Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in 12 pictures


When the year draws to an end I thought it would be nice - if not very original - to chose one (only one) photo from every month of this past year (that was so very far from a favourite year of mine). If not a favourite year, at least one favourite photo per month, that shouldn't be so hard, right?

Above is Mr January - aka snow bouncer no 30.013 (the new computer doesn't upload/count pictures in the way that the old one did, thus I have long since lost count on how many photos have come out from this camera of mine now...)


February - Bosse, the monkey who helped with that giveaway. Because his quirky little appearance makes me smile. And smile, laughter and happiness I hope for much, much more during 2011.


March - was a many good things caught well with camera. But this chickpea soup has helped us easy peasy quick through many a desperately hungry moments over the year that passed. Easy recipes for the win.


April - too was a good month as far as photos were concerned, if little else. But these shoes, these yellow beauties made me smile, feeling confident, walking comfortable during many a day during that year. I'm hoping they will soon again.


May - difficult to chose just one photo in the month of May too. But I love these calf butts, at kosläppet. And my compassionate heart has bled a lot for animals during 2010. May 2011 be a better, eye-opening for the uncaring narrow-minded year.


June - we all need more carrots and blue skies in our lives. Amigurumi or not.


July - was the month of revisiting Berlin. It was a great month. And since it's too difficult to chose just one Berlin photo to symbolize I will chose the one I have as my screen saver. Because it symbolizes some of the truly fortunate things in 2010, the German shoe sales and the importance of good shoes to get you to good happenings quickly and from bad issues fast. And the absolute must in life, cats. Inspecting.


August - the loafie's seven year do. It was a taste blast. And a perfect reminder of the need for more party in life. To make an effort to create those party moments. To take time to celebrate the good things. Especially when life is bleak.


September - when the summer still lingered on, the month showed the importance of taking time to enjoy the company of friends and acquaintances on little day trips. I hope for 2011 to bring more such outings, in good company, with good food. The month also showed the importance of red shoes, but that's of course another post.


October - the birthday month, the month of new beginnings (in 2010 also sadly the month the snow came to town already), the month of red vacuum. May this vacuum sweep the life plate clean and ready for new beginnings. For real. For sure. For good. And yes, more red in life. And pink, of course. Always.


November - was a month of both lows and highs. Amongst the latter was yarn, M&M and the snow was oh so pretty. Yes, with yarn everything seems lighter, brighter and better. And soon there will be a new year, a lighter, brighter, oh so much better year than 2010 was.


December - has brought laughter and tears. Bitter cold, but gorgeous snowy winter views. The year ends like it begun, with a little liquorice nosed fella, with a Christmas cap and whom snow becomes. May his always curious, always confident, bouncy happy but with an endearing philosophical streak, always hungry for life (and good food) with excellent olfactory features (sniffing out the good from the bad before anyone else) personality be a beacon and inspiration for 2011.

I wish you the happiest, most prosperous,
fantastically glorious of new years!
May 2011 bring us many good things
we have wished for and then some!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

gingerbread tea


Flavoured loose teas can be such disappointments. This one was one of the non-disappointing ones. Absolutely delicious, gingerbread/snap (pepparkaka) flavoured. Spicy, wintry, Christmassy. I'm delighted to have made its acquaintance indeed.

Not only pleasing to the palate, but most pleasing to the eye too.


I found this tea at Esters The & Kaffehandel,
the place that has the most excellent afternoon tea.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

two kinds of siri

siri socks

From great to small matters, I am a sucker (the good kind) for details and meant-to-bes. Thus the reasons for me buying these socks (on sale) was as follow;

:: I already have a pair in another colour and they've been good.
:: the colour is a most charming one and versatile, I usually refer to it as "mole"
:: but the label calls it "otter melange"
:: I love otters. Not only because they're one of this earth's cutest creatures
:: but also because there's a little personal cat story behind the otter-thing -
:: there once was a gorgeous blue british shorthair boy named Uther. One of the most gorgeous, perfect brits I've ever met.
:: This Uther was named after Uther Pendragon, king Arthur's father. Something which an anglophile like me finds most endearing.
:: Uther the gorgeous cat sired my C-litter (I name my kittens alphabetically) in 1995. One of the kittens was the sweetest of cream boys. His name began with a C, but his owner (one of my oldest friends) thought

A) also that Uther (pronounced "utter" in Swedish) was a cute name (one which the owner of Uther above didn't call him on a daily basis, it was only his pedigree name),
B) that the Swedish spelling Utter which means just that, otter, would be the perfect everyday-name for this cream boy. Since he also turned out to be the funniest, perkiest cat epitome of an otter (he was one of the four kittens crazy about water. And son to my beloved Aurora, father of my cream sweetie Eulalia).

That creamy boy was one of the loveliest, most entertaining cats I've so far had the fortune to see grow up during those first 12 weeks in my care. He'll forever have a special place in my heart. His face had the cutest mischievous otter-teddybear look.

And there we have my reasons for getting this last pair available socks in shop. Yes, this is how my mind wanders and confer within my head. From the silliest sock-thing to more serious matters. Most all the time. Not always put to paper, or to blog, but still, it discuss and reflects, pros and cons, the reasons for why this and that is a good or bad idea.

~ Another magic moment, in a dressing room many years ago, was when I tried on a cardigan and suddenly the theme from my number one favourite movie, the most perfect of perfect "A room with a view" - the fantastic "O mio babbino caro" with Kiri te Kanawa - played in the shop. That *never* happens. The cardigan was destined for me. Naturally ~

When I got home, unwrapped the socks (from which this post stems, in case my ramblings have made you forget) I also saw that the socks were called Siri. Which of course made their moving in with me even more of destiny. Of serendipity. Which I love. Love in another way than the furry, dotty, cuddly, sweetie Siri, but still love.

siri cuddle

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the christmas weekend that was

Previous shown ingredients of Christmas in this residence shown have been; bowl of heavenly rice, the Christmas cap chap, Stockholm, and Sweden, covered in lots of snow,

many cups of tea, gnomes,


cuddly cats and such. And the writing of Christmas cards -

a tradition I have every intention to stick to come next year. Despite this year being the leanest of Christmas-cards-received year ever. I do understand people sending personalized (as personalized as non-tangible Internet and computerized stuff can be) e-cards and Christmas emails, for financial and environmental reasons. I really do.

But I have no understanding whatsoever for the useless, impersonalized mass-Christmas-emailing some do. Bad manners galore. So you guys who keep on doing that, leave me out of your mailing-list next year, okay? To get such obviously uncaring greetings only annoys me.

- and the popping by some Christmas fairs. (Where at one of them I found the most amazing second hand arm chair, most worthy of its own post one of these days).

tant brun

There have also been some nice café-visits.

And lot of yarn activities. I'm pleased to say some projects have finally been finished (with various degrees of satisfaction regarding the finished product). Some very nearly finished. At the moment kitchen table works as a craft studio (warm, cosy, center of the house, close to the kettle and fridge) and I hope to be able to finish more stuff soon. Feeling crafty and trying to make the most of the fact that it's not quite time to return to the not-so-rosy-reality yet.


december neighbourhood

There have been some winter walks in bitterly cold and pretty surroundings. During daytime and on evenings.


I got a surprise microwave (always nice for thawing and such minor stuff). My old one was 20 years old and have been crap, though still kind of working, for years. But somehow another pair of shoes always seems much nicer an investment than a new microwave. Priorities, people, priorities.


The time spent watching movies and TV-series was accompanied by yarn and my mother's "knäck" (Swedish toffee-like Christmas candy). Lovely. This year they knäck unfortunately came with the most unwelcome flatulent side effects. If I had my own thermal gas plant I would probably be set for the next year or so.

bromma blocks

We also popped by some intermediate days sales, picked up some nice things - which yes, does conflict the anti-commercialistic vs bargain-hunting side in me... - and had my first latte for ages. Overlooking the parking lot before all the hoards of shoppers arrived...

It has been a quiet (apart from loafie's constant barking on the poor birds in garden whom he doesn't think have the explicit right to be hanging around in HIS garden), unpretentious, relaxing Christmas. Good food (but no real overindulgence or very Christmassy. Apart from that Ris á la Malta then...), good company, good thoughts, good life.

bromma blocks

If I could have wished for one more thing over these days it would have been more reading of books. But sadly my mind wanders, all the time. I can't concentrate on reading books. Haven't been able to for months now. Which is a concern. Since I love my books. And since I know where this lead the last time I wasn't able to concentrate on reading. So please let this, can't-read-phase be something of the last months of 2010 only.

Monday, December 27, 2010

all i want for christmas is a bowl of heavenly rice

Post-Christmas I struggle between having lots to write about, really - the backlog, oh the backlog, because if one doesn't write about this and that immediately it just piles up. Blog-life reflects life -, writing glorious stuff in my head when I'm about to go to sleep. That in the end never, or rarely, seem to end up in blog. Alas. Oh the intellectual grandness, the superb wittiness never making it's way to blog, heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.

So today, this post will be dedicated to the one and only thing I think is important during Christmas. And you might think it's the obvious things such as the comfort of family, friends, exchanging gifts, kindness, sharing of good fortune - and you would be wrong.

Because the only thing I want for Christmas, to be truly Christmas (and I have mentioned this before, but not shown it in a pretty bowl) is, ta-da drumroll ~ Ris á la Malta


Give me a bowl of this for Christmas and I'll be perfectly happy (and quite possibly sick) for three Christmas days. Very Christmassy in Sweden. Easy peasy to make (but I always leave it to my mother to make), Christmas porridge (rice porridge/pudding), tad vanilla sugar, lots of whipped cream, traditionally served with tinned tangerines but I love mine with raspberry jammmmm...

Sunday, December 26, 2010


golden in stockholm

Personally I always chose silver before gold. To me silver is classy, golden is tacky.

That is, when it comes to the noble metals. When it comes to moments (and competitions) golden is it. I hope the year 2011, to come in only a few days, will bring many of those moments.

2010 has been an overall - with few golden highlights of course - dispiriting and little by little heartbreaking, for me and for others, near and far. May 2011 be a golden year. For all well-deserving beings (and to heck with the rest). Because that's how my weary, melancholy heart and my frustrated, raving mind feel.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

the christmas cap chap


One loafie will forever be known as The Carrot Cap Chap, but one or two hats doesn't make a proper headgear wardrobe to be proud of. So, apart from a couple of green bones (to chew and devour in the loaf dog speed of light) there was a most perky wool cap for Christmas for the loaf dog extraordinaire.


The simplest thing in blue, lime, orange wool, can be the cutest thing when put on a (mildly reluctant but enduring) loaf. Who turned out to be very happy about his woolly gift (yeah, right).


Of course it's not a really useful, warming, practical headgear. For photo-purposes only. But it was a nice thing to, surprisingly quick, make with some leftover yarns. And really, with all the love and attention the furry little fella gets living in this household he shouldn't complain about a few minutes posing in the snow that becomes him with a most fetching Christmas cap.




Final photo now, yes?

Friday, December 24, 2010

have yourself a merry little christmas ~


I hope you get to spend it just the way you like it,
in good weather,
in good company,
with good food.

Merry Christmas ~

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the clever cat thurs-day before christmas


On the day before Christmas Eve - which is THE day Christmas is celebrated in Sweden. If you'd like to read a rather silly and laughable summation of Swedish life including Christmas go read the Wikipedia rundown on Swedish festivities - there's cuddles, kisses and coziness in this residence.

The cats (especially the brain trust trio aka cuddle trio) are busy cleaning themselves. The loaf awaits a proper Christmas bath (which is far from a favourite thing, from his point of loaf dog view). To have a clean, nice smelling loafie in da house is so much nicer than the other option. He will also be getting a most snazzy gift that will go much better with cleanliness of fur.

And us humans, we contemplate the niceness of a Christmas cleaned house, but can't really be that bothered to make a real fuss and effort. Instead there's movie watching, yarn activities and another cup of tea. The joys of being able to spend a stress-free-no-musts-at-all Christmas just the way one want - well, if there was such a thing as a magic cleaning-and-cooking wand I'd go for it - that luxury really shouldn't be underestimated.

A tad cleaning - hallo there red vacuum - a tad cooking and I think tomorrow will be rather nice and unpretentious, like we want it to be.

A little PS to the winners of the blogoversary;
I hope you all have recieved your packages by now (yes I have gotten very nice messages from three of you, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the little gifts!) and that you liked it. My intention when asking for your favourite colours and patterns was to make something crafty myself to add to the package. Unfortunately time, energy, inspiration failed me and apart from the postcards, bookmarks, mini-cards I haven't made anything else in the packages. Handmade, special, with thoughts, but not made by me. Hopefully it'll be appreciated by you anyway, as it was by me when I found the bits of this and that to add to the give-away.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

robot tea strainer, friends and thoughts

robot tea-strainer

Tell me someone who could resist getting this tea-strainer and I'll tell you someone who's lacking more than their right number of cats in the basket. Or something.

By now it must be obvious that I love my tea. I do drink more tea-bag tea than loose tea. For basically two reasons. One being convenience of course, the other being that in general I find that the tea-bag teas definitely lack more of the flavonoid tang compared to most loose tea encounters I've had.

From environmental point of view, perhaps loose tea is better. Yet another thing one should look into... Always (trying to) taking the environmental issue into account is tricky, the making one's carbon footprint a reasonable one vs just living (if there is such a thing) enjoying those seemingly small things (that in a large perspective may not be that small). I firmly believe that every human should strive to become a better being, a more compassionate, insightful being. At the same time as being or socialize with always-goody-two-shoes is rather unbearable.

But kindness and compassion with animals. Always. (With the exception of certain leather shoes, which may not be the best of choices when it comes to that. There's just a limited time you can get away with claiming the cows have signed a will stating that after their demise they'll become shoes for undersigned.) The end of specieism would be a wonderful thing. I'm beyond tired and weary of the human race taking smug interpretive prerogative over other beings for granted.

End of slight detour. Back to tea-strainers.

But I very much enjoy a good brew of any tea shape. And I love a nifty tea-strainer. So far my experience is that they may look fab but they've all had their weak points in design. Probably Mr Robot will show such signs to after diligent use. For now though, j'adore.

robot tea-strainer

Here are some other tea-strainers I've seen most fit to try niftiness out (with more or less satisfying result) ~




Older tea-strainer posts

Do you have a favourite tea-strainer?
Where did you find it?
Is it a long-time loyal tea-cup friend?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the winter solstice


Another year has passed. Winter solstice is here again. Past winter season was harsh, difficult for most all beings, horrible, colder than cold, icy, costly on so many levels, personal as well as social, and beautiful. So painfully beautiful. So far it certainly looks like this winter season will match those features.

But today is the solstice, from now on every day will be that tad lighter, each one tiny step towards warmer days and melting snow. If maybe not tomorrow, or next week, or even next month, but sooner than one knows there will be a season for sun chairs again.


I would have loved to see that total lunar eclipse this solstice morning (in Stockholm), alas it was an overcast morning, thus eclipse nowhere to be seen. Were you fortunate enough to see it? Was it nice?

Monday, December 20, 2010

the cookie scoop


I don't bake that much cookies, but somehow my life can be described as before-the-cookie-scoop and after-the-cookie-scoop. Who'd (but the cookie scoop fairy) imagine such a distinction that once upon a time in Sweden when one little Pia was born?

It's not a la-di-da fancy cookie scoop this one of mine, but it does the trick perfectly well and makes that rare cookie-baking much much less messy and the cookies much prettier. Like those nutty fruit cookies. Have you made your first batch yet? And your life, is it in the pre-cookie-scoop-stage or post-cookie-scoop-stage?

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today I shared my first two books as part of the Bookcrossing project. Exciting that was. Yes, for quite some time now I've been meaning to share some favourite (or just plain worth reading) books through the site. I pick up second hand pocket editions when I find them at charity shops and such. My aim has been to properly register and label them via, but I've never gotten around to actually do that. Until now.

Hopefully some people who like to read will find the books, understand the idea of it all (books all labelled, with simple instructions on the cover too) and enjoy reading the books over Christmas. I very much like the notion of giving a literary Christmas experience to a stranger.

I did have plans to share a couple of books every day this week, but unfortunately I realized some remained in handbag when I got home. And it's no fun leaving them all on trains or buses.

At the moment Sweden has 6819 Bookcrossing members. Numbers which don't sound a lot compared to Australia's 33736, Canada's 42497, France's 13949, Germany's 47831, Italy's 21446, Netherland's 15685, Spain's 33684, England 78886 and of course USA's 314587. Of course those numbers of members probably reflect respective country's population numbers too.

Sweden does have about twice as many Bookcrossing members as Japan, Austria, Norway, Greece, Mexico and Ireland. And approximately the same amount as Brazil, Finland and Portugal. For some reason I find this membership-number-list quite interesting to browse. When you look at the different provinces of Sweden, two of them stand out, for unknown reasons, with over 1000 members each. Stockholm has only 378. Myself I have so far never found a Bookcrossing book anywhere here or elsewhere.

My current bookshelf at Bookcrossing can be found here. I'm now impatiently awaiting someone to register they've actually found one of my (so far five) shared books...

Are you a member of Bookcrossing? Do you enjoy it? Have you found a travelling Bookcrossing book? Was it a good read? Questions, questions, I'm curious to hear some answers...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

nutty fruit cookies


I first made these past April, not really my kind of cookies but they seemed easy enough to make, crunchy and full of nut goodness. They turned out to be amazingly good, chewy, crunchy, with lots of different textures and flavours complimenting each other oh so well. Too well, addictively well. The original recipe I got from the great bake book "Eat me! The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes & Bakes According to Cookie Girl." by just that, Cookie Girl. Great as in every recipe I've so far tried has turned out fabulously. Fit for a loaf dog birthday do.

Not so great as in most every recipe needs tweaking for sure, the amount of sugar in the recipes is too too much, halve it and it'll be more than suffice. (High suspicions of membership in the Sugar Conspiracy Movement...) This is the way I make the cookies, and I'm not that particular with the measurements and what kind of nuts I use. I've baked about five batches so far, slightly different every time, great every time.

I brought a tin with these along to the Twitterjunta. One bite and recipe was demanded. So here it is. With all the fibres, nuts, seeds, raisins they're both filling, semi-healthy yet still addictively divine. Here's to happy baking, and even happier eating...!

Nota bene, a cookie scoop is THE thing to have here. Very handy indeed. Quite possibly one of humanity's greatest inventions.

F r u i t and n u t c o o k i e s
makes about 25-30 cookies

170 g liquid butter-oil (flytande smör/rapsolja)
170 g brown sugar (farinsocker)
30 g caster sugar (strösocker)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp water
110 g wheat flour + pollard (vetemjöl + kruskakli eller vetekli)
(I'm not very finical with the split between flour and pollard, go with the flow)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
230 g porridge oats (havregryn)
50-150 g raisins (depending on how much you enjoy raisins)
180 g mixed nuts and seeds (I usually go for sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts, but walnuts and pecans are nice too)

:: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare two large baking sheets with baking paper.

:: Use electric mixer to beat butter and sugar together until pale colour and creamy. Then add egg with water and vanilla extract. Blend everything.

:: Sift flour, salt, bicarbonate, cinnamon into butter mix. Then add oats, raisins, nuts and seeds.

:: Use cookie scoop to shape cookies, put the cookies on baking sheet, flatten them slightly. Place them about 5 cm apart.

:: Bake in centre of oven for about 15 minutes. Edges should be slightly crispy, middle still soft. Remove from oven, let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. When cool they will have become crunchier.

Will keep in a tin for some days. Freeze well.


Friday, December 17, 2010

winter characters


In this day and age of information and influences everywhere all the time, where it's so easy to give, borrow, steal consciously or unwittingly ideas and designs flagrantly or more subtly, it's not easy to be truly original and unique. Some more than others get thumbs up for making a good effort though. You feel you've seen it, or something very similar before, but it's endearing and sweet just the same. Not seldom due to the creator being of an unpretentious and humble nature.

That said, I'm certainly no stranger to the notion that the world may share an invisible common mind bowl of creative ideas and thoughts, when the creativeness spatter it can land and appear on different continents, in many different heads simultaneously. Whose ideas influencing who is far from always certain.

This little "set" of ceramic pieces were the only things I bought at that Konstfack (Stockholm art- craft- and design college) Christmas fair some weeks ago (which was an overall disappointing fair). Made by graphic design/illustration student Fideli Sundqvist. In a quirky characters way I've always found very appealing.

Look there are garlands, tea or coffee, lussekatter, weird beings (which may or may not be bunnies, cats, bears or people), snowballs and winter wonderland, all little details in life that makes one smile.


More of her cute work can be found in her shop ~
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