Friday, February 29, 2008

it's pretty much all about the stash

i've been reading stephanie pearl-mcphee's knitting books casts off and knitting rules and now i understand why i keep ordering the beautiful yarn from posh yarn. if i'm going to be a proper knitter, i have to have a stash. who cares if i can actually knit? that worries me very little, actually. what matters is that it's lovely and soft and it makes me feel good, just caressing it or even just walking past and seeing it there in the basket (tho' i will soon need a larger basket). additionally, it may eventually help to insulate the house and save on heating bills. so it's an environmentally sound thing to do. (do you hear that, husband?)

the stash concept may also explain the obsessive acquisition and stockpiling of scrapbooking supplies. i've carried the notion of establishing a stash over into that zone. i have managed NOT to photograph the pretty papers (because i think that frankly, we're all pretty tired of hearing about those). but the stamps and ribbons and little bits and bobs all look very pretty, don't they? and for some strange reason, having them and looking at them (even without really using them) makes me inexplicably happy.

incremental steps

at my painting class today i made great progress and here it is!! it's not finished by any means, as i haven't actually PAINTED on it yet. but, with shaking hands and a pounding heart, i ripped my beloved pretty papers. i think it was good for me, even tho' it felt strange at first. after my heart stopped pounding, it was quite fun to lay them all out and move them around on the large canvas until they seemed right. then i glued them down.

i began thinking that i wanted there to be a bunch of writing in between the pieces of paper. private journal-style writing. but when i started to think about what to write, quotes came out. some favorites that are simply in my head, but then a bunch of those i've been collecting in my little black books for ages. at first, i had intended to paint completely over the writing so that it can't be read, but as i began to scatter the quotes, it seems like now i want them to show, at least to an extent. i'm not finished yet, writing on it. and i've only thought about the painting. what i want to do is extend the pattern again with paint--sort of make the ripped paper whole again using paint. i think that i can learn something about mixing colors and also get to the bottom of what pleases me so much in these papers--what it is that gives me that feeling of molecular alignment .

maybe painting will be the thing that helps me through after all...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

making it mine

my head was feeling heavy, but then strangely, everything began to seem clear. all of the struggle i've been having with the "creativity issue." i speed-wrote 4 pages in my journal about it. about my frustrations. about my love of pretty paper. and yarn. but of my inability to actually really DO anything with either one. there is something appealing simply about the acquisition, but that's not really what's been blocking the creativity. i think i've been blocking it myself...(imagine that).

what i failed to recognize (or admit) is that there is some part of me that craves order. although i am currently living in a torn-apart house (building project) and many of my belongings are in boxes, i don't really like chaos. i make lists, for god's sake, of course i like order, why didn't i see this before? (husband said i wasn't ready.) i actually really like having a frame within which i work..and create, as it turns out. which i suppose is why knitting is appealing--that's VERY organized--i just need some help from an experienced knitter (or two) to get rolling on that and it will come.

but, my painting class has been a bit of a source of frustration to me, since i feel i can't adequately let go when i'm there. it was worst the first week. i've done a bit better since then. but last week, one of the other people in the course told me that i just needed to "slip hestene løs." basically, i just need to let go of whatever it is i'm clinging to...and that seems to be the frames. those blank canvases stretch before me in a WAY too wide-open, intimidating manner. the possibilities are limitless and some core part of me wants limits. i would like someone to say, today, we paint fish. and then i could contentedly paint fish like crazy. fantasy fish. colorful fish. fish that don't exist in nature. fish like you've never seen. but to stand there and say, "hey, self, what do you fancy painting today?" that's totally paralyzing.

same with the scrapping. i adore the supplies. the pretty paper makes my heart sing and my molecules align. but to imagine cutting it, or worse yet...ripping it! no, don't make me do that. it's because it's not mine--metaphorically speaking, it's mine, i've paid for it (tho' most of it was on massive sale or bought with the very low dollar--and i can show you the money i saved, husband, don't worry).

what i've been good at, creatively-speaking, is taking someone else's idea and making it mine. like when i painted the wooden stools for our little bitty apartment on elmelundevej. i took the shapes from the matisse paper cut-out poster hanging in the living room. i chose my own colors, i made custom stencils and i painted colorful, wonderful stools. it was a creative act, but not a wholly original act. and that was OK!!!

or when i painted 63 little viking ships around our dining room on baldersgade. they were lovely. and they were an adaptation of a little ship from my big world of art coffee table book. again, an original twist on something that i didn't originate. but totally creative. and wholly mine in the end.

so, what i need to do is find MY interpretation of scrapbooking. what attracts me are the supplies (have i mentioned that i love those pretty papers?), the notion of preserving memories (that whole nature of memory thing has been a preoccupation of mine for's there in the choices of what i read and i would have written my dissertation on it had i gotten around to writing one), and actually, the camaraderie that seems to surround it (even if it's only in cyberspace). but why it's been so hard is that it hasn't felt like MINE. i'm trying to do someone else's thing. i need to stop that and do MY thing.

same with the painting. tho', i've made a modicum of progress there. i've at least been experimenting with color and brush strokes and not trying paint a picture per se. what i need to do there is take the prettiest of my pretty papers, glue them to the damn canvas (preferably after having the heart to rip them a bit) and then paint off of them. try to dig into what it is that makes my molecules align and hum in perfect pitch (which i swear happens with the best of those pretty papers--basic grey biology, i mean you) and try to create it MYSELF on the canvas. combine the things that have been preoccupying me and make them mine.

i can do this. all it took was recognizing what it was i needed to do and letting go of all the angst. excuse me while i go make a list now of the things i need to bring to painting class tomorrow...

not again...

sabin's been home sick this week. and now i'm feeling a bit strange. i already had this cold, why do i have to have another one?? why me? my head is heavy, i'm slow to react (much slower than normal), it feels as if people are talking to me from very far away. i don't wanna be sick....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

things to remember

i made a page today with my red velvet kit stuff (at long last, after staring at it and lovingly fingering the papers and embellishments on a daily basis for over a week). i also used some awesome journaling tags i got from elle's studio on etsy and a few scraps of fabric i bought 5 years ago to make a pullover for sabin. it's to remind me of all the things i want to remember as i start my new job next week. lessons learned after losing myself a bit too much in my last job. since i can't scan in 30x30, i took some (not too great) pix of it...

my favorite bit of journaling says, "listen to your inner voices and to husband's out-loud voice."

i mixed handwriting and small sticker letters for variety and to keep it from being too squarey and perfect. tho' i admit to feeling strangely nervous about writing on the beautiful little journaling tags--they're so pristine and wonderful, i hate to mess them up! i'll have to get over that feeling.

the small owls are to remind me to be wiser in this job.

the picture was taken at ephesus in turkey. i'm sitting right below the statue of sophia, the divine wisdom, although you can't see her in this picture. that serves as another reminder for me to be wiser. if we don't learn from our experiences, then they are for nothing. i will be wiser and better to myself this time around.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

unraveling the mysteries of the blogosphere

spending far too much time looking at and reading blogs in the past month. i say looking at, because many of them have beautiful photography, which i enjoy very much. but there's also a lot of interesting reading out there. i've learned a few things. for one, i'm what they call a lurker. i read a lot of blogs, i "favorite" them (i don't subscribe, that would start a landslide that i don't want, having just gotten out from under a mountain of email), but generally speaking, i don't comment.

i guess for me it's a bit like walking through the neighborhoods between the train station and our house on the way home from work. i'm there, bundled in my coat, walking along in the darkness in my solitude. in the houses that i pass, lights are glowing and families are gathering around the dinner table. i see plants and flickering candles on the window ledges. i might catch a glimpse of a painting on a far wall. i see a father and daughter with heads bent over the table and imagine that they're working on homework. there's a glow of a t.v. or computer screen on a boy's face. i get a warm flash of insight into that family's life. but, i stand outside of it, an observer. that's what i'm doing in the blogosphere as well. catching glimpses of people's lives and especially of their creativity (since those are the blogs i most frequent), but enjoying and in some cases being positively effected by their thoughts and observations on life.

i guess for now i will lurk on and perhaps eventually begin to participate with a comment here and there...

coffee after 4 p.m.

maybe it was too much coffee, but i am feeling that feeling that comes over me every so often. the feeling that i can't sleep because it would be a waste of time. there's so much to do and create. so many thoughts to get down on paper. so much knitting to be learned. so much beauty to be created. so many memories to be preserved. so much life to be embraced. there's no time for sleeping.

the world is full of inspiration. the crocus are already in bloom. the air is filled with the very texture of spring. it awakens feelings of invincibility--i can clean, i can organize, i can make things, i can cook, i can paint, i can write, i can knit (ok, that was going a little too far). i don't need sleep. to sleep would be to waste this feeling, to lose my grasp on it. the feeling has a strong green color--a spring green--i note this because i'm working on strengthening and broadening the band of my synesthesia.

a note about synesthesia (tho' you can go read the wiki link yourself) defines it as: a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. my experience of it most often comes with smells--i get a strong visual of a color with certain smells. but it can also be more abstract--a feeling can give a strong sensation of color for me. i'm working on tuning into those moments, as i think it happens more often than i realize, but because it's second nature to me, i'm not always conscious of it.

they say it runs in families. i think my sister has the number version of it--where she sees something in certain number combinations (2s and 7s anyone?).

anyway. it's an interesting notion. and it seems to be keeping me up this evening....

Monday, February 25, 2008

tickets in hand

i'm always happiest when i have at least one set of airline tickets in hand (or confirmed on email, since they're not often in hand in these days of e-tickets). i just ordered tickets for the whole family to barcelona the first weekend in april. it's going to be so much fun! great food. a bit of shopping. seeing the sights. gaudi. las ramblas. tapas. street artists. spring.

i haven't been there since november of 2004, when i had only a few hours before my sailing trip to get some sunglasses, so i can't really say i've seen much. i mainly remember the street performers and a very cool shop where i bought a colorful glass ring.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

books read so far in 2008

just read a list on another blog, books and cooks, of all the books this woman, tara, whose blog it is, has read thus far in 2008. and i thought that was a brilliant idea. so before i forget any of them:
  1. elizabeth gilbert, eat, pray, love (twice)
  2. donald c. johanson and maitland a. edey, lucy: the beginnings of humankind
  3. dubravka ugresic, the ministry of pain
  4. francis wheen, hoo-hahs and passing frenzies
  5. josé eduardo agualusa, the book of chameleons
  6. stewart lee allen, in the devil's garden
  7. nigel slater, kitchen diaries
  8. nigel slater, real food
  9. nigel slater (are we detecting a theme here?), appetite
  10. nigella lawson, feast
  11. simon hopkinson, roast chicken & other stories
  12. simon hopkinson, second helpings of roast chicken
  13. sam and sam clark, casa moro: the second cookbook
  14. paul cunningham, madjournal
  15. tamasin day-lewis, good-tempered food
  16. j.k. rowling, harry potter and the philosopher's stone (read to sabin)
  17. j.k. rowling, harry potter and the chamber of secrets (read to sabin)
  18. siri hustvedt, what i loved
  19. bill bryson, the life and times of the thunderbolt kid
  20. natalia rose, the raw food detox diet

i know, you're thinking, hey lady, a bunch of those are cookbooks, people don't read cookbooks. but you would be wrong. i actually DO read cookbooks. cover to cover. when the cookbook writers today write as well as nigel slater and nigella lawson, it's silly NOT to read them cover to cover. and be inspired.

i'm going to keep updating this list throughout 2008 and see how many books i manage to read. i've never really thought about keeping track before, so thanks tara, for the inspiration!

too yummy not to

buccaneer - emily

disco - laura

fandango - laura

i was going to restrain myself today, but instead, i found myself strangely drawn to my computer at 7 p.m., right when this week's posh yarn lovelies went on sale. how could i possibly resist? i resolve to learn to knit properly this week so that i'm worthy of this yarn. either that or sit around and stare at it all day long in the yarn basket and just enjoy how completely beautiful it is.

two front teeth

sabin's two front teeth are finally coming in. they're huge and they seem pretty far apart. we'll have to see how they are when they are finally all the way in! luckily the dental bills are paid by the state 'til she's 18!! at least we might get something for all that tax money!
note that she's wearing the shirts she got from grandma for her birthday!

Friday, February 22, 2008

yarn candy indeed

i got my posh yarn order in the mail today. i had to pile it up in my yarn basket (which seems to be getting a bit full) and photograph it in the natural light coming in the window upstairs. it's all even more beautiful and soft and luxurious than i had imagined. i seriously need to get better at knitting so that i can turn it all into something lovely. we're feeling a bit tired after our big day out at møn's klint yesterday, so we're going to do nothing more strenuous than rolling the skeins into balls. the green ones on top are last week's posh yarn order, which we already rolled. oops, this is turning into an addiction.

the picture doesn't do justice to how luscious the colors are (i'm trying not to use the word "gorgeous" so much).

and of course, it's all very, very soft (which is in and of itself a sign of superior quality).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


...if i see one more supposed art journal that is based on an anthropologie catalogue, i'm going to throw up. there's no originality in that. get a life, people. art jounals should contain ART, not just some crappy pictures someone pasted out of a magazine and around which they whined about their pathetic, fat, nothing happening life in stamped letters. arrgh! i'm sick of the sap. i'm sick of the nostalgia. i'm sick of the sentimentality. free me from the sentimentality!!! and free me from the perfect little square corners.

i love pretty papers. i love quotes. i love expressing myself. i love creativity. i love chipboard letters. i love those paper clip thingies and brads. i love alphabets. i love bling and bits of ribbon. rub-ons are cool. and i've been journaling for years in beautiful books. but does it have to result in utter sap? where is the authenticity? where is the rawness? where is the art? where is the inspiration? these people think they're artists. they're not. they're housewives with no lives!!! i SOOOooo don't want to be THAT!

ok, in all fairness (to myself if no one else), i'm pretty sure i'm not that. i mean, it's totally clear that i have a life....and quite a lot of yarn. and scrapbooking supplies. but no sentimental nostalgic sap here. leave it at the door, baby.

the internet may be killing me....

the internet is huge

"The Internet promotes a form of cultural obesity – its vastness, often heralded as an unparalleled good, now threatens our intellectual health," says Lee Seigel in a book called Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.

as i've found myself whiling away hours and hours in the blogosphere of late, i've been pondering whether the internet is good for me or not. it's so vast. one site leads to another and another and another and pretty soon, it's 2 p.m. and i've spent 6 hours surfing from one source of inspiration to the next and i haven't eaten lunch or gotten dressed. (not that i really mind those days where i stay in my pjs, there's something decadently liberating in that.) and i haven't really created anything either. i get tons of inspiration and impulses, but what am i DOING with these things? at the moment, not very much, other than acquiring the supplies necessary to do some creative projects myself. i haven't done a whole lot of creating, just a whole lot of reading and of imprinting impressions upon my brain.

which is why mr. siegel's comment on the "cultural obesity" of the internet spoke to me. i'm sitting here, day after day, gorging myself on impressions and information, but not really doing anything with them. at least not yet. as long as i'm sitting here at my computer and not sitting upstairs in my creative space, what good does it do? it's high time i stopped surfing and started creating. i need to go on an internet diet. no more than 1 hour a day. or maybe 2. max.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

just when i thought...

...i was starting to be able to knit, i tried to purl. and i'm back to the retarded monkey stance, hunched over, hands cramping awkwardly over the tangle of yarn and the needles. and my beautiful yarn splits easily, especially when i'm knitting WAY too tight, adding to my frustration. i want to be good at this now, now, NOW! this is supposed to be relaxing, isn't it?

pretty yarn

fairground (lucia)

mister (emily)

twirl (lei)

salsa (helena)

this week's acquisitions from posh yarn. now i just need to learn to knit properly....because i wanna make socks. and olives.

Friday, February 15, 2008

my creative space

i really like my creative space. it's starting to have character. the mat isn't all perfect anymore, it has sploches of paint and pastels on it and lines where i've cut. it's starting to have patina. now i just need storage for my growing stash of supplies and then it'll be perfect!

creativity in focus

color obsession

i took these pictures last night of my new pastels. why didn't i buy the BIG, deluxe package? i guess i thought i'd see how it went with them before i invested too much. and it went well last night when i started my art journal!! so soon i will be worthy of a big set. with even MORE gorgeous colors to use! the best part is smooshing them around on the paper with your fingers. actually feeling the art as you're creating it. there's something very cool about that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

creativity happening

i know. i'm obsessed with whether or not i'm creating something at the moment. but it's because it's of concern to me. after three very dry years of not creating anything crafty (i created plenty of work stuff), i am feeling a deep and abiding need to create something--painting, writing, knitting, felting, even cooking, whatever it forgive me if i'm obsessed.

at last, i feel i have acquired enough of the necessary supplies...pretty papers (i know, i'm obsessed with those as well), embellishments (including, but not limited to ribbons, brads, little eyelet thingies, felt, flowers, rub-ons, alphabets and stickers), stamping supplies, paints, canvases, brushes, gesso (that's cool stuff!!), pastels, chalks (i have yet to acquire those, but i've had them in my hand several times) get the picture.

i have sought inspiration. (the internet is HUGE, by the way, and totally chock full of inspiration). i have a good idea of what i like (authenticity) and what i don't (sentimentality and bits that are too straight and squarey). i have spent an inordinate amount of time looking at things and not enough time MAKING things.

but now, i have begun. i have an old (but nearly brand new) moleskine journal that i began to use two years ago at a meeting in singapore. i took notes in about 4-5 pages and then abandoned it. not sure why. i have gessoed over the first two feels cathartic to blot out those notes. they weren't relevant anymore anyway...and then i used some of my new pastels. i mixed a gorgeous blue-green over the gesso, which made an almost canvas-like pattern, thanks to the brush i used with the gesso. my fingers got stained blue-green, from smooshing the pastels around, which i love, because in my synesthetic moments, it's always blue-greens i see. and purples (but i digress..and will elaborate further in another post). i don't know yet what i'll write in it, but what feels good is to cover those old, now meaningless words. to watch the ink blur underneath the gesso and to blot it out with the pastels. very cathartic.

pretty papers

most of my pretty papers have come. and still my favorite one, the one that aligns all of my molecules and makes them hum in perfect pitch, is the one that's behind our new banner on our common blog (just know where you are...) basic grey's biology. i love that one.

it was a lovely day today. valentine's day, perhaps that's why it just generally feels good. went to the national museum with sabin. although all of the other people there were either aggressively perfect families (2.5 children, bright blue eyes, long lashes, the right clothes) or single moms out with their kids and their new boyfriends (who were trying valiantly to pretend it was ok with the snot-nosed brats who were crawling in among the mummies) or the grandparents who were near the end of their ropes, entertaining 5-year-old oliver for the 5th day in row...we had a great day. sabin fell madly for the sun chariot, an artifact from 1500 BC (or something like that), found in a field in Denmark here at the beginning of the last century. she asked questions and then didn't want to see any more of the museum, but wanted to go sit in the cafe and try to draw it in her new art notepad (who could argue with that?)

eventually, we came home and made gorgeous filet mignons for dinner, along with some of those yummy green beans i make with bacon, onion and almonds. we had a salad of spinach and mango (that makes us talk SILLY) to go with. and then the gorgeous (i can't make that look spelled right) chocolates husband brought home for valentine's day (along with flowers). with a bottle of south african pinotage (spiers, of course, we've been there!). it was a great evening.

anyway, back to the pretty papers...i'm sure the second to last one will come tomorrow. it just has to!! :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

it's an actual place

suzi blu totally rocks...and her thoughts are so freeing. my journal is an actual place!! that's so interesting. and so liberating!!! i've been journaling in a boring way for years. with just words. i'm opposed to lines, so it's always been without lines, but still i write in neat little lines. never straying from that. always starting with where i am....(interesting that in light of our other blog (just know where you are)....whether it's home or a hotel room or an airplane or the lobby of the manila pen.

after watching these this evening, i'm soooOOOOO branching out. i'm freeing myself and i'm covering those first few constricted pages of my moleskin with paint and lovely bits of text that i tear from the newspapers i read every day. because life is too short to be so restricted.

my art journal is an actual place. thank you, suzi!!! you totally rock.

it's never too late...

even if you're 41!!! (or almost....)

this girl is so cool!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

gorgeous colors!

i'm obsessed with color of late. especially if it's shades of green and blue. and textures. i can't get enough textures. i just ordered 3 skeins of this lovely from posh yarn! what a fab shop ( !!! hand-dyed yarns in jewel tones. what more could a girl's heart desire? (it's called sophia 4-ply kingfisher)

she's a big girl now

sabin is going to walk home on her own from school today. for the very first time. we've talked about it. we've talked about the traffic light and how to handle that. we've discussed watching for cars. she's a sensible child. she was really excited about it. it makes her feel like a such a big girl. i know she will do it with flying colors. but i'm still anxiously looking out the window and will breathe a sigh of relief when i see her!!!

why is it?

...that everyone who knows me is laughing at my knitting? i took it along to maria & marianne's on saturday and marianne laughed and laughed. she even had to take a picture of me knitting, since it seemed so unbelievable. i may not be the most elegant knitter in the world--i don't have the motions down and know that i must look awkward, because it feels pretty awkward, but i think it's fun to learn. but am i really so un-domestic that people just can't picture me knitting? i've had the same thing to an extent with people not really believing that i can cook. there must be something about me that doesn't seem, upon appearance, to lend itself to things domestic. but sometimes it is a little disheartening that people automatically assume that stuff like knitting and cooking isn't me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

sabin's creations

sabin is totally getting into the scrapbooking scene as well. this weekend, we put together a front and back cover for an 8x8 book for her and she made 3 pages for the book. she's so fearless and was totally enamoured of the fun ribbons i got at the scrap shop in roskilde. we've gotta go back there! it's so much fun, working on pages with her because she totally dives right in. i'm becoming more patient and less in need of solitude with the creativity, so i'm enjoying it a lot more that she wants to sit beside me and try everything. it's wonderful!

fun pages

i made these two pages this weekend, using some of the fab new supplies i got from scrapbook express on friday! the top one is still some of the amy butler papers i was able to buy here in denmark. but, the bottom one is love, elsie letters, 7 gypsies papers, and shiny chipboard buttons. i am totally in love with these colors.
it was fun to think of all of the good things that happened in 2007. i had a much longer list and managed to narrow it to this top 7. but, it seemed like a healthy exercise to look back on all of the great things. i think i probably have to make another page--sort of a take 2--as many very good things were left off this one, like:
  1. time spent at buresø
  2. cape town in november
  3. gorgeous beads i bought in cape town in november
  4. hugo boss suit
  5. the silver ring i got from husband for christmas
  6. my chunky pilgrim drama necklace
  7. leaving maersk
  8. being headhunted
  9. the great people i worked with (irene, jacqui, richard, claus, merel, alison, kerttu, monica (x2), michael, møller, jens, all of the guys and girls from headstrong, jari, tomas, erling, henk, søren, i could go on and on...)
  10. our super-charged eLearning workshops
it feels really good to look back on all of the good things and it's something that one should do on a regular be conscious about what's great in life and what's making you tick, instead of focusing on the negatives.

life really is good! especially when i'm feeling in the creative zone.

new banner

i'm so inspired by my new scrapbooking papers that i had to make a new banner for the blog. i tried using the printer/scanner to get it onto the computer. i'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. i used paper from basic grey's scarlett's letter collection and some letters from their perhaps collection. i actually had a hard time falling asleep last night, because i was thinking about all of the gorgeous papers and little bits and bobs that i can use to be creative. it makes me happy, just looking at them all there on my crafty table. i'm really anxious for the rest of the stuff i've ordered to arrive! it will all come this week and then i'll be unstoppably creative.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

one of those mornings

this morning, husband made a lunch order for sabin to have her risengrød. we put it in a small ziplog bag together with the 12 kroner she needed to pay. and then, he must have put it in his own bag, because his iPod was down in the pocket of her bag. i hope he enjoys his risengrød today. he's becoming more and more like me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

the special light of spring

this time of year the light is so special in these northern climes. i shouldn't actually try to describe it, because it's indescribable, but since when did i back down from a challenge? maybe it's so striking because if you've lived through the darkest part of the winter, you appreciate the return of the light that much more. as the sun comes up on a february morning, it loses the harshness that it has in october, where it cuts into your eyes from the horizon--that harsh sharpness that almost makes you happy that it's cloudy and overcast all of november. the spring light gives you a sense of hope with its almost pink, goldeny glow. if the temperatures are mild to go with it, you see the leaves of crocuses and snowdrops begin to peek out of the ground, eager to greet the light. the light brings with the promise of spring and even when you otherwise cannot sense spring in the air, you know it's on its way.

we have had the spring light here in denmark for a couple of weeks now. i noticed last week in oslo that it hadn't really reached that far north yet. i remember reading about this spring light in the vilhelm moberg series of novels--the emigrants. kirsten longed for that spring light which she remembered from sweden. now that i have seen it myself, i understand why.

that "mormor" smell

on sunday, husband and i went for a walk. our neighborhood is what they call in danish a sølvbryllupskvarter. that means that most of the people living here have grown children and are either retired or on the verge of retirement--so they have reached or (long) passed their 25th wedding anniversary--hence the silver wedding reference. they have yet to sell their big houses and move to a more convenient apartment somewhere, so there are only families with young children here and there in this neighborhood.

so we were out walking, it was a very still late afternoon, no breeze at all. the sun had been shining, but it was a bit clouded over and grey again. the temperature was probably 3-4 degrees (C) and so with coat, mittens and hat, it was good walking weather. as we walked past one house, with a very 70s-looking front garden--one of those with lots of those low evergreen bushes so popular in that decade--a smell hit our noses. it was a particular combination of laundry softener, bathroom cleaner and cigarette smoke, underlying it there was the faint mustiness of carpets that hadn't been changed in 30 years. the mormor (grandma) smell. that house at the top of the hill was fairly exuding the smell. we didn't see anyone, so we couldn't confirm the age of the residents, but the lace curtains at the windows confirmed it. grandparents lived there. maybe even great grandparents.

Monday, February 04, 2008

happy monday!

reasons why this is a great monday!
  1. i filed the paperwork to start my own business today! it feels so exciting. so liberating. so liminal! on the threshhold of something new and exciting.
  2. i just got a new cut and fabulous color!
  3. i have all kinds of gorge-i-o-us scrapping papers and supplies on their way (think tinkering ink and love, elsie...ooh, ooh, i can't wait!!!)
  4. monica's coming back today (with prezzies!) from spain.
  5. i'm making a delicious pot of The Soup.
  6. i've got yael naim's new soul playing on repeat on the iPod through the henry kloss. i will only stop once i reach 600 times!
  7. the sun is shining. at least i think that's what the big bright fireball in the sky has been awhile since we've seen it.
  8. it's almost time to go pick up sabin from school/sfo.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

we've been busy

it's been a creative weekend thus far and sunday still stretches luxuriously before us.

sabin and i have both been scrapping and we made these:

sabin's mini book about herself
two fun matchboxes made by me.
a funny page about monica's escapades in manila in '07. that's limoncello she's licking up in the top picture.
very picturesque blue ice cream from ljubljana. it seemed like the papers i bought made it absolutely natural to make this page!
such a deep, thinking look on her face, it seemed perfect for the question she asked at dinner on her birthday. "what is the difference between princeton and berkeley?" pretty cool question for a 7-year-old.

we're going to continue making pages today, now that it's started, i don't want to stop!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

more evidence of creativity

i did it!! this week i:

  1. made a very nice pair of earrings

  2. learned something about painting

  3. and finally made a scrapbook page

yeah me!!

i think i'll give the earrings to moneek

what i learned about painting was something about colors and the difference between treating the canvas with linseed oil before beginning and not doing so (can be seen in the attached picture--the one on the right was treated, on the left, not so much). when you use plenty of linseed oil, the paint becomes more transparent and glides onto the canvas. for me, it almost sings beneath the brush. but there's something about the vibrancy of the colors when you DON'T use it that's also intriguing. i used these blues and greens because in my synaesthetic moments (which i'm working on expanding), these are the colors i usually see.

another thing i learned from painting today was that the best canvas i made was actually the one i was using to dry off my brushes on. so, there's something to not trying too hard.

  • as for the scrap layout. it was so liberating to finally begin after days and days of looking for inspiration on blogs around the world. now i finally made one myself and the ideas for more are tumbling in my head. i have two kits on their way...label tulip and red velvet girls. i can't wait to dig into those materials, together with the 134 pictures i had developed today. yeah!!

    hoorah for creativity!!! it feels like a real breakthrough. and now i'd better go knit! :-)

    first painting

    ok, i know this isn't the greatest picture in the world, as it's all flashed out, but i was anxious to get this up...this is the first painting that i made in my painting class. the one that stymied me initially and caused all that painting angst and frustration. it's a small piece of a kandinsky, so that's where the weird fish-like thing came from, so no worries, it's not some monster residing in my head.

    what i learned from it...something of how the paint moves on the canvas and how colors blend together. and how it is in general to work with oil paints...quite different from acrylic, what with the long drying times. but i learned a bit about the magic of linseed oil (more about that in a minute) and how it makes the paint fairly glide across the canvas. that's a good thing. what i like about it is that in general, i got the colors right or could fix the ones that were wrong (there was white on some of those dots at one point and that really didn't work). i might still add a little bit of gold leaf, just to pep it up. what i'm also learning is that you never really HAVE to be done with the painting.