mensa for Cats.

I'm proud to share house with a few of these remarkably apt cats. And I'm even prouder for having bred such clever creatures.


When Dolphins Fly


From October to at least March using reflectors is pretty essential and life saving living in Sweden with its many dark hours per day. And I suppose during the dark hours the rest of the year too, since 40% of all traffic accidents with walking people involved happen during the dark hours.

The reflectors are often firmly sewn in children's clothes, these past years more and more grown ups use reflector vests, you put them on the dog's collar and leash and most common of all reflectors, attach them to the outdoor garments with a safety pin.

Myself I hang one on most every handbag as well as one in each pocket of my coats and jackets. Apparently the fine optical parts in a reflector can be easily worn down and don't age well, hence they should be handled with care for a longer life. Though I doubt most of us bother, since reflectors are cheap and come in a plethora of different styles every winter season. Sold at most every department store, shop, pharmacist, gas station and supermarket, in other words, pretty much everywhere. They're often a common freebie with company prints on them too.

Myself I sport reflectors in shape of hearts, flowers, snowflakes, ghosts, Ahlgren's cars (the world's most sold car), cats, Lilla My (Little My), dogs, Lilla Spöket Laban (Little Ghost Laban) - but the one above that I spotted in a tree (even trees in Sweden apparently need pretty reflectors) looking happy content the other day, that's the first one in dolphin shape I've seen. Though I wouldn't mind having a reflector like that one, any tips on where dolphins looking exactly so are sold is much appreciated.

At the National Society for Road Safety you can read more about the use of reflectors and how to test if they still work (only in Swedish). There are also certain legal requirements concerning reflectors on vehicles in Sweden and a best in test reflectors 2008

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monkey Business


I found this photo in a travel magazine at the hairdresser's the other day and was completely mesmerized. I immediately went and got my own copy of the magazine and I just can't get enough of looking at the photo. Such a wonderful capture of a curious character!

Apparently the monkey (Indonesian black-crested macaque) earned his nickname Trouble-maker due to the great interest he took in the photographer's, Italian Stefano Unterthiner's doings. The photo won the category Animal Portraits in the BBC competition Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008.

As much as I love the photo it also makes me think of how human beings try their very best in
extermination of the species, through meathunting, deforestation of the monkeys natural habitat, for non sustainable palm oil plantations, cash crops and logging. That thought truly, little by little, breaks my heart.

More beautiful, evocative photos of the macaque family - and other animals - can be found at Unterthiner's website

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cat Sheep Kettle Holders


Just wanted to share these pretty kettle holders I got as a present, the cat one many years ago and the sheep one last winter. I guess it's quite obvious by the pristine look of them both I haven't really used them for their original purpose. They're just too exquisite for that I think, so they hang in my kitchen just being pretty eye candy. Also such things are needed in life as well as kitchen.

And no, I haven't tried making something similar myself, to be honest, I don't think I'd have the patience to make something quite as elaborate and delicate with yarn and needles. Hence I leave that to others, more gifted in the yarn craft patience department. And relish my gifts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When Globalization Came to Fjuckby


Those less than happy days, those days of blue - and we all have those, right? - , one can at least be grateful for not having the mailing address Fjuckby.

Yes, the village name is a rather... mildly (more than, if you're in that mood) ... amusing name in Swedish too, but apparently this village in Sweden have been made into an international joke since many English-speaking visitors have travelled all the way to Fjuckby just to ridicule the village and its inhabitants.

The villagers blame globalization and the community is suffering from an epidemic of embarrassment hence has applied at the surveyor's office for a name change. In vain. Who said Swedes have a lack of proportion. And no sense of humour.

More in English, på svenska

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Edinburgh Blend III - In Black & White Only


Time for the final Edinburgh Blend in the series of three according to undersigned - first blend, second blend ~

Old Calton Burial Ground
Parts of New Town
At Waterloo Place
The National Monument, Calton Hill
Very noisy roadworks at Grassmarket
Enthusiastic men at so-so work at Grassmarket
Preparing for the Edinburgh Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle
The dog Bum in Princes Street Gardens, read more
The Nelson Monument, Calton Hill

Friday, January 16, 2009

The World's Largest Saffron Bun

There have been the world's best vanilla bun and the world's largest cinnamon bun on Cinnamon Bun Day. Now, in the aftermaths of St Knut's Day and as a reminder of the Christmas season, I'd like to introduce the world's largest saffron bun -


The IKEA battery (yes Swedish all the way) is not in the picture for consumption purposes but for size comparison. Just in case someone thought otherwise. Saffron, saffron buns, "lussekatter" is very classic in Sweden around Christmas so this enormous bun - serves four satisfied "fika" (as in coffee break) people - was sold at the same place as the above mentioned huge cinnamon bun, Café Saturnus, around that time. It smelled divine and was also filled with almond paste, but as far as consistency and flavour... well I thought it was rather dry and bland.

My personal saffron bun conclusion; if you want something well done do it yourself, yup, I always prefer the authentic lussekatt made by yours truly. Bought ones and fancy schmancy new recipes never quite seem to do it, whilst ol' reliable recipe never fails ~

~ Have a good weekend ~

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fierce Creatures & Funky Squeakers


Since wee hippo at the moment (finally) is having a well deserved rest & relaxation time under the small bookshelf with his friends the squeakers - though by the looks on their faces I'm sure they're up to something no good under there, like forming a loud toy band by the name Hip Hippo & the Funky Squeakers as means of revenge for loaf dog torture. One of these days whining lamentations and litanies of squeaker sorrow will be heard from under that shelf - time has come to tell the story about the Nobel Prize quality invention of one garden hose toy that's without a doubt the most durable and reoccuringly fun toy as far as doggie loaf is concerned.


Once upon a time the hose lived a quiet, yet hard working, life in the garden of one red house in the suburbs of Stockholm. After years and years of that hard hose work it was time for retirement and long lazy days of doing nothing much at all. Or so the hose thought when it was retracted from it's usual place at the water barrel in the garden. Then attached to an iron pipe it sighed and thought "finally, from here on only many lazy days in the sun and rain and snow come summer, autumn, winter and spring for me, myself and I. I will now reap the fruits of all my hard garden work".


Little did the garden tube know, that soon, all too soon, would one supercharged, energetic loaf doggie extraordinare discover the uttermost joy of biting, fretting, tearing, drooling, yip yapping the poor hose to exhausting borderline (from hose point of view) scraps.


After more than five years of loafie company garden hose still persevere almost unharm (from human point of view) in the most stoic and dignified way, still being numero uno favourite toy but still with times of rest and relaxation by loafie oblivion.

At the moment though it is one of the most annoying things and past times under the roof of one red house in the suburbs of Stockholm, heard from afar slithering on floors, bumping into walls accompanied by pitter patter of paws and excited snorting, upon that all but one extraordinarily fierce creature can agree.


Although one day - in an hopefully not too far future - one garden hose will most probably seek refugee some place secluded, dark and out of reach from relentless loafie fangs and from that dark, secluded place will soon be heard heartbreaking jeremiads of never previously performed in public complaints from unforgiving one toy band Honky Huffed Hose.

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