Tuesday, January 31, 2012


  My goddaughter turned six recently. She is a little princess, who already has everything imaginable a little miss might desire. So what to give her? Why is it always as difficult?!
  Years ago I got a tip to give adults something you can eat, drink, or burn. That is goodies, wine, or candles. Why not flowers too. Something that  will be used and won´t add up to a bulk of clutter we all have lying around in our house. But to a six-year-old... maybe goodies would do.

  Then I remembered my sister´s recent birthday, and I decided to use the same trick for my goddaughter! A personalized little wreath of cloth letters spelling her first name, matched to the color scheme in her room.

Why do most little girls like pink? That was the only wish I got from her, that the present would be pink...

I drew simple patterns of letters straight into the fabric, sew along the lines, turned, and stuffed with polyester fiber from an old pillow.

A second color needed to be added here, otherwise it would have looked boring. She has green in her room, so it was a natural choice for this one too. It freshens up the whole look!

It is important to find different ways to decorate the letters, especially now that they are all made of the same fabric.

Some continuity is still a neat trick in itself.

  At this time of year I always dig up my  diy Tilda- books by Tone Finnanger. She is an incredible crafter, and has created a very girlish style for home decor. The main colors used in her work are all pastel, and I think that´s why I tune in with her idea at Imbolc. In big quantities her style is way too girlish for me, but I like to add little touches of it here and there in our bedrooms.

  These fabric letters are not from Tilda, but they go well with her theme (with excess cuteness rubbed off  =). I imagined this wreath to be hung between Alina´s bed posts. Her mother has styled her room with old fashioned items, like her bed, and the plaid pattern goes perfectly with the theme.
  Alina herself loves pink, naturally, so I needed to include it as well. Green is the other dominating color in her room, and I think this look suited the entity perfectly.

  I also ended up adding a nice potted, blooming plant to her present. She was all smiles when she got her package (although,  I must say, she was probably most happy about the marshmallows in it - but when she grows she will appreciate these little things very differently! I hope...).
  Happy birthday Alina! 

Monday, January 30, 2012


  I´m a big lover of sweets. I balance my diet by eating healthy proper foods and indulging in rich, sweet, desserts. It´s the big picture that counts, right?  =)

  I often find it hard to stop eating, say, a big bar of chocolate (which is my absolute favorite), before the whole package is gone. It feels like my body can´t get enough. Of course it is the sugar in it that makes me act that way, plus the fact that there is hardly any nutrition in chocolate. And I mean ordinary, store-bought milk chocolate.

  But what about raw-food chocolates? They have certainly been said to be even healthy, but definitely better for you than milk chocolate.
  I have bought a small bar of raw chocolate at health food stores a few times, and must say, have been disappointed. Maybe because I don´t like dark chocolate that much over all, and these have certainly been dark to my taste. And expensive too.
  Okay, then I tried to make some myself at home. It took more than just one try to find a recipe that made the end result be soft, sweet enough, yet chocolaty. But I did find it, and I want to share it with all you chocolate lovers out there!

  This recipe is from Matthew Kenney´s book "everyday raw" , just the filling for the chocolate hazelnut tart. I only craved for chocolate itself, not in a tart-mode, so I left that part out. But my oh my was this good!

1,5 cups cashews, soaked
0,5 cup + 2 tablespoons water
0,5 + 2 tablespoons agave
0,5 cup coconut oil, melted
0,5 teaspoon vanilla extract
0,25 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
0,75 teaspoon hazelnut extract

+Blend all ingredients until very smooth.

  I didn´t use as much cocoa powder as the recipe calls for, I added little by little, until it tasted perfect. Also I didn´t have the hazelnut extract, but it turned out brilliant without it too.
   This recipe makes about half a liter, but the amazing thing is, that it is so satisfying, I can´t eat very much of it at one sitting! I made this jarful on Saturday, and I still have almost half of it left! How cool is that?!

Friday, January 27, 2012


  Not everything in Nelland is sabbat-related. In my home I have different styles in different rooms, making the house more interesting to live in. Plus I like many different looks and styles, I couldn´t just pick one and ignore the rest!
  The styles are probably forever, but I like to change little details every now and then, like trying to achieve perfection (which is of course impossible =). With sabbat-related-decorations I focus on the entry hall of the house, and the kitchen, because those places are mostly used. Especially I think it´s important that the hallway has a touch of the season´s look, to create a proper mood when first entering home and last leaving it. Beautiful things, even how small, lift up my spirits, and that is certainly what one´s home should do!
  But the rest of the house lives a life of it´s own, not dressed in sabbats that much, if any.

  Here is my living room. It faces South, thus I wanted to maximize the effect of sun and warmth. Summer is my favorite season of the whole year, and it deserves an exaggerated place in my house. Looking South from up North, where I live, lies the Mediterranean Sea. I love the relaxed and holidayish way of living there, and wanted to bring a bit of it into my home.

This is the view when entering the living room, or the other corner of it. The bar table still is a work in process, but it serves it´s purpose perfectly already. A good example of my forever staying things are the curtains, sofas, and the cabinet in the corner. I have had those always. Another good way to reduce consumption - decide what you like and stick with it!

Mirrors are an important element. They bring light and create a sense of space where needed. Here I´m working slowly towards a more bar-like look and function, but it is till in process. (We have built our house ourselves, by hand, and haven´t yet fully finished. Thus the floor molding is still missing...)

This is an essential part of my Mediterranean world! I have cunningly placed the fruit basket in front of the tv, in hopes of us snacking on these, instead of junk, when watching it. And it does work well by the way!
My love for old things shows around the house. I don´t know how I initially ended up gathering this small collection of bottles, but they add a nice touch here.

Another corner of the living room. I try to keep the basics in the house rather simple, so that life can easily fit in. Especially I enjoy empty table tops!
During cold seasons I always eat my breakfast here. In the summer I go outside.

This aquarium without water is the centerpiece of this corner of the room. I love water as an element, and I used to have the real one here, but found it to be too much work carrying the water buckets across the entire house when cleaning it up. So I moved the real aquarium to our bathroom, and replaced it with this, a much friendlier version, which still does the trick.

More than anything, life should be fun! This is one example how I try to generate fun and relaxed happiness around me. We don´t need to take everything so seriously!

  As with everything I design, create, and make, I don´t follow set guidelines, but go with the vision I have in my own head. Why do something that has already been made before? You can see that the living room is not purely Mediterranean, there are other elements in it as well. I get inspiration from everything imaginable, even my dreams sometimes! But I feel like the big lines I have in my visions, come from further away in my life, like they have been built up there by themselves, without my own notice. That is the source I cave into to come up with general ideas, then perfecting them with smaller details and tricks.
  I encourage everyone to do their own thing too. It is highly rewarding to see your own visions come together and alive! Not only in home decor, but in everything from cooking to career choices. 
  Long live creativity!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


  Sometimes it´s healthy to just take a moment and enjoy the ride life has to offer. Only to go with the flow, not worrying about tasks undone, bills unpaid, or challenges life sets for us to conquer...
  I had one of these moments today, with a nice cup of hot peppermint tea. So relaxing!

My garden covered in snow. 

My favorite apple tree hibernating in our backyard.

Seems unbelievable that this tiny little twig in snow and frost will bear apples in the summer...

  Snow was falling quietly, no sounds from traffic, no birds singing... It was all silent. And very beautiful outside! It seemed like all the color had been washed away from nature, with only black and white left.
  These are the moments I want to embrace and remember of winter. Lovely!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


  I took a round at shops the other day to check out what kind of clothing is available for babies nowadays. Well, not much has changed in 7-8 years, since the last time I needed that stuff. There is more variation in colors and patterns, especially unisex colors have increased - thank goodness. But the basic shirts and pants still rule the shelves. But I want rompers, all-in-one suits!
  So I made a piece #2 myself:

A genuine farmer´s daughter- outfit. We´re not farmers, but we live in the countryside, where this type of dress suits perfectly. Apron and all, I can´t wait to have my baby wear this cutie (unless she turns out to be a boy =).

Details make a small garment pop and become more than just a piece of clothing, they give it character. Adding even a tiny touch up will enliven a plain dress.
There is plenty of room to fit the cloth diapers in these pants. To make this romper look right, the pants need to be of different fabric than the dress part.

I want to make an outfit be as polished on the back side as on the front. This just wouldn´t be finished without the bow in the back, although it has nothing to do with really tying the apron..

  Once again, I used scrap pieces of fabric to make this dress/romper. The edges are trimmed with strips I cut out of a worn out light blue pillow cover!
  The pattern is basically the same one I used to make the #1 romper,  the bunny-suit, but I only drew and added the skirt and apron on top of the basic romper. Changing the fabric makes the world of a difference in the style of this dress.
  I´m sure this won´t be the last one I make with this pattern!

Friday, January 20, 2012


  Home should also reflect the time of year we are living. By now all the Yule decoration, and lights, have come down and it´s high time to put up new ones. I used to feel sad when the time came to take down Christmas deco, but not anymore! I just replace them with Imbolc ones. So there is no emptiness in the house, and places look as pretty as they did at Christmas, only with a different style.

This is seen when first entering my home, hanging on the garage doors.
The same wreath hangs here all year round, decorations change. This moss I installed in the fall, and has preserved well during the winter. Only the snowflake is different from the Yule-look, but creates a whole different mood.

On the porch I have old milk churns acting as pillars/vases for changing seasonal plants. Mixing old things with natural material and a hint of something new is my thing!

Unbelievably beautiful frosting! Looks like sugar  coating actually.  =)

This is what greets you when you enter the house in the hall way.

Still with a touch of Yule style, I coated these paper-mache balls with strips of old book sheets. They give me an idea of old snowballs, which go well with the theme of Imbolc.

Kitchen table always needs a seasonal arrangement! This time of year there is not much going on outside in the nature, so I want to keep things simple in the house as well.

Two simple snow bells arise from the middle of dried moss, as if showing us we are slowly moving towards spring time.

Candles are a necessity in making an Imbolc look. Here placed safely in a crystal chalice, which beautifully reflects it´s flickering light.

In my kitchen there is only one real window. On one hand I want to let all the possible light to shine in, and on the other, I want to place some nice decoration to it to make the most of it. This time I arranged some small flowers in an old cake pan. I love using old cookware in decorational purposes in the kitchen.

  With these changes made around the house, I enjoy Imbolc at Nelland. The whole place feels updated, refreshed, and uplifted! No weeping after what was left behind, rather looking forward with a sparkle in my eye!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


  Designing make up for each look is as important as the clothes and accessories used. Here is my make up design for Imbolc´s look with a white shirt and baby blue pants.

Light blue in the lids is used heavily to give the look some edge. In contrast everything else is done very mildly, almost nude.

When playing with strong colors it is easy to go overboard, and end up looking like a h ... well, less ladylike!

1. Cheeks: Apply nude beige blush (somewhat darker than your own skin), to create a shadow under your cheekbone, and lift up the color a bit onto the cheekbone too, to give it some warmth.

2. Brows: Brushed up and outward, then filled in with a suitable natural color to create a maximized beautiful arch.

3. Eyes: Apply light baby blue eyeshadow all over the moving lid and into the crease, fading towards browbone. Apply the same color mildly on the lower lid also. To make your eyes look bigger and darker, accentuate the outer third of the upper lid with darkish grey eyeshadow, again, fading carefully outwards.
  Curl the lashes and add a coat of mascara (I always use black).

4. Lips: Only transparent, glittering lipgloss is needed. There is so much going on with the eyes, that the lips need to be more natural, but still luscious.

Now you´re ready to dazzle and take over the world, with style!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


  At Imbolc I concentrate on softness and warmth in clothing. Pastel colors spice up greys and white. In fact, the colors remind me of those we like to dress our newborn babies in. But I draw the color scene directly from nature, emphasizing the pastels, especially light blue.

   I stick with these basic shirt and pant patterns, simply because they just work! I truly have tried many different shapes of clothes during this pregnancy (both at shops and at home, custom-fitted), and I must say nothing else works. It is amazing how stores dare to sell most of their maternity wear, not to mention the people who design them. Most tops look okay, sometimes even nice, when seen from the front, but my god when I turn to check out the profile! Anything falling loosely from the highest point downward makes a pregnant woman look like an elephant. And that is sad, because having a baby belly is after all quite a rare occasion in a woman´s life, and she should be able to look good and enjoy her body working miracles!
  This Imbolc style has all the essentials: white, baby blue, grey, and warmth, and I do feel good wearing them!

This was a cloudy day, so the pants don´t repeat the color of the sky. Nonetheless, increasing baby blue skies are worth embracing every day!

It is becoming more and more challenging to look good with the growing belly...

The accessories, hairbow and earrings, I´ve had for three years already. And still every year it is equally uplifting and pleasant to dig them up from the storage boxes and take into use at Imbolc. That is my way of reducing consumption without giving up on the sense of newness.

A close up shows the material better. It is cotton jersey with printed-on snowflaky florals with grey dots, which make the fabric look like lace (but isn´t see-through at all). The lacy appearance gives this outfit an upgraded feel, and no more jewellery is needed.

 These patterns aren´t maternity ones to begin with. I´ve made some modifications to make them fit my  current shape. 
  The shirt: only the front piece needs to be fixed. I added 10 cm length to the hem, and measured my belly from side seam to side seam at the biggest part. To this measure I added 2 cm seam allowance, drew the outlines of the pattern with this measure, forming a round outward bulging line around the waist, and that´s it. Before sewing the side seams of back and front together, I gathered the front piece to match the back one´s length. 
  That´s it, and you can get a perfectly fitting maternity shirt, custom made!
  The pants: only the front piece needs to be fixed again. These pants are very simple, and have an elastic band at the waist to hold them up. Sew the pants as you normally would, and before inserting the waistband, try the pants on, and see how much you need to lower the front, measuring at the lowest point of your belly. Mark it in the pants, draw a nice, round line (don´t forget to add seam allowances), and cut along. Once you´ve sewn the waistband, put the pants back on, and slip an up to 50cm long tube of well stretching welt on around your belly, tucking the lower end inside your pants. Pin on, sew in place, and put the pants back on to measure the top part of the welt. Mark the suitable points around your belly on the welt fabric with pins, making sure the edge will reach high enough to pull the belly-pouch up, instead of hanging on the highest point of your belly, where it simply won´t stay. Cut along the line you drew, sew an elastic band around the edge, and start wearing your best-ever maternity pants!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


  It is always such a pleasure to welcome a new sabbat! The approximately six weeks that one sabbat lasts is the perfect time to prepare, celebrate, and get over it, in order to be ready for the next one.

  Now it is Imbolc time. Officially on Feb 1st, but I start preparing a couple of weeks beforehand.
  To me Imbolc is the first sabbat of the Wheel Of The Year. It locates between the darkest day of the year and the spring equinox, so in Nelland, this marks the beginning of spring. Yes, climate-wise we´re still in the middle of the winter (often the coldest days still ahead of us), but lightwise is  what counts.

  The biggest difference to Yule is the slowly lightening skies, as daylight increases. Soft baby blues, and delicate pinks start to emerge from the great greys that have been surrounding us for so long. Grey and white are still the dominating colors in nature (and thus in my color-palette in everything), but mixing these pale pastels with them, is what makes the style of Imbolc.
  Along with snow and greys of the earth, ice plays a big role. Ice equals pastel mint and light turquoise in color. These go nicely in the season, having a significant role in nature at this point also.

 When thinking about clothing, the above colors rule! Materials that accentuate this mood include fleece fabric, wool, all knits, and why not fake fur. Everything super soft, warm, and cozy.

  Food at Imbolc is a more challenging theme than the rest. At this point of year, there aren´t that many preserves left from last summer´s crops, and the food closet looks quite empty. There are some cabbages, potatoes, and onions left, so we must value those as the base of our table.
  Luckily nature is full of miracles, and we can now start filling the nutrition gaps in our diets with sprouts! All sorts of seeds can be sprouted, and there are good instructions on preparing them on the net. You can start by checking out what Wikipedia has to say about sprouting  here .

  Imbolc is the time of year to fully enjoy winter, it´s beauty, and uniqueness. Out of all the seasons, I like winter the least, but wouldn´t want to give it up nonetheless. On good, sunny days it bears such beauty, that it can be breathtaking! All us people need to do is feast it with our eyes, and enjoy!

  Happy Imbolc everyone! Aren´t we just plain lucky to be able to live on this wonderful planet?!