Sunday, November 29, 2009

on advent sunday

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Just ordered the Christmas cards, which hopefully will turn out 100% satisfying and not like last year... Because when they're good, they're really very good.

Now I hope for a better week to come, than last week was. My inspiration for writing, really writing, seems to have gone awol. Wish it would return asap, since not having the writing bug or feeling the allure of words begging really makes me blue, dark blue.

Have a good week, the first of December ~

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

very swedish lussebuns

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My own personal tradition says that I will not bake the seasons first - and possibly only. Since as much as one can find immense delight in the right kind of 'lussekatt' - 'lussebulle' it's also a, however nice, seasonal edible thing that tends to get tiresome to have too many of... - traditional Swedish saffron bun aka 'lussekatt' or 'lussebulle' until December 12th to be enjoyed on December 13th aka the Lucia Day. (Read more about that Swedish tradition here as well as here.)

I may not have a lot of musts and such around Christmas - apart from Christmas cards and Ris á la Malta. In fact I'm not a fan of the hullabaloo of Christmas. At least not the very hyped version celebrated in Sweden. But that's another story... - but baking lussebuns on December 12th, now that's something I really like to stick to.

But as it is Advent Sunday in a few days (wherever did November go, does anyone know?) I thought it would be a nice to share the recipe I use for my 'cats' (katter).

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For many years I have used a recipe in a rather nice, simple and useful collection of recipe cards I once collected and the yellow buns turn out great every time. Perfect consistency, saffron flavour and very not too sweet. I have however added a couple of tablespoons of vanilla sugar to the recipe as the saffron flavour eliminated the sugar completely when not. And I tend to use less flour than recipe says.

The recipe may not produce the world's largest saffron bun, but something quite, quite satisfying and tastier that serves more. If you'd like to experience a taste of something very Swedish Christmas season, here's the recipe so you can go forth and bake yourself. The shape of the buns are pretty specific, usually an S-shape or a double S crossed over ~

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Lussebullar .~.

makes about 40 buns

50 g yeast
150 g butter (I use the liquid kind)
5 dl milk
250 g quark (this is what makes the buns really moist)
0,5 g saffron
1,5 dl sugar
2 tbsp vanilla sugar

1 tsp salt
1,4 - 1,8 L wheat flour

egg (to brush the buns with before baking)

raisins (for garnish)

:: Crumble yeast into a stand mixer bowl.

:: Melt butter, add milk heat until approx. 37°C (finger warm). Pour a small amount of the liquid over yeast and stir until dissolved.

:: Pour the rest of the liquid in bowl, add quark, saffron, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Then while mixer is working add as much flour you need to get a smooth dough.


:: Cover
bowl and leave dough to rise for 30 minutes.

:: Prepare work surface with flour. Pour dough onto work surface. Knead it smooth and silky. Divide dough into equal portions, then shape them into S:s. Place on baking sheet, cover and let rise for about 20-30 minutes to approx. double size.

:: Brush with beaten egg, squeeze down raisins in middle of swirls.

:: Bake at 225°C for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool on rack, best enjoyed freshly baked but will freeze well.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

magical wrist warmers

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So, while knitting the now maybe perhaps possibly slightly hackneyed magical socks I thought it would be rather perfect to also use the most lovable yarn for magical wristwarmers.

Hey presto the gorgeous seafoam-teal-mole-beige wool-bamboo-polyamid yarn was made into a pair for self. I'm so very happy about they way they turned out. They fit snuggly and comfy at the same time, they keep my wrists from getting cold (perfect for while snapping photos) and most of all the colours and magically appearing patterns make me incredibly happy.

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I've listed them in Etsy shop, all are made to order, there are so many wonderful and droolworthy colour combinations to chose from. Since the yarn is magic (I don't think I've mentioned that enough times yet), no pair will be alike. But every pair will be sweetness personfied (or wristwarmersified), warm and brighten up any gloom doom day. Feel free to stop by and say hi ~

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' so how's it hangin' ?
not quite certain this is a dignified way to
be treated when being a magical wristwarmer '

Monday, November 23, 2009

november monday musings

Although I would like to write something very inspired about the one recent-ish trip, some highlights of summer past, castles, movies, one of the best cafés I've ever had the pure and uttermost pleasure of visiting, books, food (for thought and otherwise), aprons and bracelets, knits and shawls (although granted there have been a lot of that going on in blog lately...) this post will just be a bit of random rambling. I feel too scatterbrained unfocused for anything else at the moment. Worries and stuff, things not going my way really - not counting the rather pleasing knitting of socks results - can do that. So here goes rambler ~

:: One of the things I find most endearing as well as curious about cats is the fact that so many (at least the domesticated ones) are so so fond of cuddling. Taking every opportunity to get a little one on one quality time, traipsing around purring being all loveable sweetness. Endorphine enhancers making almost all worries and problems melt away. At least for a while.

Yes dogs are adorable, friendly, tail wagging moodlifters also. But they don't purr. And they don't smell as sweet and good as cats. That's just how it is.

This little real life web-movie with Texas traffic officer meeting kitten is just impossible endearing and wonderful - go watch

:: I'm still very annoyed about my dishwasher's top rack and the very less than clean result I get with the crockery and items I put there. Everything should be working and everything should get clean. Yet it isn't. Not on the top rack. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ghost in the fridge has moved to the dishwasher. Annoying to say the least.

:: I was and am chuffed about the response I got to something I mentioned in a recent blog post. And there have been so many other great encounters in the blogosphere. Like someone said, blogland can be truly amazing! On many levels I am so glad I decided to go blog those four plus years ago.

:: I have been twittering-tweeting-whatevering more than I thought I would. In a rather aimless way, but still, sometimes one gets the urge to share something silly or not. Like with blogging and emailing there seem to be some very strange and fussy netiquette going one with Twitter. Some are quite obvious to the reasonably sane person, others I find totally ridiculous and very high schoolish.

Like 'if I follow you you should follow me back and if you don't you are so rude and I don't want to be your follower anymore'. Oh. My. Not goodness. No wonder the world's in such a mess. Grow up. Get a life.

:: That said I got an email from a once upon a time bestest friend recently, asking me to join Facebook so we could chat. Apart from the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in Facebook, never have and probably never will, I find it, to put it mildly, quite quite strange that she doesn't suggest we meet up for a coffee (yes we live in the same city, our mothers happen to still be friends, so it's not like we couldn't if we wanted get together and catch up) or call me (even if I'm an odd phoney I might take that call) to talk instead. Or just plain email me. To suggest 'a meeting' on FB instead seems so outlandish to me.

I admit to adoring emails, I may stay away from phone calls if I can, but I still do prefer real life interaction with people.

:: As for knitting and such (see not a blog post without it these days), I have listed a few newish items in Etsy shop. And more to come. Rather sweet gifts for self or others if I may say so. Some ready to ship, others can be made to order.

:: Someone wise said that the only head that has no worries sits on the shoulders of a scarecrow. Even if some may say the latter epithat applies to undersigned, I like that notion.

:: Listening to Sting's 'If on a winter's night...' I get a comforting feeling there is a winter and snow mysteriously and seriously going on somewhere. If alas not here. I miss not only sun, I do miss snow this time of the year. Winter equals snow on these latitudes. That's just how it should be. If everything was right in this world, of not only mine but ours.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the november weekend that was

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saturday generously offered a whole day of sun, sun and more glorious sun, blue, blue and bluer skies (so far only day of that this gloomy swedish november in the stockholm area) hence there was outdoors and there was walking.

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~
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there were red cottages and
there were knitting projects in progress.
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~
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sunday was dark and gloomy as usual this november, hence last day of alsta gardens' afternoon tea offered comfort and treats by a roaring fire for sunstarving northeners.

all and all a rather fine winter weekend. now i just hope my batteries are charged for a dreaded week to come. i might be over-analyzing and fear what not need be feared. then again i might not. at least the november weekend that was, was good.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

having the blues in colours

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I finally completed the second scarf with mohair purchased in South Africa - well over two years ago now, I still think about that most amazing journey almost every day. I would love to return. If only it wasn't so far far away. If only there was money. If only there was time. If only - it turned out quite lovely and unusal in a very delicate yet sluggish way I think. Only two packages of yarn was bought, one green one pink. I so regret not buying more as it was sold for a good cause (not only soothing for my own soul) and turned out so well.


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Reciever of second pair of greenish socks was very pleased with her new feet warmers and I'm of course more than equally pleased to satisfy her needs for most magic socks in other colours.


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Yes there might also be new projects for self as well as others involved in the acquiring of more yarn. I feel, for strictly unselfish purposes of course, I should do my best in working my way through the different colour-combinations of magic yarn.


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The drab, bland hues excluded. Although there is a chocolatey-beige-eggshellish mix that speaks to me I have to admit.

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There was pumpkin cake baked today. It turned out a scrumptiously moist loveliness and it was most enjoyed.

The sun even showed its these days rarely seen face for a moment or two. So it was a rather good day. If it hadn't been for a worrying letter. I don't appreciate such letters. And I don't like the way I worry about such matters. Stupid, ignorant, uncreative, bureaucratic, grey, heartless yet worrying issues.

There are days when these matters can be faced and most certainly fought. And there are days when they just put a damper on a whole day, days or more. They swirl, twirl, twist, infest, poison, try their best in suffocating happiness and the positive outlook that things will certainly work out for the very best. They do. They will. For sure. The matters will not matter then, the things will do.

Today has been a dampen day, despite the fortune of colourful yarn, good cake and a few rays of sun. Some days just are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

goodmorning wednesday

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in a quiet celebration of the snippets of sun from above this morning - thank you for visiting, you are most most welcome back you know, dear sun - glimpses from our lovely in-country-summer-holiday (four months ago already, where did the time go) in scania. once there was proper sun.

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happy wednesday ~

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

crazy knit lady thinks

:: just when one thought it couldn't get any worse gloomy weatherwise, it started to get dark at 1 pm already. jeez.

:: have listed a bunch of quirky new mood postcards in etsy shop. and more to come. i do believe they would make quite perfectly sweet christmas cards. if i may say so. and i think i may.

:: wonder if i should go all crazy today and refuse to use capital letters in blog? i'm torn, but i also feel rather lazy. or rather my fingers do. i blame the weather.

:: i have been knitting quite like a crazy lady lately. socks mostly. but a few shawls too. and something sweet or two for one loaf doggie extraordinaire. he may have to share with lots of special kitty cats too of course.

:: the absorbing knit crazy is not only fun but also one useful and important way of relaxing mind and take thoughts from all sorts of stupid stuff and worries of these past weeks. buying yarn is certainly cheaper than therapy. it makes me happier. not that i concider myself in need of actual therapy at this time in life. yarn just does it for me.

:: i really absolutely hate being shuffled around on all sorts of idiotic brain- as well as fruitless meetings for maybe job-sake. yes, even if i'm so not easily shuffled around there are for not-too-happy-about reasons situations where i have to swallow a bitter pill and think of better times to come. i so do not like it. that's just how it is these days.

clearly i want a good and proper and reasonably paid job. clearly i have all sorts of nifty qualifications. clearly i could do lots and lots of use. clearly there are lots and lots of clever, inspiring, good people out there. so why oh why do i not get to meet them in a work-situation and together we can make magic?

i'm kind of tired of the stars not aligning in my job-favour. if i could have one season wish it would be for a very positive conjunction of the job-income side of life. please. pretty please.

a job that's not soul-destroying AND pays, i don't think that's too much to ask for. really. doing good for me, doing good for others. win-win, my favourite situation.

:: i wonder if being a crazy knit lady surpass being a crazy cat lady? being both certainly has a kind of super-duper ring to it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the sunny soup

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With the weather being unbelievably doom gloomy and depressing for weeks and weeks now - with one very short exception - body and soul in desperate need of sun and light, this soup turned out to be totally satisfying for many reasons (even though I still desperately would like some more sun from above in my life).

The sunny soup is a potato-pumpkin soup with and Indian touch. It has a lovely creamy consistency and served with a bit of fried halloumi it's just way beyond good...

serves 4-6

800 g-1 kg pumpkin
5-6 medium size potatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 tbsp dry ginger
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp vegetable fond
1 l boiling water
125 g dairy free creme fraiche or 2 dl oats milk
sunflower oil
salt and black pepper

:: chop onion coarsely. fry with ginger and oil in large pot until soft.
:: peel and coarsely chop potatoes. dito with pumpkin. add to pot with garam masala and turmeric. let steam under lid for about 10 minutes.
:: pour the boiling water into pot. add vegetable fond, season with salt and pepper. boil for about 20 minutes until potato and pumpkin are soft.
:: add creme fraiche or oats milk and let soup simmer for 5 minutes. use a handmixer in pot to turn soup into a proper creamy delight. may need more seasoning with salt and pepper.
:: to slice, dice and fry some halloumi to add on top of soup is highly recommended.

now enjoy a bit of sun in bowl ~

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

the snake bowl

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My plan for Sunday blog was to finally jot down some random impressions about Gdansk, but for this and that reasons that will not happen. I will however show one of very few things I found irresistable enough to purchase in said place - which on the whole was very non interesting from a shopping point of Pia view. Something I find to be far far from a bad thing really, as the lack of intriguing things to buy is kind both to mind as well as wallet. Not to mention quite relaxing plus leave a lot of room for simple, unpretentious and leisurely exploring of surroundings. How very grown up of me. Clearly I have done a lot of maturing this past year... - the snake bowl.

Not that I exactly needed one. But I fell in lust when I saw it. Handmade goodness bought at bargain price - the kind where I'd actually like to offer to pay more, since I think artists and crafters should be paid a reasonable price for their talent and work. But I don't, since in the end my wallet tells me not to. And I had the good fortune to find the thing, get the offer, I will treasure it a whole lot and yes hopefully the artist in question will be happy and pleased with his/her payment anyway and so forth... - straight from the potter herself.

So on a grey Autumn day on Long Street in Gdansk, snake bowl and me found eachother. I loved its seafoam-on-a-cloudy-day colour, intriguing pattern and overall quirky handmadeness. Bowl was wrapped in a way that left a lot to be desired, handed over to one happy undersigned and remained tucked under my arm street up street down all afternoon. Later it travelled to Sweden and entered the borders unharmed. The debate where exactly it will show itself off best - and remain unharmed from the claws determined furminators and nosy critters - is still ongoing. But as far as I'm concerned it does deserve the very best of places to flaunt its full teal and snakey prettiness ~ ~ ~

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

roses roses roses in free form crochet

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I may love to knit and crochet. I am a passionate believer in the power of colours. I know that happiness can be found in whimsical details.

But when it comes to combining all this and step outside my own creative comfort box, going splendidly crazy making something truly free-form I seem to go blank.

I may be fearless splurging and combining when it comes to colours and such, but I get a distinct notion that my creativity wants to roam only its own safe, well-known playground when it comes to knit and crochet (and sewing). I don't appreciate that. I want to go really crazy creative all over the place. Not really sure how I will challenge and surprise myself, I scheme, I lurk but so far no real luck. In awaiting for t h e moment of free-form ambush I settle for oh-ing, ah-ing over other people's wonderful free-form creativity dressed in knit and crochet.

One vibrant example of free-forming is talented plumfish on etsy. I love the truly irresistable combination of exploding colours, flowers, roses, recycling, silk that come together in shawls, scarfs and crocheted jewellery. Creativity at its best. Affordable one of a kind soft art and moodlifting wearable pieces from Australia.

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I love my three pink roses bracelet. Wearing it tucked safely inside coat this time of the year, then hey presto flaunting it proudly when coat come off makes me silly happy.

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Previously mentioned autumnal neck-piece still awaits the perfect inauguration day. But it oozes joy, beaming of creativity just lying there on shelf.

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Pink, blue, red pony-tail holders all ready to adorn undersigned on anyone of these gloomy, cloudy, energy draining winter days. I'm pretty certain their little wafting rose tails will lift my mood, keep me on course, inspire me to move forward, onwards, magically make free form.

Friday, November 13, 2009

on letter writing swap effectuated

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A while back Denise at A Bun Can Dance came up with the brilliant idea of a letter writing swap for interested bloggers. As the lovely artform of a proper handwritten letter seems very close to obliterated in these days of emailing, blogging and instant gratification I thought the initiative was simply irresistable.

I missed (and miss) those years of a close to every day letter writing on pretty stationery to family, friends and penpals all over the world. It was such a delight every time a handwritten letter from some remote corner arrived in the mail, a letter someone had poured a lot of thought and a little piece of their soul into, sealed and sent to me. I hope and think that the recipients regarded my handwritten pages in a similar way.

These days I'm like most people my age group and younger, dependent on emailing - so darn quick and convenient I don't know how we survived without? - and instead of writing long letters filled with thoughts and tribulations to many, blogging for one and all is the one convenient thing that gets me and my many overflowing thoughts going. These days.

But I miss those other times. A lot. Hence I signed up for the letter writing swap. And some days later I met my letter swapping partner. And what a partner it was. Her name was Alex and her blog was Lola Nova, a wonderful, colourful blog buzzing with vibrant pictures and inspiring creativity - what can I say, Denise certainly seems to have a fingerspitzgefühl and eye for matching letter writing people.

We decided that our theme for the letters would be, not surprisingly, our love for crafting and how that came to be. Of course we would also share some edible things from our respective places as well as something handmade by ourselves. Oh this was gong to be so much fun, getting a parcel and a handwritten letter, things just don't get much better than that!

Deciding what to send was reasonable easy - even if I could have gone on and on with this and that and then some - but the actual writing. By hand. On paper. On pretty stationery. Oh my. That was actually so much harder than one would think. I don't particulary like my handwriting these days, it's so not what it used to be. And the facts that one really can't erase and rewind a handwritten, cut and rearrange the handwritten letter seem to be (at least initially) ginormous obstacles.

In due time the letter was written. The obstacles overcome. The parcel sent (care to see some of it, look here). And then one day a parcel arrived from Portland, Oregon to Stockholm, Sweden. And there was joy in reading and unwrapping of gifts. Grand, wonderful gifts like teas with magical names,

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~
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a crochet hook holder was just the thing needed actually! As was one of her truly word inviting notebooks (which also can be found in shop).


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Needless to say I love the little acorn hidden in the back of the notebook. And the handmade chocolate.


From the reading of the handwritten letter I could see glimpses of a lovely woman on the other side of the big pond, with words, music and love in her heart. With thoughts, kindness and craft in mind. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, I throughly enjoyed the gifts and I wholeheartedly applaude the initiative of a letter writing swap and thus the first step of reclaiming what has been sadly, but hopefully not irrecoverable, lost in these days and age of massproduction and keypad written matters.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the charity shop chair

As much as I feel it prudent - for many reasons that I'll list one day - to spend money on shoes, good food, skincare etc etc and so forth, there are some things I see pretty much no reason at all to spend a lot of money on or buying brand new - for in parts the same reasons as above as well as others - and that some things are furniture in general.

I see absolutely no reason why one should buy new and expensive sofas, chairs, tables etc etc and so forth, when there's most always perfectly fine second hand such to get from family and friends or charity shops.

Once upon a time I did buy myself a very - for me - expensive sofa. A sofa bed for my one room apartment when I moved to my first very own place. It was white - what was I thinking? - comfortable, good looking and I do belive I loved it - as much as anyone can love a sofa without becoming a creepy weirdo. After 10 or so years it had to be concidered killed by the determent furminator gang. That despite it having been covered in different washable sofa covers for some years.

Since then I have been happy and feeling very thrifty with my hand-me-down or charity shop sofas and armchairs. Recycling furniture rules. For many a reason.

I then wish I could say that all my ideas for repainting, re-furbishing, re-covering were carried through, but alas but for a very selected few.

In theory I do enjoy interior decoration and design, pottering, painting, colouring, arranging. A lot. In practice I rarely seem to have the real geist and energy to effectuate.

It's a pity, since everywhere you look, everytime you think and feel there's inspiration to create that perfectly cosy, quirky, eclectic, personal, whimsical styled home where attention has been brought to most every detail. Where you can entertain with dinners and tea parties being the generous artsy hostess in a homely and slightly chaotic environment that perfectly reflects the inner to outer creative you.

I still nurture that fabulous notion. But somehow I don't think that'll ever be me in real life. I'm simply too unfocused, wrapped up in books, yarn, thoughts, cat hair etc etc and so forth for that to be viable in this life. Perhaps.

Whenever I actually manage to see through a ridiculous long awaited plan for something - like painting a chair, a shelf, a table, a lampstand or just sew together a sofa cover or new curtains - I am very pleased with myself. Indeed I am.

That said, I have reasonable plans for this latest addition of a a charity shop - my favourite nearby place of Erikshjälpen, where the prices are most always crazy good (as most second hand stores in Stockholm love to put a high price tag on most stuff) and true gems as far as most things needed (or not) can be found. Such as green jacket and red bureau - find.

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The armchair might possible have lived a previous life as a garden chair (welcome indoors) and the misguided creativity of its previous owner with giving it an ridiculous and horrific animal print cushion abomination very much almost made me overlook it. I would have if it wasn't for M who saw it's potential.

It is actually most comfortable; just the right angle of back to give good support when knitting in front of the telly. The perfect size, width and height of armrest for resting not only arms (while knitting) but a cup of tea.

And no matter when or if it will undergo the repainting, sprucing, given a (new and proper) cushion, it certainly has the ever important paw and liquorice nose approval ~

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

to bake the grump away

I had a really annoying meeting this morning. To cut a much longer story very short; I made friendly suggestions of very reasonable changes to a website and the guys went all defensive in a totally ridiculous and immature way. Clearly not a place for me, for many other reasons than this attitude, and I do hope that was very obvious to all parties involved.

It took for ages to get back home since the public transportation system in Stockholm leaves a whole lot to be desired when it comes to cross connections.

When I finally sat on the bus home there was suddenly a very pale but visible sun trying its very best - I presume - to shine through the gloomy clouds that have been hanging over our heads for some weeks now. It was so unexpected and lovely and just then the day was golden.

When I got home I baked the cream tea scones - that I had planned to make even before the useless meeting - marvelled over my very sunny lemon dropish amber-silver ring I bought in Gdansk - what's not to love about the fact that I can have the sun on my finger any time I want?

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- then admired the ingenuity of some people's free form crocheting - something for which I alas have no real knack - and the fact that I was fortunate enough to get my eager little hands on one pretty awesome whimsical autumnal neckpiece (of which there will be a proper post later).

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This post wasn't at all what I had planned for today. But the quite disappointing morning meeting followed by such a waste of time by circumstantial transportation home rather shoved me into another direction of thoughts.

And I liked the fact that there was proper light today. That the sunny ring loved the company of rowanberries and the neckpiece enjoyed to play with autumn leaves. That the scones turned out scrumptiously perfect. And to be able to enjoy a bit of unpretentious cream tea under a pale autumnal sun in the here and now despite the not so fine start to the day, I believe that can be worth a post too ~

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

el naturalista iggdrasil boots

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Ever since I was fortunate enough to get a pair of Iggdrasil Oxfords and found them incredibly comfy - and just what my poor left foot needed to slowly recover, that they are incredibly quirky lovable and mood lifting charming on not only the surface is of course quite important too - I have been coveting the other Iggdrasils models. Especially the winter boots.

I happy to announce that they are now a part of the shoe family in this residence. A year older, perhaps dash wiser, a pair of snazzy red boots owner for sure. As they ooze good quality I'm pretty certain if cared for they will be my autumn-winter season friends for a long long time.

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For the El Naturalista Iggdrasil model in general it seems that I have to go up a size - to 41 instead of my usual 40 - that leaves good room for both toes and thicker socks. But at the same time I feel they fit snugly where needed and are roomy where that's needed. I find the soles to be supportive and despite their chunky (but feminine) look and sturdy feel they make for a very springy, energetic step forward.

The boots come in several alluring colour combinations, I went for the red ones. Since nothing says a good day to come quite like red shoes. In an ideal world I would have liked the red to be more of deep dark red rather than this wine red hue, but on the other hand it is a somewhat comforting nuance that's easily combined with most any colours this time of the year. The indisputable fact that they team up very well with wonderful, even magic, socks is of course something that makes walking in my boots even better these gloomy days of Swedish November ~

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Monday, November 09, 2009

a mouse in the cupboard

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Finding a furry little friend in the kitchen cupboard when you reach for your breakfast mug is t h e way to start the day, the week off on the right track. I'm now contemplating a proper name for a very white mouse that looks like a him. A very white him that has a very spongy tummy and an incredibly clever look. Any suggestions? I'm thinking he may look like a Herbert?

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

the comfort of saturdays

The reasons for me basically loving this fifth in one of my favourite series of books, the Sunday Philosophy Club-series by Alexander McCall Smith, are the same reasons as I love the series as a whole;

:: I can very much relate to the main character Isabel Dalhouise (philosophy paper editor/now owner and sleuth) and her musings, everyday philosophising, about every thing from the mundane to the truly world turning.

:: there's always something truly memorable and enlightening to quote/ponder about in every book. Many times it's my own thoughts put to paper by someone else. Such discoveries never ever fails to delight and uplift.

:: the main character's love for Scotland and Edinburgh - and I adore learning more from an insider's view on people and matters concerning them both.

:: the quiet kind of wittiness, humour and intelligence wrapped in unpretentious writing.

Thought provoking quotes from 'The Comfort of Saturdays' -

"... were they too brave, with the result that they were imposed upon in the name of vainglorious patriotism, chauvinism, easily led to slaughter? Should one be brave about the loss of one's only son, or should one break down and weep for the waste, the pointlessness of the loss; rail against the whole monstrous system that sent young men off in droves to climb up those ladders and stumble through the mud into veils of machine-gun fire? Why should anyone be brave about that?"

" ... the declaration of love could weaken its mystery, reduce it to the mundane. To say on the telephone, love you, ... was dangerous, .... because it made the extraordinary ordinary, and possibly meaningless."

There is one, not so tiny, recurring part of the books that now starts to annoy me though. That being the fact that a well-educated, well-mannered and kind, interesting, intellectual woman of independent means really shouldn't constantly question why her slightly younger beau prefers her over younger women. My advice would be, cherish and relish the fact that you've found a soul mate and any hesitations and specultions should be dealt with through talking with each other. There's time for quiet solitary musings as well as not.

More of my views on books by Alexander McCall Smith -
Folk Tales from Africa: The Girl Who Married a Lion
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate - SFC
The Right Attitude To Rain - SFC
Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
Careful Use of Compliments - SFC
The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Blue shoes and Happiness
44 Scotland Street

Friday, November 06, 2009

when magic yarn turned into socks

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When I was a child there was a very popular TV-series on - those were the days when there were only two, yes two, TV channels in Sweden. I'm still pondering if that could possibly have been the good ol' days for real. At least one was spared from the overflow of televised craptastic rubbish - called "Pojken med guldbyxorna" (The Boy with the golden trousers).

Based on a Swedish book about a boy who finds a pair of pants in a storage and then discovers he is able to get an infinite amount of money from the pockets of said trousers. I don't remember how the series ended but I remember it was quite a buzz watching the adventures of that boy. Most of us kids back then probably dreamt about finding such a magic pair of jeans, oh the things we could do with such a pair of amazing trousers...

I have long ago stopped dreaming about that particular kind of magic to happen - the inconvenience of growing older - but I do still nurture my belief in magic and dreams. Often the more down to earth but still not quite graspable magic like the incredible beauty of a snowflake or the whole world reflecting in a single raindrop, sometimes the more outlandish kind. Because what would a life, a world, without magic or dreams be? Simply non acceptable.

At an unconscious - so far - level my love for yarn may well stem from the obvious fact that magic has to be involved in such a thing as knitting. Since if one think about it, how can it be described as anything else than magical that with a single little measly thread and some needles one can accomplish such amazing and intricate creations?

Of course it's even better when the yarn itself is positively brimming with magicalness, the magic yarn did keep its promise of extraordinarity, first it turned out to be quite quite and then some delightful to knit with, then it transformed into magic socks.

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The mixed red cuties are for me, myself and I. Oh, I can see great deeds being accomplished wearing these weird and wonderful ones. The dark greenish pair - double thread, therefore not quite as magical but more prudent looking unfortunately - have been made for father's day this weekend. Yes, my views on father's day is the same as mother's day, but M insists on remembering both occasions and really, who am I to deny someone a sprinkle of magic in mostly prudent socks? When the yarn sirens call I can but humbly obey.

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Plus knitting~creating for others is one of those win-win situations (love them!);

:: I get to play around with whatever yarn I like without filling an already (admittedly) dash too full wardrobe AND
:: make someone (hopefully) happy with a personal, handmade, moodlifting (hopeful again) creation.

The weekend will find myself busy with creating of more magical socks. I'm in a irresistable, weird and rather wonderful magical yarn and sock knitting buzz.

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With wishes of a lovely magical
November weekend
for well deserving souls ~

Thursday, November 05, 2009

ikea musings and tea towels

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Admittedly I am not one of those who swoon from the whispers of the name that begins with an I continue with a K, E and ends with A. A major part of my childhood was lived in the vicinity of the largest and most famous IKEA department store ever - built in 1965 and the second one opened situated in Kungens Kurva in the southern outskirts of Stockholm - and most families I knew back then were pretty frequent visitors to that store.

I think many people found it pretty awesome that good (?) design suddenly was available for all wallets and the siren calls of modern, new, mass produced and cheap were irresistable. The many - now more obvious - back sides to the new and very shiny coin were nowhere to be seen.

Yes, I can see the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, as a clever, ingenious and in parts inspirational businessman. But I'm far from sure that I find the fact that the IKEA phenomena has spread over the world like a wildfire, as something Sweden should be all that proud about. For many reasons. Some of the reasons for that are the fact that I wholeheartedly advocate

:: small-scaleness production,
:: long-lived handcrafted quality.
:: add preferably with a quirky uniqueness.
:: not to mention, with those prices, how ethically sourced is the production, what about obvious criterias as organic and fairtrade?

So with few exceptions I rarely frequent IKEA as a grown up. The things the brand stands for do quite the opposite than speak to my heart. Apart from my Billy book-shelves - so far 10 of them, I claim pure necessity - I pride myself in not shopping IKEA.

There are the odd case when the above well advocated criterias meet IKEA and makes sweet love together. One such case being the rather brilliant, previously mentioned, 'I wish we had IKEA' tea towels made by South African designer Heather Moore with her brand Skinny la Minx available on Etsy.

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Even if I may say that one probably should not be so unhappy about not having an IKEA store nearby, I do love the quirky thought and end product. The orange towel I kept for myself, the grey one was a gift to someone who actually is a great fan of IKEA - being a woman in her forties whose goal in life still is to be working at IKEA when she grows up. Oh indeed we all have our different dreams - and she loved it, for every reason.

And such people, the ones who frequent IKEA a lot, do know their way around the product-names (imagine that) thus spotted a misspelling on sweet towels; table Leksvig 's proper name is table Leksvik.

Despite me being an upstanding member of the spelling squad wouldn't have spotted that for the world and I really don't care - see I can be as word mellow as the next one - because the towels are quirky and personal, cute and snazzy. And a pretty darn perfect gift to anyone who happens to think (imagine that) that IKEA is one of the most amazing places for shopping there is. Plus, the tea towels have been thoroughly paw approved.

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Dotty kitty prefered the grey version
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Whilst liquorice fellow chose orange
(a cat after my own heart)

Upon receiving the tea towels I also had a revelation of the uttermost Malte kind. The little loafie extraordinaire has obviously made a firm paw print at IKEA too - there's a bar stool pluming the Malte name. Of course nothing like the real deal on four legs, and a comfy arm chair had been a better choice for the distinguished name, but still cool cats dig bar stools as well as tea towels.

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