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?       


Monday, November 28, 2011


  I finally made some of this wonderful art for my own home too!
  This is the same technique I used to make the card I showed in my earlier posts. But here the idea is turned into "real" diy art by framing the pieces and hanging them on the wall. Check it out!

Black is the color I use all around my home to give depth. Black paint and black frames go together, and sheets of an old book are the key to the whole idea. What does change from one project to the next is the background cardboard color and the shapes painted. The cardboard looks cool when it is toned to fit the wall color. That gives an impression of the art really being in the right place, like it belongs there.

Here is the reason why I painted fish. I had a bald spot on the wall, and tried to figure out what to do with it, until it hit me. I had to rescue those ferns from outside before frost bites them too hard, and had nowhere to put them. And for once I could put one and one together! Notice how the picture in the paintings continue from one to the next, giving it more of the shape of the aquarium. And a nifty little detail is that the plants and rocks are in their "right" places also in the paintings. Call me childish, but I think it´s a nice little gag for my guests to notice.

Here is the bigger picture. And the reason why I think my guests will notice my new fishy art. Everybody uses a restroom, right?

  This art is easy to make but looks neat.

What you need is:
2 sheets of an old book
a pencil (and an eraser just in case =)
black acrylic paint
a small brush
paper glue
2 sheets of cardboard for background
2 basic black frames

What you do is:
  Draw the outlines of whatever you wish to portrait on the sheets of a book with the pencil. If hesitating, make the figures thin rather than thick, because thickness is easy to add as you go. Let dry.
  Glue the paintings on cardboards and place in the frames. That´s it!
P.S. Don´t forget to sign! These pieces of art will be evergreen hits, viewed by many for decades to come...

Thursday, November 24, 2011


  Green smoothies have been a hit for a while, but I wonder, do everyday people enjoy them regularly? I know many of the people I know wouldn´t even touch one, even if offered ready-made, and for free.
  I have phases when I crave green smoothies more often than on other times, but I do drink them year round. Last summer I had a two week period, when I ate only raw food. That was what my body craved at the moment, and since I was on a holiday, it was easier to pull it through. I try to listen to my body´s needs, and satisfy them as well as I can.
  Here´s my staple green smoothie for this time of the year:

I still have lots of kale in my garden, so I use that to achieve this rich, beautiful green color.

Sunflower seeds, pecans, almonds, anything goes on top of this thick smoothie to make this a complete meal. I´ve tried more liquid smoothies, but I prefer these thicker ones that you can spoon away.

The recipe (for one person):

1 big bunch of green leaves ( I used kale here )
1 banana
orange/tangerine juice (freshly squeezed at home)
small piece of fresh ginger
handful of seeds/nuts to sprinkle over the smoothie

= Blend the greens with the juice first, as finely as your machine can work it (this is especially important when using hard greens like kale). Then add the banana and ginger, and blend again until a smooth texture is reached. You can add water,if needed, and in case you run out of juice, there is plenty of flavor in the smoothie to keep it still mouth watering. Pour into a serving bowl and top with the seeds/nuts of your choice.
  This is a filling breakfast or a snack, which keeps me going for about five hours.
  Toast to your health!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I took a nice bicycle ride deep into the countryside the other day. It was a typical Samhain weather; cloudy, gloomy, misty, and most of all grey. Exactly what ordinarily would describe the word depressing. In this time of year it is easy to fall into despare, thinking this will last forever, and the bright summer days will never come again, but I did find beauty in it too. This type of scenery isn´t seen for very long in the turning of the year. Soon frost and snow will cover the earth and let it have it´s winter sleep before spring.
  I can say I truly enjoyed my little trip and what it offered to my eyes! Sometimes it is just harder to see the beauty in things, but nature is truly an abundant source of it. Here are some glimpses.

The orange sticks are ugly, but necessary marks for the oncoming plow trucks, so they can see where the road ends. There can be massive amounts of snow on this road in the winter, when the wind blows freely accross these fields.

I love rustic old barns!

The fields have already been put asleep.

Everything is so calm and quiet. Why not enjoy that?

Remnants of the passed summer.

Although it was past 1pm, it was still so gloomy it felt like the earth had not entirely woken up after last night...

  No wonder us humans feel a little tired at this time of the year as well! I honestly let myself take it easy now at Samhain. Why fight what feels natural? I know when the spring and summer come, I´ll be all around the place, bursting with energy again. I believe our bodies are more intelligent than we give them credit for. Maybe we could try to listen to them a bit more...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


My latest creation for my son is this cute little outfit, partially made of recycled material. Kids´ clothes aren´t as time-connected as adults´ , or at least I like to think so. Mainly in order to reduce unnecessary and just plain vain purchases. I try to optimize the amount of stuff I buy, and love the idea of saving both environment and money. This outfit can be stylishly worn throughout the cold season.

Brown is a basic color, which is great for all-year-round use, here combined with light blue. This is an outfit clearly to be used during the cold months of the year ( which equals to about half a year in my neighborhood ).
The vest is made of an old sweater I found at a second hand store. I used the original hemline, and trimmed other edges with the leftover fleece from the pants.

The pants are made of soft polar fleece, which is very warm next to bear skin on these chilly early winter days!

  Making these clothes is super easy!
  I especially like to make children´s clothes, because you don´t need that much material, the seams are shorter and quicker to sew, and most of all, the fitting isn´t as exact as with women´s clothes. Because we have entered the cold half of the year, I chose to make the pants out of warm fleece. I like to keep the patterns simple ( is it called laziness? ), and here I used my favorite one: a sweatpant pattern. The only difference I made was to leave out the gathering of the leg ends, to make them look less sporty.
  For the vest you need some suitable, strong enough, stretchy fabric, and a pattern for a basic t-shirt. Simply use the front and back pieces of the shirt to cut out the shape of the vest, form a little v-shaped neck if it isn´t already, and sew together. Then use the leftover fabric ( I always buy a little extra to be sure I don´t run short of it ) from the pants to trim the edges.
  Voilá! You´re done! You have a guaranteed stylish outfit to keep your kid warm! There will obviously be needed a shirt underneath the vest, but that can be chosen to your liking and what happens to be clean in the closet  =)

Monday, November 7, 2011


  Here are a couple of little projects I´ve worked on lately. There are so many things I´d like to get my hands on, but so little time... First things first, the rest will have to wait until retirement!

  I was unfortunate and had someone close pass away recently. The funeral was held the other weekend, and I wanted to make something special in the honor of the deceased.
  Nowadays it´s too easy to just pop into a shop and get anything you want, with relatively little money. So I thought a bought card would be tacky and lame. Here´s what I made instead:

I tore a page out of an delightfully aged book and sketched a big candlestick on it. Only the outlines are what matter here, it is fully painted over with black acrylic paint.

Artistic, different, original, beautiful, let´s people know you´ve put in time and effort. Still easy to make, and can be varied to suit many occasions just by changing the picture theme!

  Another of my recent projects is a brooch made of leftover material. Again, wonderfully repeats and fills in the spirit of Samhain, and can be used in several ways. Traditionally on a blouse or a shirt, but also pretty in a hairband.

I used the leftover purple fleece from the wide pants I showed you earlier, as a base. The grey fabric is that of the shirt I wore with the wide pants, the 40´s look. The lace is a short piece I´ve had for years, waiting to be turned into something brilliant, like this.

Here you can see the brooch on a different background, to give an idea how I like to work with colors matching the surrounding nature.
The pearls I´ve had for over ten years, and the center piece is an old button, nearly as old as the pearls. It was well worth saving them!

To give you an idea of the size of the brooch, here it is in my hand (oops, I clearly should use more lotion on my hands, they´re looking quite wrinkly... =)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


  The most important aspect of Nelland is beauty. I love everything beautiful and pretty. I define beauty by my own standards, and I definitely do not follow fashion or the latest trends. I wear whatever I think makes me look good. And this is what I recommend everybody else to do too! I see too many people walking down the street wearing something by the latest trends, and looking terrible! One of my favorite examples is the skinny jeans and leggings worn by so many today, who really shouldn´t do that. Or at least put a long tunic over them! My point being, there is nothing wrong with the shape/size of these people, but only the clothes they´ve put on themselves. Only because it looks good in a catalogue on a super-skinny model, photographed from one angle!
  One big problem I find with many of today´s tops, tunics, and blouses sold in stores, is that they look horrible seen from the side view. They just don´t fit. The female figure isn´t easy to dress shapely. For me 98% of the clothes I try on in stores just don´t fit. There are loads of basically beautiful and stylish clothes out there,  but they just don´t fit. What a waste of material and work!

  So to fix this problem I initially started learning to sew clothes for myself. No, it is not always easy, and yes, it is very time-consuming, but all in all, I think it takes less money and time even, to make my own clothes. Not all of them of course, but most.
  There are many good magazines, books, and patterns with instructions on them to use and learn from. That´s what I´ve done. Lived and learned as I go. 

  Normally I have five different looks for work, for each sabbat. That gives me just enough variety to dress differently each work day of the week, but still not go overboard with gathering earthly possessions.
  But, now I´m pregnant and am not able to wear my usual Samhain-clothes, which has forced me to find new outfits to wear. I figure three different will have to do. I will only use these for this year anyway (although I will save them to offer my friends to use, if they decide to multiply in the future =).

  So here´s the first look of Samhain I´ve conjured: 

I always love my wide-legged pants! They´re great for every season, materials vary. These ones are made of soft, thick fleece. I use the same pattern as I did before getting pregnant, now I just add the tummy piece to hold them in place. The whole idea of the look is to create a slightly 40´s glamour feeling. Wide pants were fashionable already in Marlene Dietrich´s time, and to that I added a subtle basic grey t-shirt with puffed long sleeves. The big bow gives the shirt a blouse-like taste, making it look more sophisticated. Repeating the opposite colors on top (violet hairband) and bottom (grey stripes) gives a well-put-together sense.

Speaking of using regular patterns, instead of special maternity ones, the shirt is just that also. I altered it a bit on the front piece, widening it at tummy area, and lengthening it by 10cm. Then I simply gathered the extra length on the side seams and sew it on! I´ve found most maternity clothes horribly shaped when seen from the side view. This one is very much to my taste! It shows just what the bump is, without making it (and myself) look any bigger.

Makeup. 40´s glamour in mind, I do my everyday makeup for this look. (In the picture it seems like I don´t have much on, but my face reflects light so much, that it tones down the shades.) I make my eyebrows strongish, and with as much of an arch as naturally is reasonable for this look. Eyeshadow is metallic grey on the whole lid and crease area, finished off with a dark violet on the outer corner of the eye. No eyeliner, but lashes are curled and coated with black mascara. Blush is merely the color of a shade in the face, giving structure, not color. Lips are dabbed with purplish darker red, but not as strongly as in the genuine 40´s (I would find maintaining them too hard during a work day). Earrings are small and simple, old-fashioned.

A close-up detail of the grey stripe on the bottom of the leg. I can´t show off using highly sophisticated shoes, because in my work I need sturdy and super-comfortable ones    =(