Friday, 31 December 2010

happy new year

I've kept a pretty low profile the last week of the year, it was well needed, but it seems polite to check in and wish everyone a happy new year at least! I have a lot of ideas and plans for 2011, but will try and not get too hung up about them, and rather just do my very best to execute them. As with pretty much every year in my life, there have been ups and downs this year as well, some sad news, and some very exciting news. In the end maybe they cancel each other out? I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve, it's always been too much pressure for me, even though I do recall a handful of rather fun ones. But since I met my husband, we've spent these eves on our own, which we will do this year too. We both like it best like that, with a bunch of movies, some nice but simple food, and a glass of sparkling wine at 12.

I also want to take this opportunity to commemorate my maternal grandmother, who passed away last New Year's Eve. Karin Axelina Nilsson, you will always be in my heart.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

yangtorp pt. 1: snow white

Here's a first (white) selection of beautiful views from Yangtorp, the qigong resort in the south of Sweden, that we visited last week. I knew we were going there, but I still wasn't prepared for this sight when we went around a corner. Obviously we couldn't have asked for a nicer day to go there, even though it was freezing cold. It's not completely finished yet, but the qigong temple is ready and in use, and the hotel is up and running. The restaurant is also open, and as you know the shop as well. I hope to get back there in the summer, to do some more shots when it's surrounded by all greens instead of this white landscape.

After this visit we went a little further up the road (the usual distance between places in the country side, where ever you go in the world it seems), where a tiny little village is it's own republic (don't ask me why or how it works). There's one little grocery shop, and opposite it is a small bakery, which was open on a Sunday. They had a lovely selection of baked goods, but it also turned out to be a thai restaurant. This part of Sweden is sure full of surprises. We had a delicious lunch there, and bought a bag full of buns and cakes to bring home.

It was a very good Sunday indeed.

Monday, 20 December 2010

creating christmas

With just a few days to go, I'm trying my best to get into Christmas spirit. I decided to throw in a few more decorations, though for some reason they always seem to blend into the rest of my home, that's already quite red and festive ... Anyway, here's a vintage embroidered window cloth (or whatever it might be called) from my grandmother, to accompany the electric candlestick, also from her.

This little red robbin lives in one of my green plants.
He doesn't mind the snow as long as it stays outside.

I got some hyacinths last week, and I really hope they'll start to blossom in time, because that smell is the most Christmassy smell I know. I planted them in some nice big red mugs I have. Another table cloth from my grandmother, and two tiny santa figurines I got for 2 kronor each at the Salvation Army last year. They're ridiculous, so I just had to put them there to complete the Christmas still life. The plant in the middle is an orchid that's sometimes called a Christmas orchid. It's quite old and probably won't recover and bloom again, but I just can't throw it away just yet. If there's life, there's hope, right?

Another group of hyacinths I planted in a very classic vintage dish called ”Berså”, designed by Swedish Stig Lindberg in the 60's. You can find a few items in this design that are produced anew, but the two things I've got are from my grandmother. I wanted some green moss, but the lady in the store said that because of the snow I wouldn't be able to find it anymore. So I asked what else she could suggest I use, and she said nuts and I think it works quite well. It's quite traditional to have a bowl of whole nuts and a nutcracker for Christmas where I come from, so it seems suitable too.

I really like the so called polka amaryllis, which are white with pinkish red stripes, so I got one of those too. That will most likely not blossom before or in time for Christmas, but maybe for New Year's? It's not like my need for flowers will disappear after the weekend. The little crochet table cloth is also from my grandmother.

The last vintage table cloth from my grandmother in this post, with pretty and rather plain embroideries I really like. I forgot to light the fourth Advent candle yesterday, so I'm doing that tonight, let all the candles burn down. I'll show a close-up on the beautiful glass ball some other time. In the old mustard glass jar we keep polka candy.

So there you have it, a little piece of Christmas in our home!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

more Korean cuties

Hello, I'm the cutest woven tag you've ever seen. For real. Have you ever seen a woven tag cuter than me? I didn't think so. I'm Korean, and I sit inside a tote bag, and with my parachute I've travelled all the way from Korea to Sweden. It was a long journey, but I'm glad I made it and I'm certain I'll have a good life here.

Okay, so among the Korean gifts my father's wife gave me was also this super cute tote bag. I love the sort of surprised look of the birds, and the colours are just perfect. It's slightly padded which makes it a bit more sturdy than most tote bags, and I also like that it closes with a button.

For now this is my new favorite bag, and it goes everywhere I go.

And check out the magic – it's reversible! And just as cute on the other side, with matryoshka dolls. I've seen so many prints with these kinds of dolls lately, seems to be a trend. Well I don't mind it one bit, bring them on. (Can you see the pretty pretty tag next to the pocket by the way?)

I used to have a real Russian matryoshka when I was little. I wonder what happened to it, because I don't have it now, and I don't think it's still at my mum's house.

Okay, so this is the logo for the Korean company that made the bag, Dorocshop. They have a website as you can see, with other really lovely bags and some scarves, but with all the information in Korean I don't really know much about anything. So I'm happy I've got this bag for now, it will be with me for a long long time.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

korean cats

My father's wife went to Korea recently, and she very kindly got me some lovely gifts I must share with you. This cat postcard is probably the cutest (printed) cat I've ever seen, seriously! How can someone look at that little face and not smile? Impossible! I just found out that there's a webstore with more items like this cutie, Jetoy. Unfortunately most information is in Korean, a language I do not master one little bit, but maybe there are ways around that. There are just too many precious things there!

On the other hand, I might just as well go to Seoul for some live shopping instead! I was reading this little shopping guide, and it seems to be a city to my taste in general. If I do go I'll definitely visit the National Museum of Korea, where this beautiful notebook is from. Oh, I can just imagine all the treasures in such a museum. I'm a bit of a museum-runner, not because I'm not interested in art, I am indeed, but I tend to get overwhelmed. So I usually run through quickly first, like a browsing session, and then go back and stay longer in front of the pieces that made the strongest impression on me (tilting my head to the side, nodding understandingly, sighing ...). When it comes to Asian art though, I will surely be overwhelmed and then some. Only doing it will let me know how it will go.

This painting is called “Cats and Sparrows”, by Byeon Sang-byeok, 18C. It seems cats are popular in Korea, all the more reason for me to go there!

A little fan card was also among the presents. Very pretty with a print by Shin Yun-bok, 17C, from Gansong Art Gallery. It says on the back: “A man staring at a woman with her hand in the water and a young man with a long tobacco pipe in his mouth and his hand on a woman’s shoulder, forcefully engaging in a conversation. A long bearded elder showing composure, listening to the chords of a reed instrument and a clarinet type. All of these character’s interactions on the boat are successfully portrayed when it could’ve been monotonous.”
In case you were wondering what was going on there. Now you know.

I know it's a bit weird maybe, but even getting a Korean receipt made me happy, because it's so nice looking! I love Asian alphabets and typography.

One day, hopefully, I might post pictures from my travels in the Far East. One day ...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

fantastic flowers and birds

A few weeks ago I got two lovely belated birthday gifts from a dear friend that I hadn't seen for a while. This is one of the gifts, an adorable cup and saucer, here with a midmorning cup of coffee and some gingerbread bisquits, a must this time of year.

Just look at these little birdies sitting in a tree full of flowers! Too cute! Right now I'm having Five Roses Rooibos & Honey in it, which is my favorite evening tea, and some Riviera Chocolate Luvbites, that we just got in a care package from my mother-in-law in Durban. Delish!

We just came back from a small holiday down south in Sweden, and later I'll show some pretty pictures from an incredible place we visited. But for now I'm just gonna brag about this beautiful piece of art that my husband got for me: a Chinese wood carving. When I saw it I just knew I had to have it! It's not only beautiful, it smells wonderful too, don't know what wood it's made of though. Something nice smelling.
Cedar Maybe?

I love these phoenix birds. They make me think of getting a phoenix tattoo, that I've considered on many occasions before.

And how about these roses? Oh, how I just adore Chinese arts and crafts. Now comes the delicate question of finding the perfect place for it in our flat, where I can see it the most. Will have to get back on that.

Enjoy your own evening cup of tea!
And get yourselves ready for another giveaway coming up in a little bit!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

i’ve joined a cult

It's been quite a few years since I first started hearing about Swedish Hasbeens. Then I saw some in the store, and I liked the look just fine, but thought they were way too expensive. Seeing them on lots and lots of people over the years has made me grow fonder of them, but they've remained too expensive for my taste. Until now. Today I heard about this garage sale for only one day, and I thought I'd just pop in and see what all the fuss is about. I came out with these wedge braided cuties, and felt like I had joined a cult, but gotten in the back door since I only had to pay 400 kronor for these. Thank you very much.

On my way back from my cult session I walked past a very nice vintage store I forgot about, because I hardly ever walk that way. They have a nice selection of vintage knick knacks, mostly homeware stuff, and a few other things like jewellery and newly produced retro things as well. After looking around for a specific gift to a specific person, and not really finding it, I was walking out when I saw something. Sometimes I'm happy that I'm able to spot things in the corner of my eye, when it comes to spiders and cockroaches, not so much. Anyway, purchasing something nice gets even nicer when you get it in an old fashioned candy paper bag.

What I saw was considerably more beautiful than any insect (although I do appreciate the beauty in other insects than the ones mentioned above), and cost me 75 kronor out of my christmas gift money my husband gave me to be spent on pretty things for myself. Very good deal, and I've already got both perfectly matching earrings and a necklace.

By the way, I used to wear clogs all the time growing up, in the 70's in Sweden it's what you did. But the clogs back then were not as stylish as the hasbeens, and not as high heeled. You'd get braided ones like the ones I bought now, but I never had any like those. Until now. Okay, I'm gonna stop going on about the cult now. Now I only have to wait about 6 months until I can wear them.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

pp guest post over at cc

Today I'm very honoured to be guest posting over at the lovely Cupcake Couture blog, on the topic of doing your own Christmas cards. Check it out HERE.

Monday, 6 December 2010

gifting myself

The electric candlesticks are in their places, a big part of the christmas gifts are already wrapped, and I'm counting down the days until one month leave from work. Friday is the last day, I can't wait! There are so many things I wanna do on my leave, but I also wanna spend a lot of time doing nothing since I feel pretty energy drained after an autumn of hard work. First of all we're going to the Southern tip of Sweden though, to celebrate an early Christmas with my father, his wife and my youngest brother. I'm really looking forward to that, because we're always getting really good food and wine and conversation there, and a good dose of Wii. Which is just what I need right now.

This lovely red steel candlestick is my grandmother's old one, I think it's from the 50's or 60's.

And here's the 60's teak candlestick I've shown before. I need to get some hyacinths next week, it's the best Christmas smell I know.

In the spirit of the season I got myself some early Christmas gifts today. This showroom place close to work occasionally sells samples a lot cheaper than usual, and I found two pairs of very cute earrings I couldn't resist. This white pair reminded me of snowballs, and they're made out of shells actually.

Ruby red, drop shaped lovelies that will compliment half my wardrobe, so pretty! Both these pairs cost 70 kronor each, and I just know I'm gonna use them a lot.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

dreamy creations from jumperfabriken

On my way home from work I went into a store that I try to stay away from. Mainly because they carry some really nice, but very expensive brands, and I try to not tempt myself too much. But during the last few weeks I've been looking at a cardigan every morning, thinking how perfect it looks, and how much I'd like it to be mine. Today it was gone, and I couldn't help but go inside to see if it was there still. It was, and it is expensive, and gorgeous. It's made by Swedish brand Jumperfabriken (The Jumper Factory), and checking out their website I started to feel a bit faint, because everything is so beautiful. They all have female names, so let me present my favorite selection for you. My "original" cardigan is called Rosanna, and costs 1.295 kronor.

This black and white hound's tooth jumper is simply amazing. So 60's! She's called Daniela and costs 999 kronor (about the same in rand).

The designers behind the brand are Elisabeth Synnes and Carina Zervakos, and they started the company in 2007. They're inspired by vintage photos from the 50's and 60's, and mainly design knitted jumpers and dresses. Like this cute jacquard dress called Judith, for 1.195 kronor.

This pretty in pink folklore cardigan would certainly brighten up any snowy, dark winter night. She's called Laura and will set you back 999 kronor.

I don't wear hoodies, but especially in knitwear I like a nice hood once in a while. In fact I'm wearing one today, a favorite find from Mr Price back in Durban. This particular black and white lady is called Stina and has got a price tag saying 1.295 kronor.

Here's another piece of perfection, the cut, the colours, the buttons, the pattern, all made out of 100% lamb's wool. Siv is the name, 999 kronor the price.

I can't decide which colour is the cutest. This cardy they also had in the store, and it's so soft and wonderful.

And even though I don't like wearing blue that much, I'd surely make an exception for this beauty, Vilhelmina. For 1.195 kronor she can be yours. Or mine, obviously, if I was in the habit of paying that much for clothes. Which I'm not, as previously stated. In this particular case I'm seriously considering making an exception though, simply because every one of these pieces would make me happy for sure, and seeing as I'm currently living in a climate where we've got winter about 6 months of the year, of course there would be plenty of opportunities to wear it/them. I'm not sure if I'm trying to convince you, or myself.

Anyway, I did actually buy some new knitwear today, for a total of 105 kronor I got one shortsleeved jumper and one cardigan at the Salvation Army. They were pretty enough, but I'll be dreaming about all these girls for a while still. Siv, Stina, Judith, and everyone else.