Friday, December 23, 2011


  Here is my sewing corner. This is where a lot comes to be, and where I spend - the truth be told - a lot of my free time.

Humbly in the corner of our bedroom. But the good thing is, that I can leave the sewing machine there on the table each time after finishing! That means a lot of time and nerves saved.

There is not a ton of space, but enough for my little crafting desires. And I have stored everything I need in the cabinets around. I´m a lazy cleaner (especially I hate doing windows and dusting ), so I try to keep things simple and easy by reducing the amount of clutter laying around.

I can still fit well in with my ever growing baby belly.
  This time I am making the last-minute Christmas present, to my husband. Not that he is not important, but it seems like the least harmful place to be late with giving a present...
  Here´s what I made ( and did finish before Christmas! ).

Aching and up tight muscles in the shoulders are the problem I hope this t-shirt will alleviate. Heat seems to help, so I made the torso part from thick, soft, very warm, polar fleece fabric. My personal favorite in the cold season.

Men and boys need to have some detail added to their, otherwise so plain, clothing.

Personalizing diy-gifts to the recipient´s name, hobbies, likings, or anything you can think of, makes the present (and the receiver) feel special!

  Merry Christmas everyone!


   This delight is heavenly, and  actually good for you! It contains no artificial ingredients and is all raw too.  My favorite Yule time breakfast. It is so sweet that some might like to eat it as a dessert also. But I crave it in the mornings, chocolate in the evenings...

Looks like chocolate pudding, but the color comes purely from prunes.

Cashews add a lovely creaminess to this treat. Vanilla is a must.

  The recipe:

100-150g prunes (or just how much you want to eat)
1dl cashews
vanilla (sugar)
cinnamon to taste
( a banana if you don´t soak the prunes )

+ Soak the prunes in little water over night. 
Blend all in a blender, using enough water to reach the desired consistency. Check the taste, and indulge!

   This has been my Friday breakfast all through Yule this year. Simple and lovely!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


  I´ve continuously been enthusiastic to make these pieces of art for my friends for present. I´ve given them away all fall long, and now the ones who don´t already have ones, will get them for Christmas. Each designed to match the recipient´s personality and style.

These go to my three-year-old  goddaughter. She loves princesses and I chose the background color lilac to match the dress her mother wished I´d make for her (and I did).
Why shouldn´t I call the recipient of  these a princess also?! She´s my dear sister (nearly 32-year-old). She doesn´t like ruffles or lace, but is more like a faery-princess type to me. Always wanders in forests and parks, and spends lots of time outdoors overall. I know she likes the outdoors to show in her home decorating as well, and her main color in living room is green. I believe these paintings will go wonderfully with her theme!

These ones are for a bit bigger princess (in age, not fat). The recipient is my other goddaughter, who is almost six years old. This one was a bit more tricky. She loves all the princess bling-bling, but her mother hates pink and ruffles and all that. So to compromise, I painted princesses (and what is a princess without her prince?!) but chose a color from the girl´s room to match the background with. Works well, I think!
These babies go to my dear mother, who is over fifty, but inside still a little girl. She loves everything pretty, and I do mean pretty more than beautiful. She would probably wear ruffles and lace even to work every day, if there was nobody to advice her better... I had to choose a white background because I´m not sure which room she will be placing these paintings. White goes everywhere, she has it in every room, but not all of the walls are white. I had to compromise.
  I wish all of you a creative Christmas time, enjoy the works of your hands, even if they just peel off that wrapping paper of a candy cane!


  This year I´m staying with the basic shapes in my wardrobe, since my own shape is just the opposite of basic! I´ve come to realize that no matter how much I like dresses and skirts normally, they just aren´t very flattering to my current figure. Wearing a normal t-shirt with wide-legged pants is the best option right now.
  I designed a look suitable for Yule. Here´s the sketch:

Red and grey. The best place to start! Two essential colors of the season. The idea is to look casual, yet well put together. The hairband is the key element to making this look polished. I wear no jewelry for a change. It´s a good idea to alter the amount of make up and jewelry throughout the year, so you don´t get stuck with only one custom. Since Yule is the time of midwinter, I wanted to accentuate that by creating a strongish blush on the cheeks, which is naturally due outside in the crispy air. But we all spend so much time inside these days, that the effect doesn´t last very long naturally, so I thought it needed a boost. All in all, casual, comfortable, healthy looking style.

And here it is on me, in real life:

We have exceptionally little snow by Yule this year, but I have my hopes up. It is trying to snow even during the photo shoot, thus the white spots in the picture.

Clean, fresh make up, with nothing too much. Healthy cheeks are the key. You can see how simply adding the hairband makes this look polished, without gimmicks. Sometimes simplicity is bliss.

  Here is the same exact picture, first taken without a flash, then with a flash. The make up looks very different in each.

  Make up how-to:
Eyes: only ivory white eyeshadow on the whole of the moving lids. Eyeliner can be added to make the eyes pop a bit, if you have pale eyes like mine ( I often envy people with dark eyes, which reduces the need of make up overall ). Eyebrows are brushed and filled in with light brow color, only to create a neat brow.
Cheeks: warm red, slightly glittery blush on the apples of the cheeks to create a healthy, rosy, look. Just like the one you have after skiing or building a snowman.
Lips: warm red, non-sparkling, lipstick is dabbed softly and subtly to the lips, preferably by your fingers to make it look not made up.

  So here it is, the very core of my Yule look this year. Red and grey is a classic combination, and classic I like, but with a twist to suit my personal style. 
  And the clothes are, of course, wholly made by me, using my favorite patterns once again. ( You can find yours by testing and modifying. What suits one person, doesn´t mean it suits the next. )

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


  Can I ever go through Yule time without red ribbons? So far not. They are just so lovely paired with natural materials like moss, pine cones, or spruce garlands!

  I dug out some ribbons from last year, and placed them outside to bring holiday spirit to by-passers as well.

  So simple, yet so powerful! Need I say more?


   The decoration around home is what makes a true Yule spirit. I will have family come over to our house for Christmas again, as a tradition we started years ago. I want to give them a rich experience and a strong sensation of the season´s spirit during their stay, so I always do my best with home deco. Doing my best doesn´t mean going overboard though.

I use the same base ( the old and worn old army boots here ) pretty much throughout the year, and change the decoration around it to create each sabbat it´s distinctive mood.

Ah, you can almost smell the wonderful scent of hyacinth, can´t you?

Combining store bought items with natural decoration, such as pine cones and spruce twigs here, accentuates the effect of both of them.
A cabinet I have in the living room. On it lays a calendar book I got for Christmas several years ago. I have used it ever since. It shows and tells how the climate change has affected the planet over the years. A good reminder to start one´s day with...

My dear son crafted this red-nosed elf of clay this fall. Good job for a seven-year-old, and another treasure money can´t buy for my collection!  =)  

Dinner table in the kitchen. I have fallen in love with moss this winter. Here I have surrounded a candle with it, and made sure the glass jar is definitely high enough to protect the moss from catching on fire! I live in an old house, and therefore couldn´t fulfill my dream of having a real window at the end of dinner table. This one shown in the picture is just an old frame hung on solid wall. The view of course isn´t breathtaking, so I added some old lace curtains and clear Christmas lights behind the glasses. Works well for me, giving the sense of space.
These cones I might leave to hang for longer than only this Yule time. There´s nothing Christmasy about them really, so why not?

I simply love old, tanned, book sheets combined with white lace, natural hemp twine, and plain traditional wrapping paper!

  It seems to be yet another soulful and pretty Yule here in Nelland, and it´s only a few nights away! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011


  The other day I woke up and whipped up this lovely version of my favorite: lingonberry yogurt (mostly raw). I enjoyed it with a huge mug of steaming warm green tea. Perfect for a cold Yule morning!

I like to play with season´s colors, even in food. White and red play a big role in Yule time.

Back to nature. In the background are lingonberry (and blueberry) shrubs.

The recipe:
2dl lingonberries (why not cranberries or red currants as well )
1 banana
1/2 an avocado
honey to taste
little water
plain soy yogurt

= Blend the berries, banana, avocado, and honey with a little water. Add water carefully to reach the consistency you like. I like mine thick, like sturdy yogurt. Swirl in yogurt as much as you like, I used about 2dl.
  This keeps me satisfied for 3-4 hours. Once I eat, I like to eat enough so I won´t be feeling hungry again in a bit. I´m one of those people who needs to eat her stomach full, I can´t stand just nibbling on something until the worst hunger is gone, and then stop (only half way done :).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


  I like to make presents instead of buying them. I want people to know I truly appreciate having them in my life, and I imagine to achieve this by putting time and effort in the presents I give them. Be they birthday-, Christmas-, or whatever presents. It is way too easy and lame to just pop into a store and buy something. Blah... We all have pretty much what we need anyway, and I´m strongly against stacking junk in our homes and lives.

  I have two lovely goddaughters ( there are no third and fourth ones, whom I don´t like - I only have two goddaughters period ). It is always a treat to figure out what to give them for Christmas. This year I got a personal request from one of the girl´s mother to make her a lilac dress with a pocket ( she likes pockets ). Here´s what I sew for the three-year-old:

The fabric is recycled. It used to be a bed sheet, so it´s made of pure cotton and has been washed in hot numerous times to make all the excess coloring to dilute.

The pocket holds little treasures.

Snap fasteners are quick and easy to use, and there is another pair hidden for a bigger size, when she grows.

Hem edge I trimmed with a bias strip. This fabric is new, but a piece of leftover I stashed away last spring. It gives the whole dress a finished look, and puffs up the hem nicely to make it more princess-silhouetted.

   For this dress I used and needed:
recycled fabric for the dress
contrast fabric for the edges
snap fasteners

  Any pattern can be used. I like to buy sewing magazines that have several patterns all in one magazine, instead of single patterns often sold in sewing/fabric stores. But anything goes, as long as you like it!
  Kids´ clothes are ideal to make out of recycled fabrics because the pieces are small, and can be fitted into grown ups´ old clothes for example. Grown up pants often make a new pair of kid´s pants, and so do shirts and sweaters.

  I hope this will become my goddaughter´s favorite little dress! Merry Christmas Heidi!

Monday, December 12, 2011


  Darkness can be overwhelmingly exhausting, when you´re living in the northern part of the globe. It is dark when you get up in the morning and go to work, and then it´s dark again when you get back home in the afternoon. At 5pm it feels like it´s nearly time to go to bed, but after gazing your watch, you realize you still need to stay up for several hours before bedtime. This is how I felt the other day. I decided to take the bull by it´s horns and headed outside to take a good look at the darkness. Here´s what I found:

  I must admit, it looks very nice and calming, once you have the right set of mind. Whining and complaining doesn´t change anything, I need to focus on the good things in life!
  Lighting candles outside is a good way to create a sense of warmth and livelihood. I love to watch the flames flicker in the lanterns, reminding me of the power the great sun has over our planet. It is still there, but mainly on the other side of the planet. Our time will come in time. Meanwhile, let´s enjoy the quietness, peace, and rest this dark time of the year is giving us. We now are permitted - and by nature´s rules, are meant to - take it easy and curl up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea! Aah, good times...

Friday, December 9, 2011

WELCOME YULE (Dec 21-23) !

Winter solstice, midwinter!

CHARACTERISTICS:  The darkest day of the year, but on the other hand, it marks the point where it starts to get lighter again! That calls for a big party! Christmas is one big event, and the other one is New Year. Both have very different looks, and divide Yule-time in half.

COLORS:  Grey is the key color. Up to Christmas it is mixed with red, green, and white. And from New Year´s on, with dark blue, silver, and white.

FOOD: Potatoes and root vegetables! Mashed is my favorite way of eating potatoes. Also baking them, wedged, in the oven is excellent. Potatoes are a staple food in the middle of winter, and meals are enriched with coleslaw-type of shredded root vegetable salads. Deep into winter well preserving foods include cabbage, beets, and carrots, as well as some winter apples. Imported citrusfruits add a nice touch, but I use them in moderation. It´s not the best idea to feed myself mainly with foods that need to be flown accross the world to get to my plate...

CLOTHES:  Fake fur gives an illusion of warmth, which I like. Real fur is much warmer, but I rather not use it, due to ethical reasons. We have such advanced technology, we can replace exploitation of living creatures other ways. My recent favorite in fabrics is fleece. I love to sew pants out of fleece, because it is so warm against the skin, no pantyhose needed underneath! It gets very cold here in winter (-20 Celcius + wind effect is normal) and if using other type of fabric, thick pantyhose are essential, but so uncomfortable! Knits are a must. Warm, cosy, and down-to-earth describe the look before Christmas. And after it, some glit and glam is allowed in the post-New-Year time.

These are all pictures from last year. We´ll see what Yule in Nelland looks like this year!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Whenever I design a new look, I always create a matching makeup for it as well. I want to ease my morning rush by thinking ahead, so when I´m in front of the mirror I know what I need to do, even when my mind is still half asleep. Overall I like to be so well prepared for the day´s challenges, that when I leave the house, I don´t have to think or worry about my looks for the rest of the day. That requires a good planning ahead.
  I have a favorite purple sweater I like to wear each Samhain. I love purple overall as a color, but need to be careful I don´t look too purple. Matching colors are nice, but too much of the same turns against itself.
  I sat down and thought about the makeup I wanted to wear with my favorite turtleneck this year. Here´s the plan on my always-a-favorite Bratz image, colored with coloring pencils to achieve an organic look:

No purple on the face, when the sweater is already so rich in purple. The colors used here emphasize the general mood of my Samhain; cool, gloomy, even a bit zombie-like in terms of greyish lack of color. I used cool tones of brown, and medium grey.

   Here´s how it all looks like in reality:

  This is once again, a going-to-work-look, so I don´t apply too much makeup. I like to look neat and made up, but not masked on. There is a fine line between being stylish and wearing a costume or a mask. I need to keep that in mind! So I choose toned down looks of the great (and sometimes exaggerated) ones in my imagination =).

  Here´s what I did (I don´t go into detail with skin makeup, it just needs to look healthy):
1.  I add blush at the beginning, so I do it more carefully, when there are not yet other colors to bluff me going overboard with it. Here I added cool, greyish brown just under the cheekbone and a bit on the apples of the cheeks.
2.  Eyebrows. I don´t do anything mysterious, just brush them up and outward, fill in any blank spots with a brow pencil, and finally fix them into place with clear mascara. (I do this step also carefully, too much color in my eyebrows make me look angry easily. I want the focus to be in my eyes, not anywhere else.)
3.   For the eyes I applied medium, shimmering, eyeshadow for the entire lid and into the crease. Also a bit to the outer half or a third of the lower lash line. On the outer third of the moving upper lid I applied a thin coat of shimmering, dark cool brown eyeshadow, and smudged the edges in the crease area. Curled lashes were then coated thinly with black mascara (top lashes only).
4.   Finally I apply lip gloss over balm-moistened lips. The color here is shimmering nude beige. It is not easy to find a tone matching your vision!

  Maintenance during the whole day needs only adding lip balm and gloss. That is the other reason why I prefer milder made up lips; the wearing of lipstick during my day doesn´t show so easily  =).

  Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


  If I was a little girl, I´d probably love the Bratz world. Even as an adult I´m fascinated by the strong styles that have been created to the dolls. They are, of course, wildly exaggerated images of us people, but in them, certain features can be clearly pointed out. Like big hair, eyes, tiny waists and ,surprisingly to me, big feet (is it because that way the dolls can stand better?). All except big feet are features we humans love and try to bring out in our own appearance as well. I happen to like sturdy, platformed shoes, so the Bratz´s big feet are fine with me.
  So what? Well, I´ve taken a little bit of the Bratz world into Nelland by using a simplified image of a doll to design outfits on. Here´s what my template looks like "naked".

I have modified the original picture by "removing" the  doll´s clothes, and using only the imagined outlines of it´s figure.

  I have a stack of these printed out at home. Usually the time I design my future outfits takes place in the mornings when I´m having breakfast. I sip my green tea and snack on fruit, and let my imagination fly. I love mainly classical and traditional looks, but in the way I see them in my head. I never imitate what other people are wearing, or what is in the stores. I´ve learned what Trinny and Susannah have to say about body shapes, and taken their advice to find fitting basic patterns for myself. I use the same patterns all year round, but use different kinds of fabrics, and add lots of features to each to reach the desired look.
  Now that I´m pregnant, it´s not so simple anymore, and I´ve had to compromise on things. The next image is exceptional, because it includes a garment I have not made myself; the dress. I caught myself cutting a corner there, I think because I haven´t found fitting maternity patterns easily and enough. Anyway, here it is.

I color the parts that belong to the specific look, and leave out others, like the eyes and hair. I use coloring pencils, so the darkest colors don´t exactly match reality, like in this one, black. This Bratz figure has a bulging belly to make it fit my own figure now. I find it important to leave visible the outlines of the body, to be able to see the fitting of the clothes drawn on. Oh, how much better she looks than I in reality! I can always keep this image in my mind throughout the day, when wearing these clothes  =)

  And here I am in the same clothes, genuinely right before leaving for work. So there is nothing fake about the pictures, just plain everyday life.

Reality does set us strict boundaries on what can and can´t be done. Like there is no way my eyes could ever be as popping as a Bratz´s, but that´s not the point. I don´t want to be a Bratz, I only use them as examples, when playing and having fun with clothes and style altogether. Dressing up should be fun! We all have to wear some clothes anyway, why not something that pleases our own eyes and makes us feel good?