Sunday, January 31, 2010

winter sunday from suburb to city


On this very last Sunday of January - the coldest in Sweden for ages. Not a single day with medium temperatures above zero degrees C. Or was it any temperatures above zero? Or not a minute of temperatures above zero in Stockholm? Or... No matter, cold - here are some glimpses from suburb to city on a day that offered sun and blue skies on top of all snow.


From little red cottages


to castles -
Bro Hof castle which is home to not only a luxuary restaurant (that I hope to have an opportunity to visit one day) but a luxuary golf course that makes even very much non-golfing me go weak-kneed in parts by its stunning green prettiness in summer -


and pretty barns.


From literary signs to


walking on ice -
something I very much shy away from -


from blue buses -
which is a part of the sad public transportation system in Stockholm that really very much doesn't work in Swedish winters. Every year the same... -


to lost mittens, caps and such ~

Saturday, January 30, 2010

postcards - bookmark giveaway reminder


Not only loaf dogs but time hoppeti-hops so quickly, despite all snow. Tomorrow, Sunday 31st midnight CET is the last day to leave a comment in that giveaway post to have a chance to get a set of three mood postcards and accompanying bookmark.

And who wouldn't, says one liquorice nose.


Friday, January 29, 2010

the red bird tree


Whenever I stand at the nearby bus stop I see this pretty winter tree full of red berries and birds. It makes such a sweet picture.

I finally had some decent light, time and camera yesterday, but was very displeased with the birdies that really weren't cooperative. They decided that the non-berry tree on the other side was a better place to hang while some annoying human stand muttering below red berry tree.

If you magnify picture you might spot at least some birdies, then try to imagine the scene when the tree is overflowing with them and all the sweet red berries and the snow. It makes such a fine winter scene.

Happy Friday ~


Thursday, January 28, 2010

wednesday words

:: The project has begun. Estimated time to finish first bit of project 1,5 months, I will have finished it by tomorrow. That makes one (1) week. On half time. Yes I'm quick and effective, but this is silly. And if there was such a thing as anti-intellectual challenges this first bit of project would get a gold star. Very much not something I thought would one day be the result of all those years of law studies. I fear for braincells losing their elasticity and geist.

That said, they seem to be very grateful for getting the job done. And the general ambiance is friendly, helpful and unpretentious. So it could of course be worse. I do hope it will improve soon. But still. This is not me.

:: With my new glasses I do feel more me. And I see more. So much more. I find myself staring at this and that all the time because everything suddenly seem so bright and clear. I'm in four eyes love with the simple lime green Harry Potterish-but-not-quite-pair. The other pair (not inaugurated yet), claims M, turns me into an Ugly Betty-lookalike. Which is just fine by me. Comparisons could be so very much worse.

Suddenly I don't care much about wearing contacts, for some reason glasses that make me see things very clear again also get me to forget I wear them. And yes, I would love to get more pairs. As I have a fresh glasses recipe now I can order more frames online for close to peanuts and come spring I might feel frisky and do just that.

:: I've always felt some inexplicable (at the time when I perhaps wasn't as much in touch with the inner me as I feel I can be and many times am now) sadness whenever I see mankind's uncaring demolishing, mauling of nature (green pastures and forests, mountains and stones) in order to build and construct, eradicate to ridge. Still do.

Even more so these days when everywhere one look there seem to be new ongoing building schemes of blotting out what has been growing and thriving, developed for hundreds, thousands, millions of years in the blink of an eye. Everywhere one look a building, construction site and nothing is sacred.

Some days I really very much feel that life somewhere countryside far far away would be prefered before seeing politicans and builders eagerly efface so much natural beauty. Perhaps then melancholy over this wouldn't be this constant companion always somewhere in the back of my mind.

:: I may be condemned to eating a tweed hat or two, but I will admit to, despite what I have been known to feel, having a Facebook profile. I just decided to get one a while ago to see what the fuss was about. And I still so do not get it. Yes I do write an odd thing here and there on a not so irregular interval - basically when I feel I need more word than Twitter (which I quite enjoy these days) allows and the things I have an urge to instantly share isn't enough for a real blogpost -

but I can't say I feel it neither that interesting nor important. Most of my friends or family are not on Facebook and for some odd reason we have no problems keeping in touch still. Life does go on just fine without FB. Believe it or not.

Another thing I also think is quite bizarre is the fact that you call every little remote contact you've ever had your friend on FB. I mean really. It may be my conservative, serious Scandinavian me, but I don't call every Tom, Dick and Jane I meet my friend that quick and easy. I separate friends from acquaintances and contacts (even if some may be two or more of these in one great person) and I feel it would be so much more clever and nifty to have such distinctions on Facebook too.

That said. There are lots of lovely blog people and readers out there, kind enough to leave a comment or two or more here now and then that I would be happy to call my very friendly contacts on Facebook. Want to rub Internet shoulders there too, send me an email ~

:: Last day to get the MOO discount, January 31st (Sunday).

:: Still time to be part of the little postcards - bookmark giveaway. Leave a what-kind-of-blogposts-do-I-enjoy-most comment in that post January 31st at the latest.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

precious furface


I never ever get tired of every exquisite, tiny detail in a precious cat face...


I'm so grateful for being able to share home and life with all these quirky, sweet, annoying, lovable, purring, furry feline creatures.

"bird alert!"

And their pretty paws.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

dalecarlian tassles and embroidery


I had no idea that such a thing as the National Swedish Handicraft Council (Länshemslöjdkonsulenterna) existed until last year. In every county there are county handicraft consultants (länshemslöjdskonsulenter) at work promoting handicraft activities in different ways. Information and communication combined with handicraft, surely that sounds like a mindblowingly fantastic job!

My first attempt at 'luffarslöjd' (vagabond wire work) last year was held by the Stockholm consultants. And there are usually lots of nice classes (from a few hours one evening or more in the city to weekends and weeks in the country) in different arts and crafts. Most often old classical and nearly forgotten Swedish crafts from different provinces in Sweden.

The cost for the different classes vary. A lot. From ridiculously affordable to very expensive. The classes are apparently very sought after and most of them are quickly filled with eager to learn participants. Even if some seem to be more interested in talking loudly and a lot about their grand craft skills and very interesting (not) connections with this and that artsy person.


Before Christmas I took an evening class in so called 'kavelfransar' (roller tassles) and yarn balls (above patch is the not quite finished result of the first hours work) traditionally made in the Dalecarlia province. It was great and unpretentious fun. There and then I signed up for an embroidery Sunday class a few months later learning the Dalecarlian embroidery called 'påsöm' (on sewing).

It did sound like a brilliant idea at the time. Not so much when the day came and I was still recovering from a cold knowing I had to get up very early on Monday... But I went. And I'm so glad I did - I even managed to sign up for a really droolworthy crochet technique class in a few months... - because it was great fun (but for the annoying people mentioned above).


Not only learning the technique - which of course will take years to master. I managed to finish about 1/5 of the above little piece we worked on during those 5-6 hours of embroidery... - but also hearing about the history, the whys and the whats, the materials, insider tips and hints.


Not to mention drooling over, being mesmerized by and in awe of the fantastic, not afraid of colours, gorgeous, amazing and very inspirational work created by women in the 19th century Sweden. Feast your eyes. And dream of being able to make this by your own self on skirts, dresses, coats, jackets, cardigans, waist coats, hats, mittens, trousers, stockings, shawls, belts, cuffs, wristwarmers...


Yes, sometimes the Swedish heritage
can be quite lovely.

Monday, January 25, 2010

the fabulous nose and the magnificent loaf


Nothing quite like starting a brand new week,
the last of January,
with one fabulous nose.


Attached to one magnificent loaf,


with or


without preppy sweater.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

graffiti love

If not in a place designated for just that I'm very much not an appreciator of graffiti in general. To me it's vandalism of the most blatant kind that destroys and uglifies public or private property. The cost of restoring the property rarely fall upon the vandals and well, that certainly falls into the category of 'nuisances' in this life and world of ours that makes me quite upset and angry.

Anyhow. There are certain places that surely desperately cry for a bit of 'bright me up', 'please graffiti me' and 'colour me pretty'. Like long dark, grey tunnels and such.

Thus this unexpected message of big love ('jag älskar dig' is the Swedish way to say 'i love you') in one boring tunnel under the road and railway tracks of Stockholm (close to this view) I find quite, quite smitten worthy. I hope the intended object of affection enjoyed it wholeheartedly ~


Saturday, January 23, 2010

raspberry toffee


One sweet tooth childhood memory of undersigned is that of lovely raspberry toffee when it came to the once a week candy day 'lördagsgodis' (Saturday candy). I haven't found that perfect raspberry toffee as a grown up, alas flavours and consistencies change, brands don't exist anymore and so forth.

This simple raspberry toffee doesn't taste THAT lovely - at least not my very first batch for which I didn't have a thermometer thus it was boiled tad long. Cooking thermometer now part of household - it only faintly reminds me of it. But sometimes that's all one needs to get a dash of sweet memory lane.

Easy peasy to make, I made my first and so far only for Christmas, but if sweet tooth strikes its red raspberry prettiness goes well any time of the year. I got about 30 toffees from this recipe with four ingredients only

200 g frozen raspberries
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
2,5 dl sugar
2 dl cream (35% fat)

thaw the raspberries. press them through a sieve to make a purée. it should make about 1 dl. pour the raspberry purée into a small pot along with the other ingredients. bring to a boil while stirring all the time.

the temperature should be about 123-124°C, if you don't have a thermometer do the toffee-test (a small sample dropped into a glass of cold water should easily be rolled into a little firm ball).

pour the toffee onto a baking sheet approx 20 cm x 20 cm. let it cool. cut into pieces, wrap in paper. keep in room temperature.

enjoy a taste of summer in winter ~

Friday, January 22, 2010

postcard - bookmark giveaway ~

Recently the camera hit the # 30.000 photos taken - snow bouncing!

Now there are 10.000 plus photos uploaded to the Flickr account (which I use also as an extra 'safe-keeping-online' place).

I thought it would be nice to share the special moment(s) with a little giveaway here in blog.

Little as in a set of 3 postcards and a wee bookmark - similar to the ones for sale in the Prosit shop on Etsy - will be given to two (2) recipients that leave a comment to this post and tell what kind of posts you enjoy the most (be it cats, dogs, food, Stockholm, crafts etc and so forth). Leave comment no later than January 31st CET and you'll participate in a draw (in which I hope to get the best of furry helpers as usual). The two lucky (I hope) recipients of postcards-bookmark will of course recieve something with motifs that match their comments...

And which was the 10.000 photo?


- One of the photos from Gdansk past October that I had forgotten to upload until now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the very first mittens


Behold the very first mittens ever knitted by yours truly. A classic pair of Swedish Lovikka mittens. But in a very strange neonish blue - which doesn't come through properly in photo, for the irl colour think of something between the above and below photo and you get the notion of the somewhat electric hue - that I think stems from the limited colours to choose from at the school's sewing class back then. When I was about 10.

I think I was rather proud when the mittens were finished, and if I recall correctly the teacher wasn't. She was a grumpy woman who rarely praised any of our efforts or work and one often wondered why she had become a teacher at all. She didn't seem too pleased about neither teaching and sharing her knowledge nor children who wanted to learn and create.

I don't use these mittens myself anymore, they've been kept by my mother who decided 2010 was a good year to begin using them once again. I think it's pretty great that they've kept so well for some odd 30 years and the knitting itself I find look better than the Lovikka mittens I made the other year. Go figure.

As for knitting mittens these days, even if the end result can be rather nice and hand warming I don't find the work very appealing, I prefer to crochet mine. But it can be nice to take a wee trip down knitted memory lane now and then.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

moo cards discount for new customers

Anyone new to MOO who would like to try out their products - different cards, business cards, mini cards and stickers made from your own photos as well as ready templates - get a 10% off their first card order with this discount code 84SWQN

My tips for a smoother order is to

:: not choose too many different photos as the uploading can have glitches
:: just choose photos with great contrasts as the end result can get darker than expected
:: always remember to take into account the bleed area in the photos when you crop them

As an example, my latest MOO orders contained this good stuff

The discount code for new customers only ends at January 31st 2010.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

vego paradiso


I am the owner of quite a few cookbooks. Mostly bought on sale. And many bought, I have to admit, because of their pretty and inspirational food photos, rather than mainly for the recipes. even if good recipes doesn't hurt.

This book ' Vego Paradiso ' by Pia Hall I got at the annual Swedish book sale in February some years back. Since then it has been tucked into one of the piles of cookbooks I should make something from, but never seem to get around to... Until now.

It's all about vegan cooking, filled not only many recipes - munches, super quick, Mediterranean, mild, Swedish, spicy, fancy, bread, sauces, desserts - but also offers an easy and informative read about the history of veganism and vegetarianism, nutrition facts, measurement converters, websites etc. And fine photos.

I'm not quite there yet, but I would like to eat a lot more vegan and I think 'Vego Paradiso' is a grand little cookbook and a great entry to the vegan kitchen. The recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find. So far I've tried two of them and they both turned out great.


The so called cowboy stew - lentil stew with peanut butter and corn - may look rather... displeasing to the eye, but it's full of lovely flavours and good ingredients. I wanted a bit more texture and added fried quorn pieces making it vegetarian and not vegan.


The chickpea balls was full of nice flavour but the consistency left a lot to be desired. The batter just didn't hold together and I had to flatten them in pan. But they tasted lovely and went so well with the simple bean-carrot-tomato-garlic salad I served it with.

Can't wait to try more of the recipes, I'm especially looking forward to a broccoli lasagna, nut steak, apple buns and chocolate cake with orange spark...

Monday, January 18, 2010

spectacle snake

This week was suppose to be the first day of the rest of my life. Instead I'm nurturing a cold. Or trying to starve it perhaps. That's life, that's what happens to plans. So those plans have been postponed, while I'm trying to not have a self pity party.

Instead my mushy brain contemplates one of those i-country problems we suffer from in this part of the world. In this case being, did I pick the right models of glasses the other day?

When the cold was just a tingling sensation in the back of my throat past Saturday I had a much needed appointment with an optician. Turned out my sight hadn't deteriorated as much as I feared, but new glasses were certainly a good idea.

I don't see myself as a girl-with-glasses (but I have worn them on and off since late high school, when I rather suddenly went from Superman sight to very farsighted) and I very much prefer using contacts. As in lenses. But the right model of glasses can look great, at least on others, and some days and at home it feels good to rest eyes from contacts wearing. And wearing glasses, the right glasses, give that extra clever and intellectual look, right?

Glasses, or rather the frames, can be so ridiculously expensive and finding a frame you feel comfortable and good with quite tricky. This time I picked a new optician which offers really competitive prices as well as a wide range of great frames (no designer brands). It was easy to get a quick appointment, the staff was friendly and professional, the only minus would be that wide range of frames, it was really difficult to pick THE right frame model.

In the end I picked two (yes for a fab price) different models. One of them rather perky, with apple green frames. I may love colours in clothes and other accessories, in glasses I like the classics. So I must have felt quite daring and frisky when I decided on those. When I get them in a couple of weeks I hope I will be happy with those two choices, from all the much coveted worthy frames in store...

'Glasögonorm' (spectacle snake) is a dispraising phrase in Swedish for spectacle wearers (but also rather endearing if said my the right person), I haven't been able to find the equivalent in English, is there one?

Do you wear glasses? If so do you consider them a fashion accessory or just a boring must?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

my stockholm


I've just donated one of my Stockholm photos to the "Mitt Stockholm" (My Stockholm) exhibition at Galleri Kontrast. (No, not the above photo, far from really.)

There is still some space left for your personal glimpse of Stockholm to be one of the all in all 500 photos (one only for each photographer) exhibited until January 24th, 2010.

The motifs vary alot, as do the quality, from absolutely stunning to... not so.

All photos are framed and for sale (300 sek), the surplus going to Doctors Without Borders.

Galleri Kontrast,
Hornsgatan 8,
read more in Swedish

Saturday, January 16, 2010

random thoughts on gdansk, poland


It's been a while now, since I experienced and wrote a bit about the understated gemness and loveliness of above city. High time for some random thoughts of my impressions of Gdansk (and my first visit to Poland, a country I was in many ways pleasantly surprised by and would love to explore more of). Random photos to come in a later post (or two) of their own.

:: The architecture in Gdansk was in many parts almost surreal in its picturesqueness and awesomeness. An absolutely stunning city centre, both by day and night no matter the weather. Love at first glimpse.

Even if parts of the gorgeous city and its beautiful old buildings sadly lacked (or rather the politicians and builders), like so many fine cities all over the globe, a sense of history and had been very irreverentially renovated or rebuilt.

:: The vegetarian food options and places to eat were a plenty. I was so pleased! When we first got there it was time time for a very late lunch/dinner and we were starving. The city's main street is lined with cafés and restaurants and there we found one of the vegetarian places. M not being a vegetarian can be rather grumpy if it's an all-vegetarian restaurant (alas, such is the eating of dead animals withdrawal symptoms) as well as petulant when it comes to certain flavours. At this hole-in-the-wall organic-vegetarian restaurant he did however, but for a part of a salad, fully enjoyed his vegetarian lasagna.


The waiter didn't speak English and for some odd reason couldn't understand when we pointed at the menu so I got the wrong dish. Which was a lucky thing, because it was by far the best meal I had in Gdansk and one of the best vegetarian meals ever. Dumplings in rosemary sauce accompanied by different salads with different textures and flavours that complimented eachother oh so well.

:: As was soon obvious was that the above waiter wasn't uncommon when it came to the lack of English speaking in Gdansk. I was surprised that so few along the common and well visited parts, including the large hotel we stayed at, there hardly spoke or understood English. It was manageable, but somewhat... unusual these days I think.

:: There were lots and lots of school outings when we where in Gdansk and as the pram mob, roaming and loud children, careless, highly-strung parents and a lack of discipline in Sweden is quite infamous and tiresome it was such a nice, nice thing to see the overall relaxed, well mannered, interested children of all ages who talked in a normal pitch and just behaved. And teachers who had no problem with coping with their classes. Compared to the Swedish parents-teachers equivalents.

There was also a liberatingly lack of the infamous pram mob that prowl the streets of Sweden. Huzzah.

Poland seems to be doing something right when Sweden does something terribly wrong these days when it comes to taking care of children.

:: I really loved the extended café culture in Gdansk, and I presume Poland in general. I may not enjoy the type of cakes on offer in a typical café (tad too sweet, rich and often dry) and I found the tea to be rather bland and lacking in both strength and flavour, but there were exceptions, oh yes there were... And it was so very cheap compared to what the same thing would have cost in Stockholm/Sweden. So many cafés, so little time... And really, how lovely isn't it to be able to chose the size of cake yourself and pay by weight?


:: The 'fashion' in Gdansk really wasn't my cup of tea. At all. Like in Athens. Very not me. So as for shopping such things my wallet was full and happy when we got back home. And instead of taking time to look through shops that left a lot of time to just walk, walk and then walk some more and enjoy the prettiness of the city. I got my wonderful sunny amber ring and my snake bowl and with them I am so very pleased.


And a very pretty big tin with Gdansk buildings, originally filled with not so tasty cookies, now serving as a lovely cat-safe candle light in the winter night.

:: Compared to Stockholm where many people, honestly, can be very self concious and anxiously thinking of the importance of being hip it was a very relaxed, no fuss ambiance in Gdansk.

:: We also took a train ride to the nearby seaside resort of Sopot. While it felt rather touristy and somewhat kitschy in general even off-season, the long, long pier was grand and so were some glimpses here and there. And I had one of the most wonderful café experiences, if not THE best ever, in Sopot. My cosy-café-radar never fails. But that will be left for a post of its very own. Of course.

That little getaway was one of the best little trips I've ever had. A gem. I found unpretentious, sweet loveliness during a few relaxed days in Gdansk.


Friday, January 15, 2010

what hides behind the barbwire


For a couple of years now I've spotted something really charming beside the railway tracks when taking the commuter train to and fro Stockholm and its northern suburbs. Charming as in something essential in Sweden during snowy winters having the most unusual and adorable of colours.

I've had the charming thing noted in my book of 'to take photos of one day' for a long time now. The fenced in area is rather tricky situated and well, it really has to be a lot of snow to get a pleasing photo, so there hasn't been a lot of good photo ops for that. (Any excuse is a good excuse.)

Now I could have you guessing what that is hiding behind the barbwire above. But that might lead to sleepless nights of whats and whys, so I'll just show. And tell. And you can sleep a good night's sleep.


Pink snowploughs. If there is such a thing as a cute snowplough that anyone reasonably sane and colourhappy would lust after, surely these would qualify?

Sadly I haven't seen them at work. They always seem to be fenced in, at this spot beside the railway tracks, come summer, come winter. Seems like such a waste, both of good ploughs and the bestest of colours to bright up any winter day.

Even if this might be a pale recognition compared to real work, I have noticed you pink snowploughs. I say a quiet 'hi' whenever I pass the place of you tucked away behind barbwire, now I hope you can enjoy your minutes of (limited) blog fame.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

swedish design ~ nygårdsanna


Nygårds Anna Bengtsson is a Swedish award winning clothes designer with roots in the Dalecarlia region - where the family home name such as Nygårds added to one's name is rather common. And charming I think - who released her first collection in 1993/94 under the name Nygårdsanna.

Since then she has made two limited collections per year - which is a huge plus in my book since I find this four often huge collections per year from most designers rather unpleasant feeding the wear and not even tear mentality of too many people these days - with a rather androgynous, simple feel to them and often in subdued colours. Made in nature materials (linen, wool, cotton) and often with fine handmade details, buttons, embroidery, unexpected stitches and a folklore flair.

Her clothes are certainly not cheap, but quite drool worthy and meant to be loved and last for a long time, both in style and materials. The wear should add patina to the garments, mean something, make them more precious.

As the clothes certainly lack in deep and bright colours I wouldn't want to, if I had the money, wear the brand only. But I do believe that the odd garment makes the wardrobe and the wearer happy. For a long time. They may look rather dull on a hanger, but when worn magic might just happen (and who doesn't want a bit of magic in life).

Last summer I was fortunate enough to find one much coveted summer sun dress (chequered and flower embroidery in one dress!) on sale which made me feel quite happy the rest of the summer. It will be such a delight to wear it again come summer season 2010.


And then this gem of a simple and adorable organic cotton blouse with letters embroidered on front. Quite stunning in its simple white and black only appearance.


As is rather obvious I do not wear black. And technically this had-on-wish-list-all-autumn-happy-found-winter-sale favourite winter dress in wool isn't all black but more of charcoal grey and yes it is chequered in white. It obviously calls for a slip or underskirt, blouse or sweater underneath hence it's wonderfully versatile and the design is irresistibly brilliant in its seemingly simplicity. I wish the model came in many more colours (and in linen for summer, please?). Wallet is very pleased it doesn't.


The tight fitting chunky wool cardigan with crooks was a gift and it goes swell with dress. Some days, some designs work well in black and white. Those days the wearer has to shine and spark a little extra herself. And really, who wouldn't naturally while wearing such prettiness?

In vain (so far) I have searched for information whether the materials in general used in the Nygårdsanna collections are organic (one might think that if the price tags were indicators they should be). Since the dying process (alas) might play a non environmental friendly part of the textile industry I suppose the often natural colours only in the collections are a plus though.

The Nygårdsanna website leaves a lot to be desired, but the photos are exquisite and give a good idea of the style.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

happy st knut's day

Today is the day, St Knut's Day, Sweden (and Finland) dances the Christmas away ' Tjugondedag Knut nu dansas julen ut'. Last year it was a lot of Christmas ornaments to take down and put away, this year not so much. In fact I'm feeling dash adventurous and will keep some of them up as long as they please the feeling cosy indoors eye. Let there be light still.

No dancing plans (alas) today either, but I wish for a most pleasant day with other kinds of happy feet anyway.

Have a happy St Knut's day!

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