Friday, May 30, 2014


 Q: Why spend so much time on making your own clothes, when it is so easy just to go buy them? 
 A: One word: "fit".
    Fit changes everything, and eventually saves both money and time, and the environment too.

  Although I make (design and sew) nearly all of my own clothes, I sometimes like to take a tour in the mall to check out what clothing stores have to offer. Usually what happens is this: at first everything looks beautiful and fine, but after a closer look (or even trying something on) I find that the pieces are shaped totally wrong for my body.
 I´m a pear, let´s put it flat out. It means that all the pants (that I am even able to pull all the way up past my thighs) leave an enormous gap at my back. If I´m lucky, the gap is somewhat mild, and I can fix it by sewing darts on it back home. But it´s frustrating having to sew even ready-made clothes I´ve already paid a full price of!
 What about the tops then? If the piece fits at the shoulders, it´s a tent at my waist. If I want the waist to fit, my shoulders look like they´ve outgrown the piece. Great...

  All this makes me feel like crap. Like there is something wrong with me, where in reality the fault lies on the clothes. Not fair! Fashion, style, and clothes are supposed to be fun and make me happy! It is like a huge playground that everybody attends (whether they like it or not) and are welcome. After all, we all need to wear something anyway, why not as well make the best of it?

  Taste is another big thing when shopping for clothes. Although it is said that all styles are in fashion these days, I say not all shapes are! While styles do vary, the shapes of the clothes are always the same (have been for the past ten years already). Wide tents for tops, and skinny pants for bottoms.
  In my eyes skinny pants don´t flatter anyone. I have not yet seen one single "normal" person that looks great with skinny pants on. They just make hips look bulgy. Who wants that?
  Baggy tops again look okay in catalogues when seen only from the front, or the model sitting slouching down. But just take a look at it on a standing position from the side profile! They make you look pregnant. Depressing.

Saving money 

  Fabrics, threads, buttons, zippers, patterns, not to mention sewing machines are not cheap. It is not necessarily cheaper to make an outfit than buy one. These days there are many international, huge clothing companies that are able to sell items at a ridiculously low price. So low in fact, that it lowers the respect towards the piece of clothing itself. Because it is cheap, and probably does not fit correctly, it is easy to ignore after a while, and just get a new one. Get rid of, throw away. This is where the money-saving aspect of diy steps in.

  A self-made dress for example, one with a good fit and made by your sense of style, can last years and years, because you are satisfied with how you look in it. Yes, clothes are there to make you look good, not vice versa! And when you are happy with how you look in your old dress, shopping suddenly loses it´s point. You look your best already, why waste time on the subject any more? Go swimming or to the theater instead!

Saving time

  Lately I have noticed paying no attention to seasonal sales or discount coupons and codes. I know what I need and don´t need, and get them, and only them, when in need. Like today, when I was buying fabric for my next dress. The cashier lady asked if I wanted to register for such and such to get the latest news and offers. No thanks! I don´t collect stamps from my purchases just to buy something else a bit cheaper either. Something I would not otherwise have bought at all to begin with. Nor do I order a magazine because I can get a pair of earrings or a pillow case for free as a "gift".

  What´s with the world?  Are we really so greedy after stuff we do not need, and why? I know quite a few people who I think have made it a hobby to spend their time browsing all sorts of sources for the best deals possible. And then brag to their pals how they have just found something 50 cents cheaper than the other person. It has even become a way of life to some. What I do not understand about it is that how they do not value their free time over a few dimes/bucks.  Or do they really buy so much stuff, that in the end it pays off? Who needs all the (latest) things the world has to offer? And where do they find the time to use all of that stuff they have gathered? That´s overwhelming.

  I shop for things I need. That´s it. Especially when it comes to my wardrobe. I buy fabric, not clothes. It feels pretty liberating not having to spend time on going through advertisement for special deals, or running around in (too) many clothing stores, trying on countless of garments, and coming home with something I would wear only a few times before the cycle begins again. And still not be satisfied.


  The importance of appearance is ever more important in our Western culture. Especially women are judged by their looks. I like the saying: "Beauty is to a woman, what money is to a man". Beauty is power. It is written in our genes.
  I think I look better in my self-made, better fitting clothes, than I do in store bought ones. That makes me feel good. When I feel good about my appearance and thus myself, I am more happy. When I am happy, I treat the world better and "shine" positivity. That is then reflected back at me from my surroundings. Therefore I can live in a "happy bubble" around me. I literally make my life a happier place by making my own clothes. Sounds weird but according to the math above, is correct.

  I have created a full system for my wardrobe. I have divided a year into eight "seasons" (according to the pagan wheel-of-the-year). For each season I´m in the process of making five artistic outfits for work. That equals forty different styles to wear during the course of the year. Each season lasts about six weeks. When it is time to move on to the next one, I fold the five outfits neatly into a box, and take out the next one. One with (eventually) five "new" outfits to take into use. That way I always have something proper to wear, in tune with the seasons. This rotation can go on for years and years, without having to buy much more. That saves a lot of time, money, and the planet.

  I´m not saying everybody should suddenly start sewing themselves! I can only recommend following your own sense of style and liking, and building a working wardrobe from there. The path to it is up to you. I first begun by trying to make pants. Pants have always been the hardest fit for me. Even up to date I have not ever taken one sewing class. Only proceeded by trial and error. So choose your way, and even use a stylist and a tailor to get there. Sounds expensive, but in the end I´m sure it will pay off. And if you do have the bucks, they are well used on service like that. Better than buying non-fitting bulk anyway.

  By now my diy wardrobe is more than half way done. Already I have noticed needing less money. Probably not on clothes alone, but as a side effect, to everything else also. I have learned to step out of the box and value things differently and more. It seems nowadays everything is valued by money alone. I have learned there is something even more valuable than money: my free time. Working is important, I do not deny that. It gives a person not only an income, but also a role where he/she can feel skillful, needed and important (hopefully!). But so much of our time awake is spent on working, that it magnifies the importance of off duty time.
  As a result of not needing that much money anymore, I have chosen to work part time for the past four-five years (right now I am on maternity leave, but before that. And I will continue doing so after I get back on the wagon next spring). What a difference one more day off a week can make! Instead of five days a week, I have been working only four. That way I can spend more time with my small children, get a bit more rest, do housework while others are at work so when they come home I am there for them and not the house, and simply do whatever I want!
  I have gladly given up that 20% of my (average, not sky high) salary to get more time off. And I have noticed that tightening my budget that much has only meant not buying by impulse. Even better!
  Besides my own benefit from working only 80% of the time, it can benefit others too. Unemployment has risen over the past years. I feel like I am donating part of my work+income to someone else. That someone would not otherwise have even that. And when there are four more people like me, together we can create a whole new position for that someone! How cool is that?

  Who thought there would be so much thought and depth in a wardrobe? It seems clothes are more than just mere coverage to our private parts. They are a part of our identity They act like a business card, telling others who we are and what we are like by just a glance. In our fast-paced world we associate with numerous people, most of whom we never really even get to know well, so it is more important than probably ever to give a high quality impression. That applies to our behavior as well. Eventually there is more than meets the eye to everyone. In good or in bad.

  Overall my diy wardrobe has made my life more enjoyable and even luxurious. It is luxury to know I wear unique pieces of clothing, custom-made for my own style and fit. Can it get any better than that?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


  Summer is all about fun! These are my latest maximizers of the adjective:

Just perfect for digging and weeding the garden!  =)  Adding a drop of citronella essential oil will make the insects stay away, so the experience is all the more pleasurable.
  These earrings are also available on my Etsy shop Nelland Boutique. Let´s make this world a happier place, one pair of earrings at a time!  =)

Monday, May 26, 2014


  When I design styles for outfits, I don´t need to look through inspirational magazines, movies, or surf the net. The visions rise up straight from my mind. I guess they are combinations of all the images I´ve ever seen and have been registered in my subconscious. This dress is a good example:

A combination of old-fashioned nautical style and -beachwear, made more simple and modern. But in more light and delicate colors, which suit my daughter the best. I love the fact that the dress has little sleeves to protect the shoulders from the burning sun. I prefer using clothes instead of lotions as sunblock.

Two rows of decorative buttons give the garment it´s nautical flavour.

The fabric is pure cotton. I added a slip of contrast color to the hem to give it some detail and depth. But nothing too bright or strong.

The dress closes with a zipper, which is not old-fashioned at all, but is much easier to use than buttons. After all, this dress is for real-world use, not just a decoration.

She loves her new summer dress! And I love her happy little face!
  My daughter wore this dress today at our summer cabin, when we had her godparents and great-aunt come for a visit. The second "occasion" will be the coming weekend, when the schools end. After that party the dress will become a staple play wear, especially when vacationing at our summer cabin. It suits the sea landscape so well!

P.S. The sewing pattern for the dress is from Ottobre Design Magazine 3/2011.  A similar pattern can be found here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


  Beltane begins my harvesting season. Nature is now abundant with new, fresh, tender, soft, and mild-tasting wild edible greens. It starts small and slow, but after a short while there is so much food around that it makes me cry inside not being able to collect them all!

  Wild greens have been on my menu, daily, for about two weeks now. Together with my daughter I have also collected and preserved them in the freezer. It is easy to add greens in nearly anything, but my favorites now are a green drink and a green sauce over grains/potatoes.

The recipe (for one):

1 handful wild edible greens (I used dandelion, stinging nettle, and bishop´s goutweed)
1/2 - 1 avocado
1/2 clove garlic
pinch sea salt

+ Blend everything in a high-speed blender until the sauce is rich and creamy. Check for salt.

Enjoy over brown rice, or as a dip with oven-baked potato wedges. This sauce makes me feel happy and bubbly inside. Makes for a great, energizing, lunch!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


  These new earrings get me right into the fun summer mood!
  During the dark and cold winter months I always long for the next summer so badly, that now that it is finally here, I want to embrace it with everything I can.  =)

Pretty metal butterflies with lilac felt in the back, and a tiny white pearl on the wing. Ironically, I will use essential citronella oil with these earrings to repel mosquitoes once they appear.
  These aromatherapy earrings definitely add to my joy of summer!

P.S. You can get a pair of your own too from my little Etsy shop Nelland Boutique.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


  Rhubarb season has started in our garden. Today I pulled up the very first stems and made kissel of them. Kissel is pretty much the only thing I ever make of rhubarb. Yum!

This was my supper today. I was not exactly hungry but wanted something sweet.

Because we have diabetes in the house, I made this low in carbohydrates using artificially sweetened juice as the base. Handy for me too, since it is automatically low in calories also!

The recipe:

1-2 cups (3-5dl) of chopped rhubarb
4 cups (1 liter) artificially sweetened juice (I used raspberry flavored)
4 Tbsp potato starch

+ Mix the potato starch with one cup of juice. Place all ingredients in a kettle, and turn the heat on in the stove. Stir constantly and bring the kissel to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring still, until the rhubarb pieces soften. Remove from heat and eat either warm or cold.

Tip: add vanilla custard or whipped cream to make it a festive dessert (in which case screw the healthiness!).

Kissel can be made of  almost anything, but I think berries are the best choice. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and lingonberries all make a superb kissel. But also apples, peaches, and pineapple go well too. For the best result use ingredients that are in season. 

Kissel is a good and slimming dessert/snack year round!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


  As we all know, faeries live in our world, but we just don´t see them very often. =)
  Beltane, for me, is the teenage time of year. At this point the year has grown from a baby (Imbolc) to a child (Ostara), and now turned into it´s teens.
This outfit combines those two elements. This is what my Teenage Faery looks like:

Rather bold yet simple, without too many layers of details. Just like teenagers.

This was my sketch of what was about to take form. I´m still letting the inner child in me to play with these Bratz paper dolls. They are so cool. =)
The wrist warmers are handy at this time of year. It is still quite cold in the beginning of Beltane (mid April) but it can be hot even towards the end (early June). Or in the morning it is still very cool and in the afternoon really warm. Tricky.  I can pull the warmers up and down accordingly.
I´ve learned to dig pants with stripes. These pants are nearly leggings, but I prefer to keep them a bit loose with such a short skirt like this one. The mini skirt is actually sewn together with the pants at the waist, so it will not twist around. And there is a petticoat underneath to keep it from crawling up or any other place less attractive. Skinny jeans/pants have been hip for such a long time, but I still do not dig them one bit. Especially on me. This is the only way I think they can look good, or should I say I can look good with them on. Butt needs to be covered, or even a skinny little faery can look bulgy.

Makeup is surprisingly minimal. Teens don´t usually yet wear loads of makeup (or if they do, it is not done in the manner I want to embrace  =).  So I kept the colors nude, except for the pink lipgloss and a touch of pink blush on the cheeks, to give a healthy and youthful glow. This shirt is as hot as my pink can go. When I applied my new pink lipgloss on for the first time with this look, I feared I´d look too Barbie-like. But thanks to the other parts of the outfit, I think I managed to dodge that trap! Why do so many women want to look like plastic dolls? Embrace well cared for natural beauty instead.

I trimmed the sleeves by stitching a narrow zig zag around the edges. It is so suitable for all faeries and gives a girly and a bit of a romantic touch.
  In the beginning I did not have a clear vision of what this outfit should be like. I only had my hot pink, denim, and the mini skirt. I marched in to the fabric shop and screened what they had, and did the best I could. Could not find stretchy thin denim for the skirt. Had to improvise. Ended up buying a tad too little shirt fabric (because it shrunk soooo much in the pre-wash), that I had to improvise with the outer layer of the back piece too. Did you notice how it is shorter than the inner one?
  Making an outfit is always a path. You never know exactly what there will stand at the end. This end I like very much.

This faery is no longer in her teens, but who cares?! Beauty and style belong to all of us women, and many of us only get better as we pass our teens. Age is no excuse to look bad. I love the saying "Beauty is to a woman, what money is to a man"! Wise words...

Sunday, May 11, 2014


 I simply need to share this tip with anyone who has/will have an energetic toddler in the house. A night light can help your little one to sleep better!

  My daughter climbed out of her crib some weeks ago. Yep, over the edges like a Tarzan. So that marked the end of her crib time, and now she sleeps in a "big" girl´s bed. That in turn means she can come and go as she pleases, in and out of her new nest (a phase I was not looking forward to very eagerly...  =).

  It was time to dig up the old night light I had bought for our son many years ago, when he was in this stage. What I did now was set a timer in the power outlet for the light, so that it switches the lamp on at around 9.30pm and off at 8.00am. Then I explained to my daughter (who recently turned two) that when the light is on, it means it is night time and we all need to sleep (especially mommy...). And that she is not to come to mommy and daddy´s bedroom in the morning until the light has switched off.
  This worked well with our son, and looks like it will work with our daughter now too. We have been learning to sleep according to the night light for a couple of weeks now. Looks promising.

  We live far up in the North, where summer nights are light. Soon there will be no darkness at all, and it would impossible for a two-year-old to tell time without a clock. But now she has a "clock" and will know!

  The result of our night light is that the whole family can sleep better and thus be happier. Ingenuous!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


  My new favorite set of handbags, now in colors of Beltane:

 Here the bags are empty and one inside the other. Most often I only have so little stuff inside the big one, that the small one fits in it easily.
I found the perfect, subtle, warm, light green faux leather fabric for the bags. Faux leather is the perfect material because it keeps any moisture out, and is easy to just wipe clean.
Whenever I hit the town running errands, I place the big bag in the trunk of my car. It holds stuff I need to have with me just in case, like diapers for my little girl or my allergy medication, but most often don´t use. The small one I carry with me wherever I go, and I have all the important things in it, like the wallet, phone, keys, and lipbalm.
A stylish pair, aren´t they?

The lining crowns the whole look. It is deliberately left visible on the upper edge, because the root and stem of my Beltane palette is the combination of green and pink. Romantic images of perfume bottles and tiny roses are pictured in the cotton lining.
  I made a set of these same bags, but in different color, for my Ostara collection too. You can see it here. These babies have proven to be totally handy in real life! I´m happy to have invented them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


  Sometimes I feel like I "need" something sweet for a meal. Not just for dessert, but as a whole meal. Usually I don´t even do desserts, I like to eat simple meals consisting of only a few things anyway. So banana-cardamom cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner it is!

A quarter of the cake has proven to be a good portion for me, as one meal. And I like to pair it with green tea, with or without soymilk.

A bite full of flavors: cardamom, banana, and ginger. The taste is so deep that it satisfies my tastebuds thoroughly.
The recipe:

2 cups (4,5 dl) wholegrain spelt flour (I grind mine in my own little mill)
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 dl) chopped nuts (I used pecan)
1/2 cup (1 dl) raw cane sugar
2 fl. oz. (1/2 dl) olive oil
3 over ripe bananas
1 cup (2,5 dl) soymilk

+ Combine the dry ingredients. Add in the rest, and stir well. Spread the batter into a buttered cake pan and bake at 350 F (175 C) for nearly an hour.

  Eating overall is about balance, whether one chooses to follow a healthy, or an unhealthy diet. This cake is vegan and made with whole grain flour, and contains only vegetable fats, so it´s not all bad for me. Well, not as healthy as a bowl of quinoa and lentils, but it helps me eat less of milk chocolate, which is my ultimate craving...

Monday, May 5, 2014


  Last weekend was one of the many yet to come at our summer cabin this year. We went there just the two of us, my husband and I, but it was not all just hugs and kisses. We still have a big task to do clearing out the storm damages from last winter.

Under the bright early summer sun we worked. And thanks to my sister, I now wear day cream with sunblock. She´s lectured me about the importance of it, and she is right. Thanks!
The island where our cabin is located is so small, that there is not enough ground to clear out all the salt from the sea water. Therefore there is no running water, or plumbing for that matter. An outhouse is the only option. We started off by taking down the old and nasty outhouse with a chainsaw and...

... a sledgehammer. I say "we", but the truth is I did not touch either one. I kindly carried away the pieces of crap my husband had demolished. Team work, baby! Last fall we begun building a new shed for firewood, tools, and a new outhouse. Good thing we did, because now we have so many knocked down tree trunks to chop and store, that we badly need the storage space. It was also lucky that we did not get so far as to take down the old outhouse last fall, because it took a huge hit by one of the major spruces in the storm. Had it not been there still, the new shed might even have cracked.

Since we were, after all, spending a holiday weekend, I took the time to adore nature´s beauty. It is always calming and comforting.

The ground is quite barren, but luckily fertile enough for some species to flourish.

And it was very windy from the cold North. Water temperature was only 48 Fahrenheit (9 Centigrade), but it did not stop my husband from swimming! Although it is devastating even to think about dipping in, the reality is that he has not suffered from common colds since we bought the place nearly three years ago and started swimming in the freezing waters. I wish I could do that!
Here´s what we accomplished. The sauna will heat up countless of times with this amount of firewood! Yipee!
But there is still a lot more to do... This is not nearly all of it either... The shed proceeded towards finish line too, missing only windows, doors, and trims now. We are very satisfied with the result of the weekend, we exceeded our goals.

On my way home, only ten minutes from our house, hit a big snowfall. With all these hills on the way, I was not sure if I was going to make it home. How pathetic would that be, having first driven nearly three hours, and then in the last minute hit the ditch?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


  I love frogs and toads! For some odd reason I find them super sympathetic and cute. And now it is their time to find brides and grooms, so they are boldly on the move. How cool!

"What are you looking at?"