Tuesday, 29 June 2010

ivy ivy ivy

If I could, I'd let ivy grow all over the walls in the "new" room. I don't know why I love ivy so much, but I do. This is of course the part I'm most looking forward to when I've finished painting: finding a place for everything pretty I plan to put in there. Mostly it's actually old beautiful things from the 50's and 60's from my grandmother, that I'll mix with my usual Asian artifacts. For example I need another Maneki Neko cat, I want a bigger white one to start with, since I've only got this little golden one. Obviously I can't just have the one little lonely Japanese cat!?

I'll definitely get more flowing ivys like these, I just love them so much! The "flower theme" for our wedding party was red roses and ivy, it was very beautiful. I've finally started for real with the renovation as of yesterday, and got a few things done tonight as well. Mainly I painted a first coat on the shelves I'm still not sure I'm gonna put up or not, but I really like the colour. It's turquiose, and it looks really awesome with the teak furniture that will dominate the rest of the room. It looks so good I'm now considering maybe painting one wall in the same colour too.

Another good thing with putting the shelves back up is that they'll be perfect for the ivy. So I guess that's decided then. I'm getting a bit excited now! I just wanna finish it straight away. Too bad I'm completely swamped at work, so I can't even leave a bit early this week. Luckily we've got the very long bright nights right now, so I can easily do stuff pretty late if I feel like it.

There's not that much more I can do tonight though, and tomorrow I've got other plans, but Thursday I'll finish the shelves, and all the prepping hopefully. The boring stuff like putting adhesive tape around door frames and such. So that I maybe can do a first coating of the walls on Friday, a second one on Saturday, and put the furniture back in place on Sunday. That would definitely make me high-five myself big time. Wish me luck!

Hopefully one of my brothers will come help me with some new lamps I need to put up. Doesn't sound that difficult you might think, but I bought some new lamps that turned out to have the wrong electrical chords for my old fashioned apartment. And even if I like to try and do most things myself, I feel electrical chords are a bit out of my league.

Oh, and something weird happened today: I saw a woman wearing a Mr Price dress that I've got as well, and that I got the first time I went to Durban in December 2007. I wanted to ask her where she got it from, but was in a bit of a hurry back to work from my lunch break, so I didn't. Maybe she was South African? In that case I'm guessing she's enjoying the incredibly warm weather we're experiencing at the moment. So strange that I'm in Sweden almost getting heat struck, and my husband is having to use the heater in our Durban home. Upside down world.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

kitschy colours will make my day

Today Stockholm reminded me of a lot of things I had forgotten. Mainly how incredibly beautiful parts of it are, and that some of those parts are just a five minute walk from my house. I've got a plan, or a project, not only for my apartment, but also for me this summer. Most of that plan involves long walks along the water, sucking out the essence of the short warm season we've got up here. This morning I took the first long walk, and it was quite inspirational.

I saw a lot of flowers, and trees, and plants. And bumblebees. Very idyllic indeed. The idyll was interrupted on a regular basis though, when people with way too little, or just the wrong clothes were jogging past. Why can't people just get clothes that look normal and fit them, in general, but particularly when they're out running? All the more reason for me to look at the surroundings. Picture above is a detail from a small Indian poster my brother gave me a few years ago. I was on a rose hunt in my apartment earlier, inspired of all the nature I saw outside.

Here's a close-up on a very cute apron from Coctail, one of my all time favorite stores in Stockholm, on Skånegatan. There was a time when it was one of few things that had a real therapeutic effect on me. Just going into the store, being immediately surrounded by fairylights, plastic roses, mexican candy skulls, rubber neon lizards, handpainted enamel plates, and other wonderfully tacky and equally beautiful kitsch in mostly very strong colours, well it just lifted my spirit from whatever hole it had sunk into. We've all got our comfort zones, mine is kitsch heaven. I guess that's why I surround myself with a lot of it in my home, cos they help to keep me in a good mood.

After quite a few years of adding up to a fair amount of colourful kitschy items carefully placed around my place (soon to be our place as soon as my husband gets here of course), I've actually reached a point when enough's enough. A point I don't really see being reached when it comes to my vintage dress collection. Anyway, this is a tote bag a friend of mine got me after having admired hers so much. I just love it!

Especially in the morning it's important to wake up properly, and pretty red and pink plastic placemats can help a little bit. These are from Åhléns. I get new placemats quite regularly, it's such an easy and rather cheap way of giving your kitchen a mini-make-over.

I gave my kitchen a more complete make-over maybe 6 years ago, except that it didn't involve any painting. It started with me buying two extra chairs at IKEA, cos I only had two, and they were turquoise. Back then most of my kitchen was green, and not the kind of green that really went well with turquoise, so I started to exchange most things during a period of time. The two chairs I had from the start, were given to me from a friend of a friend who was moving, and I wanted to change the seats. So once again I went to Coctail and found this lovely Chinese rose and peonese fabric for the chairs.

Some time later Indiska had this supercute pillow case, and needless to say I just had to have it. I've said it before, and I'll repeat myself: I've got a serious thing for the combination of red, pink and turquoise, especially when it involves roses and peoneses.

If I remember correctly, this lovely vintage rose tin was a find from my hometown some summers ago. There's a flea market down in the harbour sometimes, and I found this and an amazing book I need to look for in the basement and share here. It's really quite incredible, you have to believe me until you can see for yourselves.

More Chinese roses and peoneses on a little box that I keep old photographs in. I've been meaning to sort them out for ages now, both picking out the good ones and putting them in albums, and throwing out the bad ones, and there are quite a lot of them. It would also be fun to scan a bunch of them, now that everything must be so digital all the time. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course. But for now the photos will stay safe in the box for a while longer.

Finally another buy from Indiska, a plastic tray that I've mounted on the wall. It's a bit weird that a lot of the Chinese looking things I've got come from Indiska (meaning Indian in Swedish), don't you think? Well I don't mind where they come from really, as long as they make me smile around my house, giving me injections of very much needed colour and kitschy therapy.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

project planning in progress

I seem to be stuck in the planning stage still, in regards to my renovation project. Meant to get started this weekend, and got a bit of this and that at the hardware store, including small paint cans for trial patches. After trying out the three colours I got, and waiting for them to dry, I realised that two of them were completely out of the question, and the last one I'm not too crazy about either. Right now I'm thinking of maybe just using the same shade of white, called mushroom, as I've got in my living room. I do want to at least try and keep the bed/guestroom a bit "calm", but I'm not sure I'll make it.

Intentions can go a long way though, and I guess it's a good thing to sit down and really think things through before getting started. After having done just that most of today, as well as browsing for inspiration online, I think I know how to place the furniture, but that can of course always be rearranged. One idea I've had is to hang my dresses all over the walls, at least I've got enough of them ... And they would definitely match the 60's furniture I've recently inherited from my late grandmother.

The most important things to get up on the walls are some amazing Mongolian calligraphy art pieces we got as a wedding gift from my family. That's mostly the reason why I want to keep the rest a bit more "neutral", so that they can really stand out. Then again, I'm very good at noticing all details at once, and believe all beautiful things that you like will look good together. I think maybe this whole hesitation is based on me wanting to do some shopping for new stuff though, and it's certainly not what I need. Except for a new lamp maybe. Possibly a new rug. And curtains. But that's it.

This very cute blue and green skirt is from my last visit to Humana, after getting off work early on Thursday, the hottest day yet since I came back, and I was a bit giddy after having had the tastiest ice cream in a long while. Sugar rush I guess is another word for it. 69 kronor it cost me, and I just couldn't resist the green pixly looking roses.

I also got this little white pretty blouse, which is a bit more romantic than I would normally wear, but a friend of mine gave me this wonderful skirt last week and they look like they were made for eachother, right? It cost only 59 kronor, and it needs some fixing, but it shouldn't be too complicated I hope. The projects are piling up ... Behind this outfit you can also see parts of the renovation that should soon be in progress. These shelves I'm gonna move to another wall I think, and paint them. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

old hometown looking older

Even though the greenery outside right now is luscious, and beautiful, I wanted to post some pics I "made" the other night. Read in another blog about this cool Japanese site where you can transform your pictures into vintage looking ones, and it was so much fun. These are all pictures from my hometown, Nyköping, a small town about an hour south of Stockholm. There are a lot of cute places there, and it's very nice for long walks, but I wouldn't want to live there again. The above picture is taken just down the small street where I lived the last three years before I moved away from home.

I love the stream, and the little walks by it's sides, and there are some adorable wooden bridges. Or maybe it's just the one, I honestly don't remember. Here it is anyway. It's also very beautiful in the winter, with lots of snow everywhere. There are some gorgeous sweeping weeping willows along the stream, it's one of my favorite trees.

I usually go by train when I go back, and this is the pretty little old station house. I've loved this station ever since I was little, maybe cos it also meant I was going somewhere else. But mainly cos I really love old station houses in red brick, although there aren't that many left nowadays I guess. There was a time when I dreamed about living in one, but I'm not too sure about that anymore. Trains are definitely my favorite mode of traveling, there's nothing like it. Well, it's not always great, it can be horrible, but when it's good it's the best.

Here's the most famous building in Nyköping: the castle. Terrible things happened there in 1317, during the dark middle ages, and every summer we get to relive it in the courtyard if we want. I've seen it enough times. One of the weirdest and most daring things I've ever done was climbing around the main part of the castle with a friend. She was always very daring and loved climbing, the complete opposite of me who've always been terribly afraid of heights. But for some reason, one night with a full moon, I just went for it, and nothing bad happened. It was incredibly scary at one point, but my friend encouraged me to jump and I made it. Crazy moon.

Also very close to the stream next to our old house, you'll find the old brewery, which is one of my favorite buildings. My dad used to have his office on the third floor, and there were some terrifyingly huge spiders outside the windows, one night I was even scared to walk home alone cos I imagined they would attack me. As is so often the case of course, attacking giant spiders are quite common in Sweden. The picture is taken from a bridge, and just below that bridge a heron called Harry usually stands on one leg looking very statuesque. For real. I wonder if he ever eats the spiders.

Here are the sweeping weeping willows, looking amazing as always. The house is another part of the old brewery, very classic redpainted wood with white window frames. In the Swedish countryside it's the most common house you'll see, well maybe except for the southern parts where a very low one storey white stone house is more common. As far as the weeping willows go, I've got one outside my building here in Stockholm, but I have no idea how common they are anywhere.

Finally a picture of another house that at least got a very famous architect, Ferdinand Boberg, and thereby should be famous. But is seems not even that many people from Nyköping know about the architect and the story behind the house, they might just think it looks a bit odd opposite the castle, with it's national romantic Swiss look. I'm not gonna give a lecture about it either, cos it's not that I'm an expert, but it's from 1906 and called NK-villan, that much I'll say. I'm not sure what I should say about the ghost standing in front of the house ... Let's leave it alone. Maybe it's just Harry flying by.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

saturday and sunday shopping sins

No excuses this time, just confessions. Spent quite a few hours yesterday walking around the eastern parts of Söder ("the south", my part of Stockholm) with a friend who was in a shopping spree mood. I tried my best to cheer him on, but in the end he had a hard time finding the perfect things he was really looking for. We found a few stores I've never been to before, so that was fun. I have been to Monki before though, just popped in to check out their sale, and got a bunch of black and white accessories for 120 kronor in total, which I was pretty happy with.

I've checked out Flying A once before, very briefly, and in Copenhagen it's one of my musts so I suggested to my friend that we'd go there. You'll find the store on Svartensgatan, very close to Mosebacke. It's not a very big place, and the store itself looks great with lots of vintage decorations to look at. They sell both vintage pieces and new stuff, and the vintage dresses they had were very cute, and very small, and not very cheap, so not for me. But I could not resist these rose hairpins, even though they weren't exactly cheap either, 100 kronor for two. So I better not loose them. I also love how cute that little plastic bag is.

One of the new stores we found actually opened about a year ago, but this was the first time I saw it. It's called 6-5-4 and you'll find it on Nytorgsgatan 27, a couple of blocks from Nytorget. It's a combined surf and clothing shop with an espresso bar, and I just loved the look of the place. Their website also looks great, check it out here. I fell in love with this t-shirt from Penguin clothing, and just had to buy it for my husband.

I actually think I like the tags as much as the t-shirt itself. I checked their website too, and they had some really nice pieces of retro looking clothes, that I guess might be made from old patterns since this company has been around since the 50's, as I understand it. The sizes were a bit ridiculous though, some of the dresses were only available in size 0, which is a joke if you ask me. How can a size be nothing? Ridiculous. Still, check out the website and take a look at some very nice things I'll never be able to wear.

Ended up walking around the western part of Söder today, with the same friend. First we walked to Hornstull, had coffee at Copacabana, and checked out the two vintage stores at the end of Hornsgatan. One's called Less is more, and they've certainly got lots of nice stuff, but since most of it is never used vintage stuff from the 50's to the 70's, they're a bit pricey. I do think it's worth it, but couldn't find anything I fell in love with. I really wanted a little 60's supercute top, but it was too small. The other store has furniture and stuff too, and I think the prices are quite good. I'm gonna go back later and checks out their lamps properly, cos I saw some good potential.

As we were walking back towards Mariatorget my feet were hurting so bad I almost wanted to cry. I have serious issues with my feet all year around, but it's usually worst in the summer. It doesn't matter what kind of shoes or sandals I wear, they'll start to bleed or chafe or just generally ache no matter what. So when we walked past Humana's newly opened store on the corner of S:t Paulsgatan and Timmermansgatan, I really felt I had to find something nice to make up for the pain. And I sure did! The cute little red and white scarf I got there for 39 kronor, and then I found two perfect dresses.

I'm so in love with this print, I can't stop looking at it. It's a bit crazy, but since the colours are quite dark I don't think it feels too busy. It's like fireworks and the ocean and trees and meadows! What's not to love? The cut of the dress is very nice too, a little bit japanese looking in my eyes, and the fit is just about perfect, I only need to take it in a little bit on the sides, or wear it with a belt. The cost was a fair 149 kronor. Over all, the prices were quite reasonable, and they had a good selection of stuff. There were a lot of 50's and 60's chiffon pastel nightwear, that I decided not to get any of this time, but I'm pretty sure I'll go back just for that.

This lovely green-turquoise creation I just grabbed without looking at it properly, cos I loved the colour and print, and was just hoping it would fit me. In the dressing room I wanted to jump up and down when I put it on, cos it fit so perfectly, and looked so great, and I really noticed the nice little details on the front. It's such a great feeling.

The colour looks very different in the shots, but it does alternate quite a lot depending on the light. I really like simple embellishments like this, to me it's very 60's. It's in great condition, and in another store it would probably cost a lot more than the 159 kronor I paid for it. Oh, and it's not polyester! It's actually jersey, so not a perfect summer's dress, but still perfect.

As I limped back home my feet were still hurting like hell, but I felt very happy about my purchases and that's always worth a bit of pain.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

beautiful bras and bracelets

Not that surprisingly I didn't last that long with this "non-shopping" idea I got the other day. Oh well, hopefully I'll calm down by next week. Or not. I was really just going to the post office to pick up a box of stuff I sent up from Durban just before I left. Some tea, books, a pair of sandals, and a few pieces of clothing. But while in the shopping centre I noticed a lot of the stores had an early summer sale. It just seemed rude not to check it out, when they didn't get any of my shopping for months now. I came home with three bra's, a cardigan, a belt, and some bracelets.

I used to hate shopping for underwear and thought most things looked completely vulgar, but now there are so much of wonderful vintage looking bras out there and I think I'm a bit addicted. A silly thing to be addicted to really, cos it's not like I walk around showing them off, but it does somehow give me a very nice feeling knowing I've got pretty things on from the inside out.

Lace, roses, pastels, tiny bows and such, I just can't get enough of them. Especially when it's 50% off. The mint green one is from Lindex, and was actually more like 70% off. The other two are from Twilfit.

From Lindex I also got this super cute bunch of bracelets in different turquiose tones, and I like that I can just pick and choose or simply wear all of them at once. They go with most of my more summery clothes, so a perfect and quite cheap purchase as well, just 39:50 kronor.

I also wanted to show off my beautiful orchids that I was very happy to find was in bloom when I got back. Well it's a new bunch of flowers since I bought them last fall, when I got back from Durban that time. I love orchids a lot, I've got four others that are not in bloom right now, and it makes me want to buy new ones meanwhile. At the moment my windows are a bit full though, so I guess it's not the best idea.

If the weather is nice this weekend, I'm gonna clean my windows, cos it's really a bit embarrassing how dirty they are. My only excuse is that it was way too cold to clean them in March before I left. So, weekend plans: clean windows, meet up with friends, unpack more stuff from the basement, and plan renovating my bedroom that I'm not gonna let out for the first time since I moved in almost 10 years ago. That's a big project actually, and I'm very much looking forward to it. It's my big summer project to keep me busy and hopefully not thinking so much about the fact that I'm here and my other half is on the other side of the world. We do what we gotta do.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

tuesday treats

I decided to give myself a few treats for returning to the cold north, for the time being alone as it is, but just until August. When we went to Exclusive Books a while back I found two amazing books that I just fell immediately in love with, but they were way too expensive for my bargain taste. I checked my usual internet book store, and they had them for half the price, so last week I ordered them and today they arrived. Just look at this cover!

Every spread in the book is as beautiful as the cover, I might show it off some more in a later post. I just love that the book is mine now, it's probably one of the most beautiful books I own, and I own a lot of pretty books. I can't help but collect them, they make me happy. Graphic design and typography history doesn't get more gorgeous than this, for sure.

This one is equally wonderful, I can't look at it enough. I'd like to eat it in fact. Lettering and fonts are definitely two of my favorite things in the world, it's just something that speaks to me in an immediate way and sort of fills in some gaps. That might sound weird, but I don't care. Maybe a better way of describing it would be that it's like music to my eyes. Yes, that feels very accurate.

What music does to my ears, all the way to my heart and my brain, is what letters do to my eyes. Of course the combination of letters into words and sentences and books usually follows, and has the same effect. As corny as it may sound it completes me.

Then there's Edward Gorey! My hero! And now I'm gonna read everything about him and his amazing amazing AMAZING work! Sorry for all the exclamation marks, but I'm pretty stoked about getting this book and diving into it as soon as possible. I've been meaning to post about Mr Gorey before, but never gotten around to it for some reason. After reading this book, I'll hopefully be able to post something more profound than "amazing amazing AMAZING".

But if you don't know anything about Edward Gorey, I think it should be enough to look at these two pictures to understand what a complete genius he is. And these are just his illustrations, mind you, and as incredible they are on their own, his texts bring it to a whole different dimension, out of this world, if you ask me. Or as I tell you, rather. Just hear me one more time, then I'll move on for now: Edward Gorey is amazing!

As another treat, although I sort of decided that I shouldn't even think about shopping until I've unpacked everything that sits in the basement right now, I couldn't help but check out my closest Salvation Army store on my way home from work. And there a perfect dress was waiting for me, who knew? Black and white gingham, very simple cut, looks a little 60's but doesn't have a tag and I suspect it might be homemade, and it fit me just perfectly. 85 kronor sealed the deal. Although the small white buttons are very cute, I'm thinking of exchanging them for red or pink ones, if I can find some nice that would fit.

Finally I couldn't walk away from a polyester blouse for 65 kronor, even though the style of it is a bit too frumpy for my taste. I just adore the flowers, and I'm sure I'll figure out a way to use the fabric for something else. Maybe I'll turn it into another top, or incorporate parts of it with something else, or make an apron, or bag, or pillow case, or head bands. I'll keep you posted.