Friday, March 30, 2012


  I have found it time- and money saving to make menu plans ahead. A week´s worth is a good time period, and it provides me with enough variety. That way I don´t have to ponder each day what to cook, only to take a look at my plan and get going.
  Here is my menu plan for Oestara:

breakfast: fruit salad with greens + green tea
lunch: rice and wok + water
dinner: oatmeal with raw sugar and vegan margarine + herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast:  fruit salad with greens + green tea
lunch: oven fresh scones + fresh juice
dinner: oatmeal with jam + herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast: green smoothie + green tea
lunch: green salad with goat´s cheese + water
dinner: oatmeal with cacao nibs ans coconut butter +  herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast: raw chocolate pudding with greens + green tea
lunch: pasta + fresh juice
dinner: oatmeal with peanut butter and jelly + herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast: green smoothie + green tea
lunch: bean salad + water
dinner: cinnamon roll flavored oatmeal +  herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast: berry-avocado-green smoothie + green tea
lunch: pizza (preferably home made and vegan) + fresh juice
dinner: -
dessert: chocolate + herbal tea with soy milk

breakfast:  berry-avocado-green smoothie + green tea
lunch: green salad with fish + water
dinner: chocolaty oatmeal +  herbal tea with soy milk

This is where I usually eat my meals, in the living room. It is said that food often tastes better outdoors. Well, this is indoors, but by the window and I have plenty of plants and garden-like decor in my living room. Maybe that makes it more appealing to eat here instead of the kitchen.

  I rely on intuitive eating to determine the amount of these foods I consume. I´ve never calculated calories, and find the mere thought of it repulsive and definitely not fun. Food should be a source of enjoyment, along with nutrition, and I want to keep it that way.
   (I hop on the scale myself regularly, and let it determine approximately whether I should reduce or increase my eating. I have managed to maintain my weight at about the same level throughout my adulthood, since I was 20 or so. Now that I have just recently given birth (last week), it is my goal to get back to my pre-baby weight by the end of this year. No stress, and slow but steady. I´ve never relied or believed in crash diets.)

  This menu plan is forever evolving, from sabbat to sabbat, and year to year, always trying to meet the current needs. Needs vary during the course of the year, and not one single plan work throughout the whole year. I use it as a guideline, not a strict rule. It makes my life more simple and easier, and it is always fun to create a new plan as the next sabbat approaches!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


  Oestara is about fun and play, a time to go a little childish! I fooled around and painted my nails in this manner, making them Easter egg-like. Still forever faithful to my principle of not covering all of the nail surface with polish, in order to reduce toxicity in my body (it is important to us all, but especially those of us who are either pregnant or breastfeeding).

Short nails have been my favorite for some years now. Somehow long, especially fake nails, remind me too much of the nineties. Been there, done that, so this is more new to me. Plus it takes a bit more self esteem to proudly show off natural nails.

Wouldn´t they just go well as Easter eggs in the grass?

I always try to keep in mind, that life is about having fun, and adding that to everyday life is what brings quality!

Colors used in the nails go with everything in my Oestara palette: grey, yellow, and lilac. So these nails will fit all of my outfits. It´s all in the details...

If one of the dots wear out, I simply replace it with a new drop of the same polish. Easy and practical!

I have gotten lots of cheerful attention due to my dotted nails during these years. It is fun to create positive reactions in people!

  This is only one way of doing Oestara nails. I don´t yet have green nailpolish, but that would suit the theme well. How does lilac and green flowers sound? Or grass and chicks? More detailed work for sure, but maybe one day... Anything is possible!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


  Some time ago I bought a mirror from a second-hand-shop. I needed one badly for our tiny upstairs restroom. Mirrors have the effect of doubling the space, and that´s just the illusion I wanted to create.
  This is what I found, for eight bucks:

Hideous by color, beautiful by shape and the fact that someone has clearly hand-made it (but it didn´t turn out perfect...).

How it ended up like this...

... or this, I have no clue.

But it was nothing a little sandpaper couldn´t take care of. Then all I needed was some good old white paint, and the apparel was totally changed. For good.

As decor I reused these old humming birds, that once were  lit up with tiny led lights. But as nothing seems to last long these days, neither did these little birdies´ lights   =(.

They look cute, but not too girly for my husband to visit this room when in need. =)

The restroom is so tiny that it was challenging to get a picture showing the whole of it all in one. In this reflection you can see a little more of it, and here you can see the rest.

The edges are beautifully facet polished.

Little scabs in the mirror surface shows the age of the item, and gives it the nice rustic feeling I´m into.

  This was as simple as remodeling can be: only paint added. But here it shows just how big of a difference only color can make. White gives the mirror a more sophisticated look, and makes it pop out of the wall instead of sinking in, making the whole area brighter and seemingly larger. (I might even mistake myself looking prettier than in reality, when seeing myself in this mirror now!)

Monday, March 26, 2012


  Simplicity is bliss.

  As a teenager, I remember telling my mom how I liked my foods simple. I never liked sauces and gravies, just plain potatoes or rice with additional, say, slices of tomatoes and a piece of bread on the side. Period.
  To that I still hold. I do eat a lot enough, but the type of food is simple. A good example is my Tuesday lunch I have composed for my Oestara-menu this year: fresh juice with warm scones. Aahhh...

I always need something fresh for lunch, and juice is a great alternative for salads. Straight-from-the-oven-scones are heavenly! These are made gluten free and vegan. You can vary the ingredients endlessly according to the season and your liking. It goes sweet or salty, very versatile!

To make my juices, I always use whatever I happen to have.. This time there were apples, fennel, and beet.

Scones for my taste; gluten free and thin. 3-4 of these will do...

This is a delightfully simple and tasty lunch, which provides good nutrition and doesn´t make me fat!

The recipes:
 2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 bulb of fennel
1 beet

+ Juice.

 4 dl flour (I used home-ground millet and buckwheat, with some corn starch)
2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
2 dl water or milk (I used soy milk)
2  shredded apples (or carrots, bananas, beets, cabbage even, tomatoes, pumpkin, berries... whatever)
cinnamon (or any seasoning suitable for the chosen vegetable/fruit)

+ Mix all and scoop 7-9 scones on baking trays. Bake at 225 Celsius for 15 min. Serve immediately with butter/vegan margarine. Yum!

Friday, March 23, 2012


  Finally I´m a mother of two! My baby princess was born, and now everything just seems to be glowing along with the spring sun!

Bright, happy light seems to cover everything in Nelland these days!

  My life is plain filled with happiness and joy right now! What a wonderful world we live in!

Monday, March 19, 2012


  Tomorrow is the peak of Oestara, the spring equinox! Equally darkness and light, and from then on, more light and dark! Yippee!

  This is the time of year when I always get charged with energy, and can´t wait for all the snows to melt and start living outside more. Dreaming about hammocks, planning seeds in the garden, maybe a fruit tree, having breakfast in the morning sun... It´s all still ahead!

  What I always do before the peak of each sabbat, is decorate my home to the occasion. It sets up the right mood, and is refreshing to experience a change. It is still snowy outside here, but I´m taking a head start to spring bloomers inside the house.

This is what you see when entering my home. I like to decorate the entrance hall, so that it is there to sweeten my day each time I (and everybody else!) walk in and out of my house. It gives the first and last impression.

These boots are old army shoes I bought years ago at a second-hand-shop. They sit on this dresser year-round, and act as potholders to changing flowers and other decorations.

Only a very close look reveals that these aren´t real grape hyacinths. We have allergies in the family, so I had to give up most real flowers and plants long ago. Luckily they manufacture fake plants that look so real, it is hard to suspect anything!  =)

Willow catkins are a must at Oestara!

This is the opposite side of our entrance hall. On this side I have the big wreath above the mirror, on which I hang decorations. I wanted to create a difference, so that both sides stay interesting, and don´t repeat the same idea.

As a curiosity, this deserves a mentioning. These are my staple decorations, that stay here year-round to give vintage look. Notice how the shoe-theme continues on this side...

Rust and lace create an interesting combination.

Oestara colors in a nice, subtle tone, in a wide variety.

Mixing natural ingredients with store-bought ones accentuates the best features of each.

The dining table in our kitchen. A tricky place to style, because the arrangement needs to stay quite low so it won´t block eye contact between people.

Another staple decoration: a vintage scale.

These chicks are so adorable and fun!

This spot in the kitchen is so cut off of natural light, that the chicks have to nest in fake grass. But it looks great all sabbat through!

Still in the kitchen, these old army spoons enliven the tabletop without making it difficult to keep the surfaces clean.

Yet another corner of our kitchen. (I´m still in the process of remodeling the armchair, that´s why it looks silly...) The kitchen is located in the center of our house, and is therefore the second place where I find it essential to play with seasonal decoration. We walk through and spend a lot of time in it, so the decorations give out the maximum effect when placed in here.

  It is still too cold outside to place Oestara´s blooming bulbs there, so for now I´m only enjoying these ones inside the house. The time will come (usually surprisingly quickly!), to plant them outside too. And then it will be a whole new occasion, and source of beauty and happiness, when I do that!
   Often I find it best to take baby steps, and embrace each, one by one. That maximizes the effect and gives me the most joy out of it!
  Beautiful Oestara!

Friday, March 16, 2012


  One-piece romper is a favorite of mine for a baby´s outfit, but this time I had to give in and make a playsuit. The reason for it is that I noticed how many body shirts I have gotten as a gift for my baby, and now will have to find a use to. It would be silly not to use them, so I need some "pants" to go with them. And regular "pants" will not do. I think they look mostly unattractive with a baby´s big diaper-bum, and are not handy in use. Only after the baby becomes a toddler, and starts to walk, are ordinary pants in order.

I was left with small pieces of extra fabric earlier, when making a nursing shirt for myself. How could I throw those away? I thought it would be cute to have outfits made of the same fabric with my baby. This baby body shirt is one of those I have gotten as a gift. If the baby is a girl, I´ll add a little lace to give it a more vintage and romantic look.

Snap fasteners, always my favorite in baby clothes!

There is a seam going across the belly because the scrap pieces of fabric were so small, I couldn´t fit the entire front or back piece on it. Like they say; "where´s a will, there´s a way"!

  This playsuit is made with the same pattern as all of my previous rompers, but I left out the sleeves. It is so simple to vary!
  If you don´t yet have proper patterns, it is easy to buy them on the net. This is a nice, and affordable, set for a baby from McCall´s. I have bought their patterns, and therefore can recommend it. They have a worldwide delivery too.


  The other day I was driving home from... hmm...I forget now... and was able to witness this beautiful sunset on the way.

No picture manipulation done here, it really was this beautiful!

It shows clearly how the sun is getting more powerful. The colors in nature are getting more vivid as the daylight increases. Welcome spring!

  Pictures were taken while driving, through an obviously dirty windshield...

  Embracing everyday moments,s like this sunset, are what brings quality to my life. Sound dull? But I see them as gems, that are so close to me, that it requires a certain skill to acknowledge them. And since they do exist anyway, why not enjoy them to the fullest? Quality of life, to me, is more than just traveling around the world or buying new houses and cars (of which I do none...=)  Those occasions come too rarely. I rather recognize the small good things life has to offer (along with the bigger but more infrequent ones, of course), and be happy every day!

  I love and respect the fact that nature still keeps giving us so much, though we have harmed it in many ways over the past century or two. But like they say, it is not yet too late to save her, and ourselves as a side product! Little things do add up...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


  It is still chilly where I live, especially in the mornings. Today it was -10 Celsius. That means gloves are still necessary, every day, when stepping outside of the house.
  Gloves are a fun accessory, with which you can go a little crazy even. I love stylish clothes, but I don´t want to take things too seriously. Dressing up is like a little fun game. Besides, I have to wear something anyway, so why not something pretty and uplifting?

  These gloves go with my Oestara-look:

Green grass and little chicks are so Oestara!

Gloves are a safer place to fool around and have fun, than say, dresses or shirts. If I had this theme in a bigger garment, I would have to be much more subtle with the outcome.

Call me childish, but I love these little buttons!

The grass is simply cut out piece of green fleece. I placed a solid piece of it on top of the clove, and started cutting away. I hand sew it on (which took a little too much time, and especially patience, but now that I see how it turned out I can say it was definitely worth it).

  Oestara is not only about grass and chicks, it is also the time when the first flowers, like crocuses, start to bloom:

All of these fabrics are leftover pieces of some previous projects. The crocus buttons I salvaged from my earlier dress (which I abandoned for being too stretchy and loose), and transferred to these gloves to make them pretty.

The first bugs wake up from hibernation during Oestara too.

The crocuses were challenging to sew on securely enough, since they weren´t buttons after all! I used thread, as close to the original color as possible, to tie around the whole flower.  It doesn´t show in use, only in a close up like this.

The recipe:

your hand
a piece of paper
30cm fleece fabric (a little stretchy)
buttons, ribbons, bows, etc. for decorating

+ Place your hand, fingers separated, on the piece of paper. Draw down the outlines of it. Add about 1cm to these lines, all around, and cut along that line. This is your pattern.
  Fold the fleece right sides in, and cut two hand shapes out of the double-layered fabric. You can use different colors for bottom and top, if you like.
  Sew close to the outer edge with straight stitches (mine have never torn). Cut opening notches between each finger at the bottom, up until about 2mm from the stitching line. Turn the gloves right sides out.
  Decorate as you wish. Let your imagination fly and have fun!
  You can check out my Imbolc gloves here for more inspiration!

  These gloves fit incredibly well, since they are made just for me. The fingers are exactly the right length and width, which I often find poor in store-bought gloves.
  They also make a nice little gift for a friend (you might want to sneak her/his handprint first with some excuse for the perfect fit, but these work without it too. Just keep the fabric stretchy enough.).