Tuesday, May 31, 2011

brainstorming tuesday


Home after a most revitalizing brainstorming meeting, one of those things I won't jinx by telling any details of, but a project that makes me most happy and which have in less than a week progressed pretty neatly. It involves most everything that I cherish and love, yet it is realistic and really has favourable prerequisites to actually turn into that creative goodness it deserves, I deserve, we deserve, 2011 deserves.


For now I will relax and recharge in this positive, idea buzzing mode (with grumpy, angry and sad still lurking nearby, the highs and lows of life always entangled) and make the most of it. This blog evening making the most of it simply means, showing the love for colours, flowers, summer, nature, animals and life sunny side up.


And loving the fact that the month of May ended on such a high note. May that note be the very heart note of June, July and many months to come.


Monday, May 30, 2011

the 2011 king's meadow lily field


We had so looked forward to the annual visit to a king's meadow lilies (fritillaria) field.


This year it was also the first time a couple of excited bobbaloos (Jojo and Buddernut) were to tag along in the travel cabin.


But to our surprise and huge disappointment, the field that last year had been so gorgeously in bloom was now already way overblown.


But for a single one still bravely standing proud in that field.

Oh, it was a sad, sad moment for us all.


Still a pretty field, a secret place of green magic.


But no king's meadow lilies waving in the wind in all their delicate glory. Oh, May nature be better with us next year.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

dandelion nose


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the sweetest dandelion nose of them all?

Yes, the garden, my garden as well as everyone else's (in Sweden) gardens and fields have once again been taken complete hostage by the dandelion mob. These past three years or so, I feel dandelions have completely conquered our fields, lawns and flower beds.

I'm all for welcoming different kinds of growing things in my garden, but I'm just not that keen on any of them outmanoeuvring other plants like this. They may be pretty, they may be cute, they may be survivors of the greatest kind, but really, what about generously sharing the space with other growing things? If there was some kind and natural way to keep control of the dandelion spread, I would be very interested to hear about it...

Until then, at least I'm the proud house-sharer with the cutest dandelion nose of them all.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

a pippi pattern day

pippi sweater inauguration

Today was the perfect day of inauguration of the Pippi sweater - it kept me lovely and warm all day, but not too warm, and I wore it with shorts. There was also a rather amuzing incident with a little boy who just couldn't stop tugging his parents arms, staring at me and what I presume was the sweater. I think he thought I was a real, life sized, grown up Pippi.

pippi matters

Luck (or unluck since I'm suddenly lusting after a lot of Pippi-patterned matters...) would have it than on our stroll through small-town Norrtälje we spotted lots of just that, Pippi-patterned things. Knitted, crocheted, woven, printed. The interest suddenly seem to have exploded and I'm not sure I'm fond of such an explosion, even if I adore the pattern. In my world slightly offbeat is to be prefered any day.

pippi matters


Still, I'm totally going to make a Pippi kettle-holder. And I couldn't resist getting a rather awesome table cloth (from company Isle of Sweden). Woven and chunky. It will look lovely on my kitchen table - seriously kitties, no clawing on the table cloth - and I think it's safe to say that we are all quite smitten by it.


Even if we all don't feel like it's a super idea having a good roll around on it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

happy weekend ~


This weekend will not be able to top the previous one - which was pure brilliance as far as I'm concerned, good weather and lots of sweet things to keep me occupied from mulling over the bad stuff - but I'm hoping it will be a weekend with good sleeps, good food and good colours.

Wishing every well-deserving soul the same -
and a large icecream ~

phalpha and icecream

Thursday, May 26, 2011

sweet green thoughts


:: Again many of us have experienced Blogger issues, the second major thing in a short period of time. How very unfortunate. It is as it is, and it's free, but still one would really very much appreciate some updated information on the fixing, Twitter is an excellent forum for quick, unpretentious updates like that... Anyway, switching to another browser this evening and it seems to miraculously work. Touch wood *and thank you for the hint, Julie*.

:: I have been going to the same dentist for some 20 odd years, without any major issues with his work, or with my teeth for that matter. However I am now thinking all this long-winding root-filling business is pretty weird somehow and quite costly, and not over yet unfortunately. The quoted price I got in the beginning has now been rather overdrawn and the situation feels quite awkward to me.

:: You left some lovely comforting and uplifting comments in my post of despair the other day. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. I've had two job-related fine meetings indeed since (the hope thing...) but still, these constant, frequent ups and downs, from hope to despair. The constant undercurrent of sorrow in all this. Enough enough enough.

:: Emailing people thoroughly, eloquently asking them for a simple favour(ish), getting a reply where they obviously have done their very best in misunderstanding the meaning of the question and favour does leave a rather unpleasant aftertaste. One can't help but wonder how they tick. Why try that hard to misunderstand and being rather accusatorial about a pretty simple matter, seriously dumbstruck am I.


:: It's a strange thing about yarn shops, one might go in there to buy one single little hank and mysteriously most always end up with a bag full of skeins. With colours I didn't expect to get - but now I'm planning to have a first go at some ripple pattern, maybe a pillow, maybe even a blanket. Seems like a good summer project and a nice change to the granny square addiction. Hopefully one to be finished within a reasonable period of time...


:: "I'm inconcievably intellectual" - I do love this plastic bag from Swedish bookstore Pocketshop. A perfect quote with a twist for a T-shirt me thinks. I'm hoping the little purple book "The Tiny Wife" by Andrew Kaufman is the one that will give me my sadly lost book-reading-mojo back. Haven't begun reading it yet.

:: Someone showed me the most amazing office for rent today. The coolest, most happy looking office I've ever seen, brimming with perky, inspirational colours, old furniture and sweet details. Smack in the middle of Stockholm city and with a ridiculously low rent. Too good to be true I suppose. But oh the love at first sight. THE office to actually love working in. My goodness me.

food art

:: Ate one of the prettiest looking lunches ever the other day. Strangely flavourless, apart from the lovely fruit bits, but oh so pretty to look at. Like a food painting. Awesomeness that the snap doesn't really do justice to.

:: I missed taking a picture of the first bunch of lilies of the valley this year. This is the second one. It smells heavenly. The Kismet Leonard duo was in complete awe of the pure awesomeness. And I, I'm in complete awww about the cuteness of bobbaloo butts. I believe there is pure, untainted happiness in those.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

roller coasting conundrum


Not going into specifics, these past two weeks have been a veritable roller coaster of one minute, one day really awesome matters quickly followed, or preceded, by spectacular low points. I can't really begin to describe how completely exhausted I feel to go back and forth from the lovely energy giving buzz zone to the despair of, once again, people's decency.


Can the world please take note that I am, once and for all, completely, utterly sick and tired of being taken advantage of? And that I'm equally tired of going from hope to despair, again, within hours. I'm really, honestly trying to listen to what the universe (possibly) is trying to tell me in this annoying roller coaster way. It still is somewhat of a conundrum. I'm tired. Sad. Angry. And hopeful. That's perhaps the craziest thing. Hopeful. That things will make sense.


Monday, May 23, 2011

the strawberry stem gem and other delights


For all the good-looking but pretty useless kitchen gadgets one now and then find a gem. As this nifty li'l thing to remove the stems from strawberries, called "Stem Gem" from Chef'n. I once upon a time confessed to one of my food pet peeves being that little nasty, hard white snuff inside strawberries (apparently they're called stems...) so you can just imagine my very close to teary delight when I realised it actually did. work. as. promised. Oh, where have you been all these years, strawberry stem gem darling??


The gem made the first bowl of strawberries this season even more wonderful than usual. And I love its chubby strawberryish design. I stumbled over it in one favourite kitchen utensils shop in Åland (ah, Åland, the home of so many pleasing things and then some).


Behold my little collection of strawberry loveliness, the first bowl full of them sweeties, the stem gem, the strawberryish bobbaloos Scarlet and Chubs and yes, my first attempt at making amigurumi strawberries. I'm rather pleased with the result. Not suitable for stem gem use, but at least a little feast for the eyes. And some days, that can be as important as what you eat.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

first rhubarb of 2011


Today I suddenly realised that the rhubarb had grown a lot demanded immediate picking already. First rhubarb of this season, this year. A week earlier than last year.

Tomorrow there will be the cooking of simply awesome rhubarb cream - life is good.



first rhubarb demands a happy loaf dog roll over

Saturday, May 21, 2011

the pippi sweater


Apart from the living in a fabulous, large, quirky wooden turret house, having enough money to do as you please, your pretty much best friends being a horse and a monkey I was never really that much of a fan of Pippi Långstrump (Longstocking). I felt she did have too many unpleasant, annoying features and nope, she may have been entertaining in small portions but a favourite character of Astrid Lindgren's she was/is not -  my favourite Lindgren books are still "Bröderna Lejonhjärta"/The Brothers Lionheart and "Mio min Mio"/Mio my Mio

But Pippi had one thing, that money can buy, that I have been coveting more and more over the years, a classic Swedish fisherman's sweater. For some odd reason, when I decided to look actively for one, it was seemingly impossible to find one of good quality in Stockholm shops.

Needless to say I was kind of thrilled when I stumbled over one - in a nice updated, feminine tunic model, when on Åland today. I would never wear it as a dress, far too short for that, but it'll look cute with shorts, white trousers (slim jeans for those who wear such) or a simple skirt underneath. More summery than wintry in style, perfect for chilly evenings and rainy days. Now it would be nice if this summer wasn't as ridiculously hot as the previous last ones...

From Swedish design company Jumperfabriken (Sweater Factory).


The reasons for me not knitting one myself instead, are that I've never been satisfied with the end result of my knitted-in-thinner-yarn-sweaters, the yarn cost and the time it would have taken to finish it ~ well, it would have been years until, if ever, I would have been able to actually wear it...

Friday, May 20, 2011

happy may weekending ~


To sum this past week up, it has been an overall pretty exciting one. Mentally exhausting, too little sleep, but in the strangest way very very energy boosting. A few true highlights (that made the lowpoints not seem all that bad). I'm hoping (touch wood) next week will be even better. To not jinx it, for now I will say no more. And yes, please, more such days and weeks in general would be nice, very nice indeed.

I am now planning an awesome and befitting weekend to match the week that went. Because that is what one undersigned deserve. A selected pair of these adorable bums will travel the seas and abroad for the first time in their woolly lives, and I, I will be their chaperon. Surely that must constitute the height of awesomeness?

Have a lovely weekend, all you well-deserving!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

the kitten longing


Browsing old kittens-photos I realise I very much miss having kittens. Almost four years since last. Can't say I miss the consumption of cat food and cat litter, the endless cleaning of litter boxes and the hassle of screening (gut feeling) of presumptive buyers. Even if, granted, the majority of my kitten buyers have been wonderful, caring, sensible, cat adoring people, just the opening up home for strangers to come kitten looking is... well, rather tiresome.

But I miss the adorableness of tiny cats, the purring, the cuddling, the innocence, the pitter patter of miniscule paws, the crazy frolicing, the beauty for the eye, the comfort for the soul. And the naming of clever names.

I'm thinking that the awesomeness of 2011 as predicted (by undersigned) should hold kittens too. What do you think about that, Ms Dotty Tummy and Ms Li'l Shiny Black Panther, is that a good idea?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

instagram statigram


Since this is another day of me being crazy tired - but oh no, in bed yet I am not - this will be another very short post - but meaningless, nah, not on my watch - about a nifty li'l thing regarding one of my most used iPhone apps, Instagram. Which is kind of like Twitter but with pictures only. The beauty of Instagram is that you can snap a picture, use different filters (and tilt shift) or snap publish as is. And that's what I use it for only.

I have to say that I find it completely pointless and ridiculous to publish old photos, upload SLR photos or subject the photo to all sorts of super-magic-photoediting-apps before publishing. For that there are other forums, like Flickr and such.

Instagram is just what the name indicates, instant snaps in the here and now. The built in filter-options are just a nice bonus, to fiddle with sharpness and light is a no-no. And that is the almost natural beauty of it all. Especially for us, in some parts of life if certainly not all, perfectionists that learn to see and accept the beauty in quick, unedited snaps. Because true beauty it is, in many cases if not all.

My Statigram (which is the statistics of Instagram, ah lists, love them, however silly they may seem...) can be found at statigr.am/piaktw (also, needless to say, but I'll do it anyway, my Instagram user name, if you care to follow me there. As if the blog isn't enough of me already.)

Like with Twitter I'm not really interested in following as many as possible, or being followed and getting as many "likes" as possible (even if they are appreciated indeed). I like good interaction. In life as well as online. So I like to keep the following to a graspable amount of users.

As seen above, three of my most "liked" photos show cat, semla, Café Lyran and Stockholm City Hall. Which aptly enough are some of my favourite things in life. Instagram style.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the fabulastic dishbrush twins


Being too tired to write something remotely intelligent today -

but really being all giddy about what may hopefully soon be brilliant news, touch wood and all that of course. But possibly saying "thank you lucky number 13" -,

I will just say that another thing that  makes me heart bobbaloos is the obvious fact that you can colour match anything with them. Given that you have a little rainbow settlement of them that is.

The fabulastic gerbera style dishbrush twins comes from Spanish Vigar. Far from sure I'll ever use them as that, but they're certainly a fanciful and perky pair. Presented by Chubs and Calvin.


Monday, May 16, 2011

blue-white guest performance


In 1979 the Swedish grocery retail chain Cooperation Federation (Coop) launched their own low price range of food products. The packaging was very simple and distinct style in blue and white. Initially it was a no brand-range but was soon known as just that, Blåvitt (Blue-white).

Back in those days the supplies of different grocery stores/chains in Sweden was very limited and Coop (or Konsum as we knew it then) made a large impact on most Swedes everyday lives. The blue and white range does bring back lots of childhood memories. I have no specific memories about the products being especially good or bad (apart from a kiwi ice cream which was lovely), but I do remember the distinct packaging design.

Coop has now (May 2011) launched a special guest appearance, limited edition, of this range. Six food products and seven other products (like bowls, tins, totes). Admittedly I'm not a huge fan of Coop - in the way I'm no huge fan of any company that grows into a colossus. Or sells meat - but still, we do live nearby a Coop supermarket and do most of our shopping there. Because it's convenient and their supplies of green stuff is alright.

So, as far as childhood memories go, I thought it would be kind of neat to get a couple of bowls and mugs (as it turned out, china made in China...). Plus a big bag of rolled oats and a tin of strawberry jam (I remember having that jam on my Saturday breakfast toasts as a child).

The stuff has been thoroughly inspected, both by paw and by bobbaloo, and possibly tomorrow's breakfast will be a bowl (skål) of oatmeal (havregryn) porridge. And a mug (mugg) of tea. Or a toast with strawberry jam (jordgubbssylt, jordgubbe = strawberry, jam = sylt). A breakfast down childhood memory lane.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

tjolöholm castle


Long time readers of this blog know I’m a castle buff. For the architecture, ambiance, gardens and the magic, fairytalish feel  – the interior rarely interests me, in general, seen one seen them all. But again, of course I love the exceptions. One such is the pretty Tudor castle Tjolöholm situated on a peninsula, in a nature preserve are, on the southwest coast of Sweden.


Built at the turn of the 18-19th century, in a mix of Tudor and Swedish national romanticism (it does somehow remind me of that old house in Häverödal...) it is Sweden's leading Arts and Crafts property. The original interior from Liberty department store in London has been preserved. The beautiful castle is also filled with quirky details (both indoors and outdoors), surprisingly modern comforts and I remember loving the guided tour we went on many years ago.


Admittedly I don't remember much about the castle's story, but if my memory serves me right, the sad story was that the lord of the manor died from lead poisoning after having wrapped a cut with tinfoil paper from a champagne cork. The castle wasn't completed when he died and his wife was left with finishing the built. She too passed away a few years after its completion. Leaving the castle to their daughter and her family. After the 1950ies the castle slowly delapidated and was later bought by the local county. Since the late 1980ies it is run by a foundation.


In the castle garden there's this life sized ghostly statue - which I, with my thing for statues, find both ridiculously scary as well as very beautiful - that I think may have been a part of a mausoleum for the couple.


A couple of summers ago we passed the castle on our way home from summer holidays and as I really wanted to see the air balloon horses (by a Canadian artist I since have forgotten the name of, sorry) on the premises we made a quick stop and a stroll in the vast gardens (I wholeheartedly love and applaud free castle garden entrances).


Behind the castle - which has a truly splendid bay view - there's a small public beach, seemingly quite popular for all sorts of occasions.

More information about Tjolöholm castle (and the different functions and events there) can be found at their website. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, it is very much a well worth visit (preferably tad off peak summer season and weekends I'd say...)











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