Monday, June 30, 2014


  There are some things in life that I just take for granted. Things like the fact that my car runs, that there is always toilet paper in the closet, that the smoke alarm batteries have power, and that there are always enough clean towels at hand. You know, things that usually work without further effort, but when they don´t, it feels extremely annoying.

  When we bought our summer home three years ago, one of the first things I did was got us a nice matching set of towels there. Our daughter was already on her way then, so I knew to buy four matching towels.
  It all went fine at first, and the sauna looked cute with the tone-to-tone towels hanging there. But then after only a few months my husband someone lost two of the precious (and expensive and high-quality!) towels! Lost, forever! At first I was mad, but as a nice wife and an understanding person =) I kept it all in, and then only regretted to have spent all that money on something as silly as towels. Life is for living, not worshiping material...

  This summer I finally did something I have planned on doing for years already. I asked around my family and friends if they had any mismatch/unused bath towels to spare. I wound up with eight. Eight hideous, brightly colored, wildly printed bath towels, that nearly hurt my eyes to look at.
  I bought a pack of machine washable black dye, and loaded the washing machine with at least double the recommended weight of towels, and pressed "run".
 The end result? Beautiful evenly colored dark grey bath towels totally suitable for our summer cabin use!

Dark grey suits the surrounding nature so well here!

Towels are made of pure cotton, which absorbs the dye perfectly. The only parts left in their original color were sewing and embroidering threads in some of the towels.

The color is beautifully even and alike in all of the towels (only four are pictured, four are already in use =).

Some of the bath towels are relatively thin, but that just makes them dry faster in the sun!
  My total budget for the project ended up barely reaching 10 bucks, which was the cost of the dye. The towels were free of charge, and minimum money went on running the washing machine.
  Had I bought six more of the original towels, the cost would have been over 200 bucks! So I ended up saving 190,- in money, plus a lot more in saving the nature with not buying new things.

  I´m totally happy with this project, and can recommend it to everyone!

Friday, June 27, 2014


  Although it is not the independence day of Nelland during Litha (don´t know when it is exactly... never thought of it really... on my birthday perhaps? =) I strongly feel I need a national dress as one of my outfits. Just to celebrate and honor summer. Like this:

A very traditional and old-fashioned look, but with updated twist. The skirt is short and the vest and blouse are sewn together, all for convenience´s sake of course. My clothes need to be easy to wear, or they will stay in the closet!
Here´s what I pictured it would look like before going shopping for fabrics.
The only major change from the original plan is the skirt. I could not find anything striped and stretchy with black and red on it. So I went for this dark brown with printed-on golden circles to form uneven vertical stripes. But it left me missing the red.
The skirt fabric is very thin jersey, so it drapes beautifully. The white cotton lace at the hem edge binds the top and bottom together style-wise, and brightens up the otherwise quite murky outfit. These beautiful red shoes add a needed red accent to the look.

Plus I found these cute little ladybug buttons from my stash. I could not resist applying a few to enhance redness. This tiny one sits at the neckhole in the back.
To be honest, I ran out of metal buttons here. Luckily I came to think of replacing them with two more ladybugs. They also make this outfit fun, which is important. Life should not be too serious, even for us grownups!

It may be too much, but I absolutely wanted to attach this tiny brooch to the chest. It was made for me by my son when he was about six or so. I still remember how we sat and waited for hours in a hospital during one of the check ups for his allergies, and to kill time he made me this ladybug. A real treasure to me!
  All in all my national dress is an awesome addition to my Litha Collection. If I saw someone wearing something like this on the street, I know it would cheer me up and bring a happy smile on my face. I hope it will do that to others too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


  This is what I vacuumed inside me all through summer solstice party last weekend (well, perhaps slightly exaggerating... not all through  =).

Bombay Sapphire gin has been on my shopping list since last October, and only now I went and bought it. I have been planning for a recipe ever since. A tour on Google taught me that anything possible can be mixed with gin, so I explored my taste buds and came up with a recipe of my own.
Cucumber and mint give gin a refreshing kick.
The recipe (for one):

1 fl.oz. (1/3 dl) Bombay Sapphire gin
1/2 drop of essential mint oil
3-4 slices cucumber, slightly crushed to give more flavor
grapefruit soda pop
(crushed ice or ice cubes if desired)

+ Combine the first three ingredients, then fill up the glass with soda. (You can add ice cubes if you like, I find it only diluting great tastes.)

  This drink is sweet enough for my taste, and so easy to drink that I have to be careful with the quantities... =)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


  Although it sleeted and snowed here yesterday and the temperature dropped down to near freezing (colder than on last winter solstice!) I have to believe that it is summer solstice. Here´s the proof:

It is 11.27pm in this picture taken at our summer cabin! The sun will set, but only for a while.

The sight of this warms my heart, no matter how cold the temperature!
This is why I love summer more than all the other seasons. Sunlight gives energy and vibe to my being, even at night.
  Happy and lively Litha!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


  Here´s a great, healthy, and energizing lunch my daughter and I had today:

A lovely mixture of whole grain jasmin- and brown rice and a big glass of carrot juice.

This generous cup (3 dl) went for my two-year-old. She´s a health food freak by nature, and loves especially everything raw (a complete opposite to my son, who won´t eat anything veggie, except a piece of cucumber!).
This pile is packed with flavor from the jasmine rice, lemon zest, coconut, chives, and herbs. I ate three bowlfuls... =)
 The recipe (for four):

1/3 cup whole grain jasmine rice
2/3 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cups water
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp dried shredded coconut 
1 tsp roughly chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh chives
zest of one lemon

+ Rinse the rice and place in a pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 45min. Remove from heat and place a clean kitchen towel between the lid and the pot and let sit for 15min before fluffing with a fork.
  Meanwhile combine the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl, and let wait until the rice is done (we went outside to play at this point).
  Combine the rice and the pea-coconut mixture, check for salt and serve. Beautiful.

  When Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen released their cookbook "It´s All Good" I decided  not to get it. I was sure the book would be full of complicated cooking techniques, and the recipes for cold-hearted carnivores.
  Time went on, and frequently I stumpled on people praising the book, and worshipping Ms.Paltrow´s cooking abilities. The book haunted me.
  A couple of months ago I ran into an article saying there are tons of vegan recipes and even a vegan eating plan in the book. Hmm.... Maybe I should get it just to check it out.
  And I did.
  "It´s All Good" has sat on my kitchen table for about three weeks now, in almost daily use, and I have tried out several vegan recipes from it. I have customized them to my liking, which means eating the grains cooked and veggies all raw. Impressive culinary experiences! So fresh, delightful, and flavorful. I must say I was so wrong thinking cooking by the book would be too much work for a lazy butt like me. The recipes really are simple to make, and most very filling (not only green leaves with a squirt of lemon juice to stay as thin as possible).

  My recipe on this post is originally the "Black Rice With Fresh Coconut" from "It´s All Good". But when I dag into my cupboards to make it, I could not find the exact (or not even very close =) ingredients for the recipe. None the less, the result was mouth watering, and definitely something I would not have come up with myself!

Monday, June 16, 2014


  Recently I have learned that raw fruits suit my digestion much better than raw vegetables. They also include much more energy (calories) than vegetables, so they can be eaten for a meal by themselves. At first I thought the idea sounded too calorific, but after a while I noticed that I can´t eat nearly as much as I thought I would have to, to stay satisfied. And my stomach has staid equally satisfied.  =)

  Here is my staple breakfast for this Litha:

A bowl of chopped fruit and a handful of chopped nuts. To drink I have plain green tea. All-I-can-eat style.
  Ingredients vary depending on what´s available, and what I crave. This is what I used to make the above:

The recipe (for one):

one banana
green grapes
a handful of pecans

+ Chop the fruit roughly, and the nuts finely. Combine and mix. Eat. Wow.

  Long time ago, ten years to be exact, when this fear of carbs was starting to spread, a friend of mine´s mom went on South Beach Diet. I visited them, and had not heard of low-carb eating before. I remember rolling my eyes when she explained to me about how she could now eat tons of cheese and meat, but no fruit or pasta, and lose weight. Her daughter, my friend, was also still a bit sceptical about it and asked "Have you ever heard of a person being fat for eating too much fruit?". I know I have not. That sentence came back to my mind now when first planning my fruit-boosted eating plan for Litha.
  I do not recall what the end result was for my friend´s mom. But I do know that we are all different, and each must find the way of eating for ourselves to feel and look good. They go hand in hand.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


  Both of my kids have too few summer clothes to wear (shame on me). I´m desperately trying to find the time to fill in the gap, and I can but wonder why sewing has to be sooooo time consuming...!

  Here is my two-year-old´s newest garment:

Still dodging pink, I chose this minty green-and-white-striped fabric. It is a little sporty even, and to steer the feeling of a tennis court away, I chose a model with a ruffled hem.  

This dress was a good ground to add these padded butterflies I got some time ago. (Yes, the same kind as in my own Lilac butterflies- outfit.) They are so girly and cute, who needs pink anymore?  =)

No gimmicks in the back, letting the butterflies on the sleeves be the focus.
A narrow cotton lace circles the very edge of the hem, again, to reduce sportiness. After all, this dress is for everyday wear, not sports events.
  It has been cool here lately. But now I feel like warm days should find our way, so I can adore my girl in her new dress!

Friday, June 13, 2014


  Eating simple and raw keeps fascinating me. I have tried many different ways of eating in the past, including petit macro and raw foods, and have found both good and bad in most. But none have felt perfect for me, so the search continues.

  I love carbs. Often I have been left craving for more carbs, and therefore indulged in generous amounts of chocolate in the evenings (I seriously wonder why I am not heavier than my current state!). So I figured incorporating more fruit and berries in to my diet might help fight the sugar cravings.
 I searched the net, and found banana diet and fruitarian diets, which both sound like the way I want to try next. Besides, what could be a better time to start eating more fresh produce than now, in the middle of summer?

  Here´s my own plan for this Litha:
green tea, plain
raw fruits and berries + handful of nuts/seeds
raw veggies + grains (this can be anything imaginable like salads, dips, sandwiches, pasta, brown rice, lettuce wraps, etc.)

green tea
raw fruits and berries + handful of nuts/seeds
dried fruit for dessert (to imitate the concentrated sugar I´m used to in chocolate :)

  I know if I followed this plan to the letter, I would never have to step on the scale again. But I take baby steps, and think of it like a guide map rather than a book of laws. And I do not want to upset my stomach by making too drastic changes!

  Delicious, energetic, and healthy midsummer to all!


Thursday, June 12, 2014


  The time has come to greet Litha again. Earlier this week I emptied my wardrobe of Beltane clothes, and replaced them with Litha ones. There are three outfits still missing, so I have my hands full trying to get them done!

  Meanwhile, nature is in it´s fullest green, and flowers are blooming everywhere. The nights are light and short, and I freaking love this time of year! It has started off pretty rainy this year, but none the less, it is midsummer!!!

  Here is a little something my eyes have feasted on in the past few days:

Three years ago I planted these rhododendron to our backyard just to see if they would survive. I´m no gardener, and I do not want to spend my time trying to keep reluctant plants alive. But these turned out more than willing to grow and bloom.

In fact I´ve never really even liked rhodos, but there is naturally good soil for them in the far corner of our yard, so why not? And now seeing them bloom this gorgeously, how could I not like them?!
In fact, I could watch this beauty year round!

And then it started to rain again... Too bad for a sun lover like me, but naturally good for the nature.

  I can´t believe it is midsummer next week! Yipee!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


  All five of my Beltane outfits are now pretty much completed. Here´s the whole collection at a glance:

"Outfit for a rainy day". The tunic is from last year, the pants... beige ones at least six years ago, and the green ones probably four. I found the green pair when digging through my closet, and added them here to give variety. The beginning of Beltane is still barren in nature, when the leaves and grasses have not yet begun to grow. That´s when the beige pair is more suitable. And once green spreads and takes over nature during the season, I can also switch to the green pants. =)
Green leafy aromatherapy earrings are perfect for this look!

"Lilac butterflies".
Lilac butterflies in aromatherapy earrings too.  =)
"Apple blossom- dress".

Drop-shaped silvery aromatherapy earrings.

"Teenage faery".

Bow and pearl, the very first type of aromatherapy earrings I created. Probably my most favorite still.

"Sleeping beauty" was the very first outfit in my Beltane collection. I made it two years ago, and have lost weight since. The pants became too large, so I gave them away. I did not have the time to make new ones this year, so the pants remain a project for next year. Sewing is time consuming...
"Pink rosy" aromatherapy earrings hit the nail to the head in this look!
  I feel like I´m quite well set for various occasions with this collection.
 Goodbye to not knowing what to wear!  =)

Friday, June 6, 2014


The fifth outfit for my Beltane wardrobe is inspired by butterflies and the color lilac. Why lilac, I do not know, but the feeling of it is strong, and has remained so since year 2000. Here´s to the wonder of early summer with all of it´s fluttering beauties:

A snug top with strongly cropped sleeves combined with really loose and wide-legged pants. Beltane is tricky, because in the beginning (mid/late April) it can be freezing cold, and in the end (early June) very hot. Therefore I compromised with the length of the sleeves. These pants are my modern, and practical, version of the ever-so-lovely pioneer skirts. (I do not understand how the ladies managed it with them piles of fabric down to their toes back then, but they sure were stylish!)

The sketch. This is probably the best place to see the makeup. It hardly ever shows well in my photos, but it is there, I swear, and even in lively colors. First soft, light green eyeshadow all over the moving lid plus all around the eyes, fading towards the eyebrow. Second to the lids, I apply purple to the outer 1/3 of the moving lid creating depth and giving definition to my otherwise light eyes. On the cheeks I dust muted, dark pink slightly to give a youthful glow, and then finish it all up with a coat of nude beige lipgloss.
It is important that the legs reach all the way, nearly, to the ground to give my legs length. An important little trick to perfect proportions...  =)

On the back there is an almost invisible, huge butterfly stitched straight onto the fabric with matching lilac thread. Yes, I know, it does not show at all in this picture. But this is just to show how subtle it is.

Here´s a better view of the butterfly. For some odd reason I had a big urge to apply it, and in maximum size. So I did, but muted the outlines to keep it more sophisticated. I think it makes a nice surprise for anyone who catches it. The shape of the butterfly comes from the earrings I wear with this outfit. I simply eyeballed the earrings when drawing their big "sister".
The butterflies in the front are more childlike, adding the feeling of wonder I experience each year seeing the world  burst into life on Beltane!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


  This dress finished only two days before the ultimate deadline, of schools ending for the summer, last weekend. But I did make it, and was so happy to wear it for the occasion!

How classic is this?! A floral print dress with a feminine ruffle across the hemline. I believe that in our modern society these days, it actually takes some guts and a good self-esteem to pull this off. That´s what "equality" between men and women has done... (Plus if asked of the men at my work, they´d say they really are equal to women - they get paid like women! Ha ha...)

When designing this dress, all I had written down for the fabric was "nature print". I found this floral jersey, which surprisingly resembles apple blossoms when glanced at quickly. Very suitable for Beltane. The tone is quite cool, but it matches the tones of a cloudy early summer day.

There is a bolero hidden in all the flowers. Totally handy during Beltane (in my calendar from mid April to early June), when on one day it is hot and on the next nearly freezing cold. I can take it or leave it according to the weather.

The dress fabric is so busy with all of it´s blossoms, that I wanted to leave the rest to the minimum. Makeup is cool-toned to match the dress of course. I used light olive green and blue-ish dark green eyeshadows and cool pink lipgloss. The only warmer color applied here is the muted earth-toned dark pink blush. I pulled my hair up for simplicity´s sake and for the 1940´s feeling I inevitably get from this look.

Can´t live without my aromatherapy earrings, so I chose these drop-shaped silvery ones for the look. Bows with pearls were also tempting, but too traditional for the dress. I don´t want to look like a grandma (yet =).

There is a resemblance to the real deal.

Holy moly do the blossoms smell nice!