Thursday, 31 October 2013

You can't rewind time

The obituary was published in the paper yesterday. Roses for dad's love of gardening (the programme leaflet for the funeral has apple blossom on it, perfect as dad grew many apple trees from seeds -- and managed to get a few trees with tasty apples, which is said to be very difficult due to most apples being hybrids today).

Still hard to believe it all, it's like dad is just still at hospital waiting to get better and come home as the days can feel so normal, so like what they always feel like, but all the practicalities surrounding the funeral makes it slowly sink in I think. Choosing songs and psalms is really sad as they're either very sad songs or they make me remember other funerals.

The church bells rang for dad last week, själaringning as it's called, and it's settled by the local rev that he will be included already in this year's all saints' day/Allhelgona service despite it being before the funeral. As is common here, the tacksägelse (thanksgiving) will be the first sunday after the funeral (in other parts of Sweden the ceremony of the priest naming the name of the deceased in the sunday service is done one week after the death) -- which just happens to be Father's Day in Sweden... Not that we've ever celebrated Father's and Mother's Day but still.

And, yes, I did get shop newsletters saying stuff like "what does your dad wish for", "your father will want this" and "the perfect presents for dad this year" just days after he passed away.

And to top it off, between today and the funeral is my birthday...

Yeah, autumn isn't as lovely and exuberant as it usually is.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Stormy weather -- the aftermath

Well, last night's storm really became all it was warned to be. We might be used to stormy weather during autumn and spring in this part of the country, but this was something exceptional. There's a weather station just off the coast, on the island of Hallands Väderö, and there they recorded winds at up to 42 metres per second (= proper hurricane winds) and for us personally, we took a worse beating than during the infamous storm Gudrun back in 2005. But we were still very lucky -- especially considering what happened with our trees.

All cats are fine, though irritated as we kept them in the whole day and night. Figge got back in before the storm arrived, but Mimi had managed to get out and she didn't return until the storm was over us, though she did have the good sense to run back and call for us to let her in before it reached its climax at least. It would've been really scarry to know any of our cats were out there when the trees started snapping....

[Once again, the colours in the photos look weird when I upload photos to Blogger. Some pics are worse than others. I uploaded the photos to Flickr too so you can see them there if you get as tired of the bad quality in in this blog post as I do. Confused about the name? This storm is called St Jude in Britain, but was named Simone in Sweden as it was her name day.]
As for the damage, first, a big chunk of the horse chestnut, brushing against the wall of the room my mom and I were in. Luckily, it didn't damage the wall nor the roof. We peered out through the window and while it was dark we could see it was a big branch, but it wasn't until today I saw just how big it was.

Perhaps an hour later I was with my sis in our house (the red one) and the storm reached its climax. Suddenly we hear a great thud and something hitting the wall, followed by the sound of falling glass shards. We got real worried as some of the cats like to sleep downstairs by the window, but luckily the branch had just shattered the outer glass pane. The cats downstairs were safe, albeit a bit scarred. After that we brought them all up and shut the door so they couldn't go close to the window. My sis but a board in front of her window, which is above the broken one, as she was scarred that something would fly through that one too.

It was the smaller horse chestnut that just snapped and took some of the ash tree with it.

That would be tough to move. Thank god for good neighbours with tractors: Johan cleared the drive for us in the morning so now we can get in and out. As for clearing everything up, it'll have to wait a little. Until then the cats love climbing on the new "cat furniture" (pic from after the neighbour and his son moved the big branches):

That was the most dramatic part of yesterday, the gigantic branches that just missed us. But it was of cause not the only damage.

Later in the evening, when the winds had subsided, we saw the neighbour (or rather the lights on his tractor) working by the road by Backen, our little coppice. Apparently, we saw today, two trees had fallen and one of them partially blocked the road. It doesn't look that bad in these pics as I took them today, after the canopies had been trimmed to clear the blockage.

That was the damage we could see or guess last night in the dark. Then today it was time to inspect the rest.

The first thing I spotted was the wonky arch, which we never got indoors. Luckily just tilted, not broken. Jisse (seen in the picture) is glad as the cats love to climb on it.

Then I inspected the old greenhouse, which dad had said for a year or two that he wanted to tear down and which we therefore haven't mended in years. Today it looked like this. A branch had fallen on the washing lines attached to the wall and apparently the lines were stronger than the wall.

Then second greenhouse is pretty much unharmed thanks to it being so low down, surrounded by young, strong trees. Just one broken pane, really.

But after getting back from the greenhouse, I saw something peculiar. Big chunks of cement or something behind the barn. Proper rubble that had to come from somewhere so I looked up... It's the old chimney (for venting the hayloft) that finally gave up. From the yard, you don't really see anything so it wasn't until I saw the chunks that I realised that half the chimney had collapsed.

As for the lands, well I assume some trees have fallen in Mossen, but we never looked. It wasn't too bad in the coppice. Just the two trees that fell towards the road and then another one. And one tree by Mossen had split. What we noticed the most when taking a walk to inspect the damages was the birds. They're audibly upset. Usually they don't "chat" much this time of the year, but the storm has probably disturbed countless nests and blown down many trees for them.

The rest of the gardens are pretty much ok. Just a few small trees that's been knocked over, bent down or broken. Nothing that can't easily be mended and no really valuable trees like the walnut tree dad grew from a nut or the apple trees he bought just this and last summer (which he never got to see bear fruit).

All in all, we were lucky if anything that has happened to us this horrible, shitty month can be seen to have positive sides. It could've been much worse, we were lucky the branched that snapped weren't larger and that the wind came from the south rather than the west as that helped blowing the trees away from the buildings. Nothing of great value was harmed nor was any person or cat.

But I dearly hope we won't get a storm like that again for decades!

Footnote: So why were there garden furniture outside when we knew a big storm was coming? That's stupid! Well, eh, we kind of forgot about that. Got other things to worry about right now, you know. Just remembered smaller stuff like buckets and flower pots. But the thing is, we live in the countryside with some distance to the neighbours so if anything had happened it would only hurt us. Not like in more urban areas where everyone else might have to suffer because one neighbour is too lazy or just forget to secure loose items.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Rostan died (and a storm is coming)

What a crappy autumn it's turning out to be. Amidst trying to accept what's happened with dad and planning for the funeral, one of our cats died this night. Rostan was old and not in the best of health, but it's still very sad. It all took a turn for the worst pretty fast, she was fine just the other day, so at least she didn't have to suffer too much I hope.

Rostan just came to us one day and refused to really let us go after that. She haven't been with us since she was born like the rest of our cats and she's probably had more than our home to go to as she was gone for long periods before returning again, especially during the summers, but of cause we still feel sad about what happened. When she first got here we figured she was more old than young so to speak and we never knew if she was planning on staying or how long she had left, not knowing what her life and health had been before finding us. You can read her story here.

And as for the big storm, we just got upgraded from a class 2 warning to a class 3, the highest one there is, but since we've known about the impending storm since yesterday we've taken precautions and we are doing our best to keep the cats in. Unfortunately, Figge ran out so we just hope he returns before  the storm hits us. They say it'll hit Halland the hardest so with a bit of luck we won't get the worst part of it. My main worry, apart from the big trees that stand pretty close to the house, is the safety of the cats and we really, really don't want them to be outdoors today even if they get frustrated by being locked in. They might find a hole in the ground or a barn to hide in, but I know from experience how worrying it is to know one or more of your cats are out there in a storm, not knowing if they're safe or not and not knowing if they've been trapped by something. Just wish it was possible to tell the cats that there's a really bad storm coming so they would understand why we keep them indoors against their will and so they would want it themselves...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rest in peace, daddy

This morning the doctors switched off the machines and my dad will now never wake up again. It was the end of the road, there was nothing more to do and his body was too damaged from lack of oxygen and every possible drug the doctors could find in their attempts to save him.

It feels like Friday was weeks ago. We've spent most of the time at the hospital seeing how things kept going back and forth. Every good piece of news about a small progress was followed by bad news some hours or a night later. At two points we were warned that he might not survive what had to be done and both times he stayed with us. But in the end, despite a -- against all odds -- successful attempt to open him up again, something happened last night and his circulation never really got better, depriving his body and not least his brain of oxygen at the same time as his organs were getting worn down from the ordeal. The doctors informed us early this morning that there was nothing more they could do, only shorten the mental torture of waiting and getting nothing by bad news getting worse and worse by taking the decision to switch off the machines. There was nothing left. At that point dad had been heavily sedated since the weekend and thus not feeling anything when his breathing stopped in his sleep.

I still can't really grasp the fact that he's dead, he's never coming back. It's been such a roller-coaster ride from better to worse to better to worse since that phone call on saturday morning. I just want to sleep and wake up, finding it was just a bad dream. When dad first got ill some years ago it was a wakeup call making me realise my parents are mortals and they aren't getting younger, but it still felt like something to worry about first many years into the future: dad is still just 72. That's no age today. It's just so not right that he, who was so active and never smoked or was a couch potato, got so ill to begin with. Others his age are still vital and full of energy.

No, in a way I don't think this will really hit me until the funeral. Right now it's all just confusion with a day that seem like every other day if I look out the window or switch on the computer/telly or hug the cats -- but then again it isn't. It's a horrible day that's changed something forever. And it can't be rewound or undone.

It's unreal and horrible and so hard to get into my head.

On a practical note, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have written and a special thanks to Allie (I've read it, but please forgive that I not yet feel well enough to write you back -- I will soon). I'll take some time off now, which means I'll probably read blog comments and e-mails at some point, but will probably not write back in my upset state. Perhaps I'll read blogs and pin just to get my mind of things, but I won't be very mentally present so please bare with me. Soon we'll need to take care of the practicalities and it might deepen my sorrow as it really sinks in. Writing helps me a lot, but not all is suitable for a blog, especially now before everyone has been informed (my aunt is informed, my poor aunt who lost her father in the 50's, her sister in cancer in the 60's, her mother in the 70's, her husband a few years ago followed by the death of a dear neighbour and now her baby brother too).

I don't know what to say or do. Right now I just want to go to sleep and wake up and everything will be back to normal. But I know it won't.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Long day at the ICU -- and it's not over yet

Right now I'm really hoping our relatives and friends of the family doesn't know about my blog because what I'm about to tell you is nothing they've yet been told. Why? Well, frankly because at the moment we can't cope with the questions and worries they will have. But having no close friends, I just have to talk to someone, even if it means just writing it down.

Yesterday, my dad had to go to the ER after a night of vomiting, which also finally resulted in a fall from the bed as he tried to get up, way too weakened by the sickness (and a background of weak muscles after his last bout of illness). At the ER, they discovered a severe case of ileus -- something he's had issues with before but never this bad -- that required emergency surgery or he would not survive it. Very bad, but still it seemed ok as it was discovered and he was in surgury.

At 4:30 (AM) we got a call. Never a good sign. I was a sleep, but my sis had heard the phone and I woke seeing here in the lit doorway saying "they say it's much worse than initially thought" and that we had to go to the hospital immediately. A lot of thoughts race through your head in such a time, especially the one obsessive thought I often have about people undergoing more or less complicated surgery in general: he's going to d** (I can think that word, but never say it and writing is saying). You can think that quite a lot of time on the hour drive to the hospital, an hour that felt like seven.

At arrival, the man at the ICU told us that about half an hour before our arrival dad was showing signs of improvement, but at the time they called us the honestly feared they were losing him. However, all is not over. On the time we spent there, some things improved slightly, but it's still very, very critical. The next 24 hours will determine if he'll make it through. They said that at 6 this morning so there's still time left.

After discussing with our mom, my sis and I got home to feed the cats (trapped indoors, but with some dry foods and water) and generally just try to calm down. Still critical so one one hand the exhaustion of the long day makes my body and brain scream for bed and telling me sitting in a "next of kin room" isn't helping my dad (he's heavily sedated) -- and on the other I feel awful for not being their in case -- every fibre in the universe forbid -- he gets worse again.

Just got home perhaps and hour ago and the head is buzzing, the stomach turning upside down and my legs shaking as it has since 4:30. Mom will call if something happens and I doubt I'll be sleeping for another 16 hours unless from pure exhaustion.

Asking for positive thoughts and prayers feel strange, partly because I'm not religious and don't believe in it in that way, but who am I to say directing positive energy towards a person isn't useful. I'll try anything for family members in need of it. If you could find it in your heart to do this for my dad I'd be ever so thankful.

This is all so unreal. And so unlike previous visits to the ER because even at its worst when it was very close, it was just close and never felt like it could end really, really bad as this can. This can't be the end! I can't allow it to be the end! Dad is very, very critical but surely being stable at that level is a good-ish sign, right? It might sound odd as I can constantly think about the result being the worst and think about practical things it would involve, but at the same time it's kind of not sunk in. It wasn't until writing those last sentences that I shed my first tears over this. It's all just so awful, so terrible wrong and unreal. I want to sleep it off, I think that's what my head is trying to say rather than I need sleep due to exhaustion, but the thing is... I also know that when I wake up tomorrow it won't just have been a bad dream. It's happening here and now, whether I'm down in Helsingborg seeing it or not.

If you excuse, I'm going to go hid in my bed now, hugging as many cats as I can find.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Weaving beats wheels in my book

You know how a lot of people will tell you the wheel was the greatest invention (though some will agree it was not much use without the invention of the axis)? Well, I think one of the greatest inventions of mankind was weaving. With weaving (and braiding/knotting, which is related), we could suddenly make all sorts of things: baskets, chair seats, fabrics, nets, sails, latticework for fences and walls, sieves, ribbons, rugs, bags etc etc. Even birch bark shoes. First perhaps things of function, of great importance in daily life, but humans being humans we also started to create things of beauty -- not just beauty in function or functional design but in pure aesthetics. With the technology and art of weaving, people could make everything from woven jewellery and hair braids for personal adornment to essential everyday items to cool artwork.

In a way, I'm in love with weaving, adore it and am fascinated with how it can be so, so simple and so, so complex -- despite once having to solva, string the warp threads into the heddles on a large  loom, in school (it's perhaps the most boring part of weaving) as a kid and then never getting to test it. In the syslöjd (approx. needlecraft class) room at school, the loom mostly, well, loomed in a dark corner, rarely being used by the pupils. Perhaps partially because it's time-consuming to set up and usually you let kids weave a bit, creating e.g. a placemat, one after the other so kids couldn't take their piece home until all the pupils have done their bit and the warps could be cut off. Or maybe the grown ups were tired of the, at that time, subsiding weaving fad.

I'm too young to remember the weaving craze of the 60's and 70's when weaving suddenly became cool again with the new "hippie" ideologies of counter urbanisation, anti-corporate ideals, eco-friendliness and an a renewed interest in traditional handicrafts. At that time, many so called vävstugor, weaving cottages, were created were people who couldn't afford or didn't have the room for large heddle looms could come and weave. Today there are more than 600 such vävstugor in Sweden with more than 6000 looms.

But despite that impressing figure, the interest in looms have declined or at least it did in the 80's and 90's when I grew up. Just a few years ago, it would be easy to find looms for free as people who inherited them just wanted to get rid of them -- for lack of interest in weaving or lack of space. "Take it or it's off to the tip with it", they'd say. We got a (professional) loom from an old woman that used to work for the Märta Måås-Fjetterström studio that my dad reclaimed for the top-quality wood. Ok, it wasn't in pristine condition, but even if it had been, she or her family would've found it hard to find anyone willing to take it and keep it as a loom.

But growing up in an age where weaving was kind of outdated as a craft, I still do have a few connections to the art and craft of loomwork that might've subconsciously affected my views of weaving. First of all, we've probably all played with little cardboard weaves in preschool, weaving with  Secondly, anyone involved in hemslöjd (traditional [domestic] handicrafts) will tell you Sweden has a long and strong weaving tradition, it's part of our cultural heritage, but most of all I live in an area where women in the old days often worked as weavers at one point or another in their lives. We still have two very different types of weavers left: the linen weaving mill in Boarp and the older and more famous studio of Märta Måås-Fjetterström. One of our neighbours, who passed away many years ago, used to be a weaver as was the weaver of another later neighour of ours. My mom used to help an elderly woman, the one mentioned above, who was a weaver and even had her own loom, a gift from the former employer upon retiring if I remember correctly. And, even closer to me, my aunt was once a weaver at the famous Märta Måås-Fjetterström studio. She still has a big (expensive) carpet from that time in her home -- and we have a small tapestry, probably meant to be a cushion, of the same make.

I don't know if it's directly affected me, but seeing not only woven objects but also the traces of the weavers and tools more or less everyday must have made me aware of the beauty and necessity of weaving, consciously or unconsciously.

The Märta Måås-Fjätterström studio in Båstad

Now, while "large scale" weaving on a proper loom (i.e. big heddle loom) is something I can admire others' work with, I'm not even tempted to try it myself. Personally, I'm more interested in working on the smaller scale, weaving ribbons (without a loom), working with small DIY looms using all sorts of mixed fibres, novelty yarn and unconventional materials (see the pinboard above for examples of that), having fun with these looms, giving the bead loom a new chance -- the latter is something that I've been especially interested in after seeing work using other beads than the traditional seed bead, spotting the Mirrix bracelets mixing fibre and beads and finding Erin Simonetti's blog.

I've got a soft spot for yarns, threads and fibres in general but try not to becomes as obsessed with that as with beads as it could end up being very expensive... Weaving, embroidery and jewellery-making are all great crafts that give me excuses for buying new fibres and lend themselves to a lot of experiments with said fibres.

While my book stash is vast, I've never really bough any books about weaving -- with one exception: a tiny  60's or 70's book on weaving on small DIY looms that I got at the library sale  (the annual "buy it before we throw it in the incinerator" drive). It was a few years ago when my interest in weaving hadn't bloomed yet and I just happened to stumble upon this thin book and thought it might be useful for future beading experiments. At the same library I once borrowed a jewellery-making book which included some less than conventional woven projects using e.g. leather cord, shards of bricks (!) and copper wire. It was called Smycka dig, out of print since ages. On of the co-authors also wrote this book with even more unconventional materials called Väv som aldrig förr.

As for books to buy, there aren't really many on my wishlist at the moment. Mostly find inspiration online and techniques either online, in my library book or through trial and error. I've thought about Time to Weave as works like this one (page 7 of the preview, sorry found no diret link) really catches my eye and is about the modern, non-traditional but still simple weaving I could see myself doing. As for beading on a loom, I've looked at Alexandra Kidd's book a few times because it includes weaving with not just seeds (love the texture in the bag on the cover), but never figured out if I'd find it worth the money or not.

But for me, experimenting with weaving is not about either doing a woven piece or do bead looming, it's also about adding it to the things I want to try in order to create fun and original surfaces for my bead (and thread) embroidery. Having a limited fabric stash, I've though about painting, dyeing (scratched that out and went back to painting), adding texture like this or this, making tissue paper fabrics or napkin decoupage on fabric, doing something cool like this -- or weave ribbon/fabric strips like this.

But, all urges to weave aside, I'll probably first and foremost always be an admirer of the work made by others. And I hope to always be able to see beauty and admire the invention of weaving even in the most mundane of everyday objects. Weaving as the magic that turns threads, birch bark strips, straws, rags, ribbons and everything else into everything from useful and essential objects to pure eye-candy artwork.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photos of the week

I had something different planned for today, but.... Well, time flies and I didn't get those pics ready. Instead I just have to show you this pics I took today. I know, I know: I should be scolding the cats for sitting on the road, but I just found the looks on their faces so funny. They were crossing the road with me as I was going to the other side to take some photos when our neighbour came walking. Our neighbour since forever, which the cats can see walking by almost daily and has never been anything by kind to them, but still this was their reaction to her. I know total strangers they've acted less scared in front of (but, ok, that's often because they come in a car and our cats love new cars to jump up on). She wasn't even that close when the photo was taken, perhaps 15 metres away.

Well, at least she got the cats away from the road faster than I could...

Jeez, just look at Jinja:

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Two sunsets

I'm still culling photos. Right now I'm at 32 pics, which is still too much for a post, but then again I could write more than one post. However, until I've finished selecting and editing those autumn colour photos you can make due with these two of two rather different sunsets. Or, well, evenings as you don't even see the sun in the one above.

Still not gotten used to how early the sun sets nowadays so I often miss the sunsets as I'm on the computer around the time it's disappearing...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Autumnal giveaway at Tree Wings Studio

Autumn is beautiful. Today the sun is shining down on the colourful aronia bushes and trees from a blue sky -- and yesterday I found these sweet little critters in my blog feed. And, lucky for us, Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio is giving them away! I mostly share giveaways/challenges/contests via Pinterest, but these are something special worth mentioning here too in case someone reads this blog but not follows me on Pinterest.

If you love her polymer clay work you might also be interested in knowing that she's having an autumn sale too at the moment.15 % off through monday, 14/10 (which is also the last day of the giveaway).

Read all about the sale and giveaway in her blog.

Friday, 11 October 2013

The old newbie box

I recently picked down this box from the top of the cabinet and dusted it off. It's been a long time since I was even near it. The last time I handled it, it was only to put it away.

So what is it then? You might guess from what you can see in it (and even more from the name of this post). It's a box of some of my first jewellery, much of the stuff I made during the first couple of years. Some of it I'm still proud of, some is very average, some is nice and some of it is just plain awful or embarrassing now that I can see weaknesses and lack of skills that I couldn't when I made the pieces (and were proud of them). Just like it should be in many ways: the box illustrate my learning curve, the different materials and techniques I explored and some of my creative ideas and playful challenge entries.

But I didn't just pull this box out for the nostalgia. Facing this mess of jewellery of various quality, the question I ask myself is: should I keep all this or should I take some of the weaker and/or less important pieces apart?

Now, I'm one of those people that tell new beaders to keep all their finished pieces so they can use them to see their progress, which is hard to do without concrete examples from different stages in the journey. If not possible to keep a piece, then at least document it by taking photos and saving in a folder for the same reason.

But how much is useful to save and how long is it useful to save it? I mean, some pieces are very important to me as the are the result of something important I learned. The first bead-woven piece, the first advanced wirework piece, that piece that made it feel like I'd found my style, the first piece to win a prize in a contest or challenge, the first piece with an advanced design made 100 % by me and so on. And to that can be added pieces that have special memories attached, the result of a fun bead forum challenge or a piece I made for a special occasion (like the Charred tears necklace I made after one of our cats died).

I should perhaps also add that this box do not include my favourite pieces that I wear now and then, it's just the "leftovers" so to speak. And the forgotten pieces -- I did for example find a pair of earrings I'd totally forgotten about even though I was so pleased with them back when I made them! Which tells me I really need to go through this box and sort out more favourites that deserve a better place.

But the question remains what to do with the rest. Keep it in the box as memories? Take them apart and reuse or destash the beads (still have photos of most)? Back in the box of out of the dusty, partially forgotten box for good? Of cause, it's matter of looking at each piece and decide: a keeper or a source of beads for a new project?

I have no idea how many pieces I can bare to take apart. It's normally not something I enjoy, but I do also realise that I can't keep everything, especially if it's just to sit there in a box totally forgotten and only seen by the occasional invading spider. These are often pieces that aren't good enough to give away to whomever wants it despite any flaws or weak designs -- and definitely not good enough to put up for sale should I finally take the step to sell my work. So there are just two options, to keep or to take a deep breath and tell myself it's ok because now the beads can be used for better pieces.

Maybe I end up finding reasons to save each and every pieces seen in these pics, but even when first opening the box I saw a few pieces that made me cringe and think they were a waste of good (or at least ok) beads. There should be a reason for saving something, just as there should be a reason for not doing it. It's a bit daunting and I have very mixed feelings just sitting here writing about it, but I think in the end this is a good thing to do.  Even if I end up putting everything back or if I fight my feelings of guilt about taking a couple of the pieces apart for something new (or for giving away/selling). *sigh*

It's funny how I, upon taking the box down, was so set on culling the "collection" and how the thought now makes me so hesitant. The thought of taking apart some pieces that I don't like and barely even remembered that I had, pieces that I, in some cases, didn't even like when they were made. Harder to let go than I thought...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Aronia in the autumn

Well, I've got 176 autumn photos, mainly of leaves, but didn't have time today to got through them and pick out which ones to post so I ended up just picking one -- of aronia with its beautiful, beautiful leaf colours -- to play with in the photo editing software. I call it höstmys which might have been the name of the post too if I knew how to translate that into english.

And on that same theme, I'm spending time adding some photos to my Candlelight and light ideas pinterest board. Mainly candles, including some creative hand-dipped branch candles. So check it out if you too need some candlelight now that the sun sets so early (yeah, I know, don't remind me that it's still late as the sun sets after 6 o'clock unlike in midwinter...).

Monday, 7 October 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photos of the week

I was planning to skip the Meowy Monday post today as it's such a dull day you just want to stay in bed, or rather -- considering I managed to get up earlier today -- get back into bed as fast as possible. Yesterday I got photos of brilliant autumn leaves bathing in sun, today it's just wet and grey. Autumn sure changes quickly -- luckily, it changes back to those beautiful sunny days too. It's not november yet. And grey doesn't have to be too bad: I got a few more photos today and captured colours just as pretty as yesterday.

Yesterday, how ever, I also caught Mimi on camera as she started follow me around while I was taking photos. Had a bunch of other cats with me first when I was in the garden, but when going down to the greenhouse it was instead Mimi that that tagged along.

Being in a very playful mood she ran around, hit me in the face with her paw, stretched against trees -- and, finally, zoomed up the greenhouse room. Have no idea how a cat can scale a greenhouse that quickly! She was as fast as lightning, getting up there.

Of cause, roof ridges are the places for washing yourself if you're a cat. Even if the space isn't much wider than you and washing means having to move from one slightly unstable position to another. (Now you might say "well, they're cats, they're good at this sort of things", but I think all cat owners have seen their cats trying to lick themselves sitting somewhere stupid, resulting in hilarious falls. Hilarious for the humans, that is -- especially if it's being filmed.)

Friday, 4 October 2013

You know you're a beader when...

... you have the nightmare I just had last night. Now, I don't normally chat about my dreams, but this one was sort of fun in retrospect. Or weird depending on if you are (or understand) a beader or not.

It was a simple, short dream/nightmare. It all started with me coming home only to realise that someone had broken into the house. The thieves had gotten in through the door to the "bead room" and had taken all my beads and the cabinet with all my paints. Probably also my tools and fabric and yarn stash, but I don't know as I was so upset by the loss of the beads. It was horrible, like the worst thing imaginable. And here's the thing: they'd only entered the bead room and taken my whole bead stash. Nothing else. The other rooms where fine and not one other thing was taken. But they'd taken my beads! My stash that I've been gathering for years and which mainly is made up of modern seed beads and czech beads, but also include some unique vintage beads, antique 30/0 seeds, unusual pendants and hard-to-find components. It was such a nightmare. I'd been less upset if they'd taken the telly, computer and credit card! I was really grieving the loss of the beads. Completely forlorn.

And then I woke up, happily realising it was just a dream and that I still have my precious collection of beads in the room below. So relieved!

Now, in retrospect I have to wonder what kind of thieves steal acrylic paints and glass beads but not flat-screen tellies, jewellery and money/credit cards. Not that we have much fancy stuff or expensive jewellery, but even a stupid thief would surely nick a gold-plated necklace thinking it was precious metal rather than stack up on craft supplies, right? In fact, I've even thought for myself that I'm not afraid of burglars because they would never understand the value of my bead stash (which is the most valuable thing I own pretty much) and thus leave it alone. But maybe there are burglars who bead or just have learned to spot an expensive finish on Delicas and identify fancy vintage swarovski crystals? I hope not!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Copper and lime/chartreuse

I don't know... am I weird for loving this colour combo? I know I have a couple of colour combos that no one seems to like as much as I do. This might be one of them -- or is there others out there that likes this too?

It's especially the mix of coppery autumn leaves and yellow-green foliage as you can see in these pics of wild strawberry plants and fallen horse-chestnut leaves. There's just something about the brilliance of the colours that I fall for even if such bright lime/chartreuse colours, almost neon at times, isn't usually my cup of tea (OT: I don't like tea so tea isn't my cup of tea either). Perhaps it's the environment in which I find these colours that does it. The garden when summer turns into autumn with leaves often bright and crisp as they've been washed by a rain shower or covered by dew after a cold night. Add to that the warm light from a sun that sets early -- now more to the west than during summer and thus in a straight angle to the garden.

This isn't a new thing either, not a sudden love of an eye-catching colour that'll fade as fast as it came (as my current interest in neon pink -- have suddered at the mere mentioning of neon, but loved them as a kid and kind of fell in love with that crazy colour again when neon came into fashion again). This is something I've been thinking of and enjoyed taking photos of for several years now -- see e.g. this post and others tagged autumn. But still I've probably never used the colour combo in my works. Probably because I worry about not finding the right beads, that the colours won't have the crisp vibrance they have in the leaves around the farm.

Alas, I just have to mention that there's a sad thing about these photos. Had I taken them these few last weeks it'd would've been nothing but lovely autumn photos, but they're taken on july 25th. In the middle of the summer our beautiful, big horse chestnut tree looked like this:

Half the tree never even got leaves this spring and the half that did started shedding them way too early. I so hope it isn't really diseased and have to come down. There's been something afflicting horse chestnut trees around the country for some years now and I hope this isn't it. I'd cry seeing this tree being cut down. It's always been there in the middle of the garden for as long as I can remember. Not an ideal climbing tree, we still tried to climb up it several times. We've played around it and gathered conkers and leaves every autumn when we were kids. It's not the farm's vårdträd ("warden tree"), I'd say the ash by the road is that, but it's still one of two remaining big trees in the garden (the other being the much older ash, the third used to be the century-old pear tree that snapped in a storm years ago and which is now but a stump though still alive). I just wish it has many more years left to live. It'd leave a big empty space behind if it died, not just literally in the garden but in my heart. I love our big, old trees.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The bead budget rant

Ok, so now that I'm well again I can afford to complain about my illness or rather what it did to my wallet. Now, first of all consider yourself warned after my use of the words 'rant' and complain': this is a somewhat whiny post. Short but whiny and full of self pity.

The frustrating part for me right now is that I have to completely redo my personal budget and plans on shopping this autumn as the cost of both Ubbi's and my illness (doctor/vet visits + meds) came out of my bead budget (which some of you at least knows only is refuelled when I have my seasonal job during spring and summer). Now, one could say I've got a lot of stuff already and it might just be good to dive into the stash and work with what you have, but you do need a little injection of new stuff every now and then -- and sometimes you need something specific for some projects, something you can't substitute. And add to that that there are things I've planned on buying for a long time, which makes me a bit disappointed now that I'm not sure I can afford it anymore. And I wanted to buy the new swarovski pearls because, you know, purple.

Just to taunt me, I got a sale catalogue from Panduro while ill. Gah, interesting bits and bobs for really reduced prices. (Though I rarely order because of the shipping costs anyway so my dented bead budget has little to do with my "torment" over whether to shop or not in this particular case).

So while I'm happy that both Ubbi and I have recovered and you can't put a price on that (it wasn't super expensive anyway, just felt like it because my budget is so very tight), I do feel somewhat down about what it did to my bead budget (not just beads despite the name, obviously, it also includes tools, embroidery supplies, paints etc). I'm an addict, I always want more and find it hard to resist a lot of things. It can be frustrating to have an idea, but having to stop halfway because there's something missing you can't buy. Saving up to buy something later is a real treat and so now it feel a bit like I've been cheated on a promised treat.

Of cause there's still a bit of the budget left (I think), but right now I'm feeling sorry for myself and see more of what I've lost and less of what I still have left. It'll change and I know how to live on a small budget even when it unexpectedly gets smaller, but I've had some big expenditures these last couple of months and it'll just take a little time to get passed the feeling of money just pouring out of the wallet. Just need to rant a little, vent it so I can get it out of the system and move on.
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