Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The last light of the year, and a wish for the year to come

I haven't blogged much this year, but of cause I have to return with the traditional new year's eve post. I'll be the sixth year now that I do this photo post, the posts from the previous years can be found here.

Unfortunately, unlike during the first years of this tradition, the weather hasn't been on our side. We got frost on boxing day and then some light snow after that, but then it started thawing again and today it's just been grey, wet and foggy. Hopefully the pics won't be too dark and dull. Was aiming for for the serene and melancholic, though you might have to be a fellow november child to really enjoy these silent, fog veiled winter landscapes. (Even I prefer the fog and rain to end with november, though, so the winter months can be white. Frost white or snow white, either is fine, it just has to be white. You need something that lights up the short, dark days.)

One a positive note, though, the warm winter means you can get som fairytale/troll forest pics even after autumn. And it makes those pretty little snowberries more visible.

Last year, I ended the new year's post with a long wish, coloured by what happened in my life. Though aiming for a positive wish, in a way the darkness in the heart that wished it shone through. It reflected perhaps more the lack of direction in my life and the negativity in my mind than anything else. It was a wish for others in my situation and not perhaps for everyone. This year, I'll just cut out the most positive bit for you, in a slightly new version:
So my new year's wish for you is thus: May 2015 be a year filled with dreams that come true, happiness, adventures, courage and many new opportunities. May you wander along your path in life, your north star to follow, be it one you're already on or a new one that is just found. May you create and thrive and grow. 

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

God jul! Merry christmas!

My blog hiatus has lasted longed than planned and I still haven't really gotten the motivation and spare time to blog back, but of cause I have to pop in and wish you all a lovely holiday. It looks like it'll be another christmas without snow here, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of you who are longing for a white christmas.

And I'll end this short post the same way I did last year:

I wish you all a God Jul, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 
May you all have a joyous and peaceful holiday 
together with the ones you love.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Just a short note

I thought I had to just write something short to explain why not much new is popping up on this blog this autumn. Have mentioned it in a comment here or on another blog, but might as well tell you all.

First I didn't blog because I was under the weather with all that's happened these last 12 months -- and now I don't blog because I'm spending the mornings working on one of those unemployment activities one sometimes end up in. It's not easy getting up early in the mornings when you're a night owl -- and then I have a relatively long walk to the bus so I end up being a tad tired when I get home. And, also, there's less time for me to be on the computer blogging now that I don't get home until 14 o'clock every day. E-mails, catching up on blogs etc I follow and writing for my other blog takes precedence, unfortunately.

So, to conclude, I haven't abandoned this blog for ever, nor am I not writing here because I'm still feeling down or am stuck in dark and dreary mood. It's mostly a matter of time now. Hopefully I'll soon get used to my new schedule and find room for blogging too. (But then again, I keep saying stuff like that all the time and then things get in the way and I end up not blogging much anyway...)

Because I haven't shared anything silly our cats have done in ages, here's a pic for you to play "where's the cats?" with. That's Julle next by the door, but what do you think of Ubbi's new best spot for an afternoon nap? (Pic's from september: it's been a bit too cold and rainy lately so he prefers the bed now. And, yes, it's easy for him to get to his napping place, but it's been difficult for him to get back in the same way -- not that that stopped him from jumping up there again the next day.)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Flower bead photo

Ok, I can't just keep blogging about negative things (be it stuff that's happened, my mood or accidents like today) so to balance it up a bit today, here's a pic of some autumnal flower beads.

Colours are amber, crystal champagne, smoke topaz and aqua celsian (at least I'm 99 % sure of that last one). I've had these beads for some years now and it was probably two years ago that I put the mix together -- or, to be precise, added the aqua/teal beads to the other beads, which I bought at the same time. It's probably about time I use the mix soon, don't you think?

Cats, beads and cameras -- not a good combination!

Many things have kept me from the blog since I said I was back. Today I tried to shape up and focus on my blogs by taking some bead photos I've been meaning to get done for ages. Now that my other blog is back on schedule, I can't keep postponing it.

Unfortunately, if you sit outdoors taking photos because of the good light here, you will attract cats -- something I wrote about in this post (with pics of how it can look). Today I attracted Mimi and Figge. Mimi and photo set-ups are like moths and lamps -- she just have to get into them and sit in them! -- so I did my best to keep her and her dirty little paws as far away as possible. Which meant trying to make her lie down on the other side of the table. But while I was taking photos, she saw an opportunity to edge closer and closer. Finally, she was so close she bumped my set-up (one of these) when sitting down. You know, in that way cats do when they're offended because you don't focus on them when they want you to. Now that wasn't too much of a problem: I'm used to it and held on to the set-up.

No, the problem was when I had taken my last photo and was getting ready to turn off the camera and put all the beads back. I looked down at the camera for a few seconds -- seconds Mimi used to headbutt the lightweight plastic set-up off the table, spreading my little beads (silky beads, 4 mm cubes, 6/0s and 9/0s) on the old and dirty cracked concrete "terrace" where I was sitting. Well, not just on it: I was sitting by the edge so some beads probably fell down below -- in a field of weed, nettles and Himalayan balsam. Gaaah!

We're not going into what carefully chosen words I screamed... After banging me fist in the table, which achieved nothing but hurting my hand. Not even a satisfying loud bang. And my hand still hurts now, hours later...

Anyway, I managed to rescue most of the beads. Four silky beads are still lost as are two 4 mm lavender cube beads and an unknown, but luckily small, amount of the seeds.

I really like being able to sit outdoors, taking bead photos, as the light is better than anything I have indoors, but it sure does have its drawbacks... (For another -- not cat related -- example of this, see this post I wrote in 2010.)

So not a disaster, but it still feels like I'm having a Tycho Brahe day as I've had computer problems the rest of the afternoon. Really frustrating, headache-inducing software crashing type of problems. To top it all off, I accidentally deleted a browser add-on I find really useful when I was planning on removing another, which I suspect is causing the browser to run slowly and crash. And now I can't find it again.The computer mouse is just this far from being put in a meat grinder as it's getting inpossible to left click without it either interpreting it as a double (or triple) click or no click at all. This is the problem with living in the countryside: I can't just pop in to the nearest store to pick up a new one and ordering online cost money for shipping and take days. It just keeps getting better and better...

So a lot of time and energy focused on stuff like that instead of on blogging, editing photos etc. Still, hope to be able to show some pics soon and get back into blogging. It's also the reason why I haven't had much time to answer comments and e-mails these last couple of weeks.

Saturday, 30 August 2014


We'll... First I say I'm back blogging -- and then I don't say anthing more for days? I was planning of posting more, but I got a call wednesday evening asking if I could work thursday-friday and so I've had to get up early, which I don't enjoy, to pick potatoes from 7 Am to 4 PM, which left me tired with sore back and leg muscles. So not much time spent online these last few days as I've pretty much come home, found something to eat and then fall asleep.

But I thought I'd just post a glimpse of the autumn pinboard mentioned in the last post. (Should perhaps point out that "autumn poetry" isn't a translation of höstmys, it's just two different autumnal words I put together when naming the board.) Before, autumn has mostly been about trees and nature so all autumn related pins ended up in the tree and flower pinboard, but this time I started thinking about all that's great about autumn and felt I just have to collect it all in a dedicated pinboard -- books, warm drinks, open fires, cozy blankets, warm socks, apple picking, leaves, october dew and november frost.

It was actually after starting to think about buying a new pair (over) knee socks that I finally created the board -- and hence why one of the first pins included some warm purple socks. Nothing makes you feel better on a cold, wet day than warms socks and fluffy blankets. The winter before last, I picked up a pair of over knee socks, which I've never owned before and loved how great it was to use long socks during winter, when wearing skirts can be a bit chilly. So this winter I, at times, kept my eyes open for another pair of cheap knee socks, but the once I wanted were sold out, and then it got warmer and I forgot about it. Until it got so cold and rainy now in august. Last weekend I had to put on the long socks as it was getting too cold for short skirts, but my long skirts were all in the laundry basket. It was so cozy to sit with warm socks on my feet and wrapped in a blanket, reading comics (can't read Tolstoy and Bronte all the time) with lit candles around the room, that I started thinking about getting more long socks and warm winter socks now that it got so cold. And that helped me get into that "cold months are cozy" mood.

I am looking forward to autumn now -- even more once I decide on which warm socks to buy -- and hopefully it'll start showing on the blog once the leaves start turning and the apples need picking. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

After rain

Several times have I though about sitting down and writing a new blog post, but every time something has failed me. I haven't abandoned this blog, but ever since Knatti's death I haven't been in the mood to write. For one reason or another, it hasn't been the same reason every day. I've felt drained, my mind has been unhappy, laced with guilt and worries [which is what I'll call it for the sake of this blog].

It was like everything that's happened since last august piled up and Knatti was the final straw. I just couldn't find the energy for things, not for making nor for writing anything (including replies on the kind comments I got from blog readers on that last post before disappearing off the blog). Then came the extremely hot days of July that drained my body rather than my mind -- sunny summer days are lovely, but it was too hot for me. I tried several times to jump start my creativity. Usually it's just a matter of getting started, gaining momentum and then the enthusiasm takes over, rekindle the passion. But this time, it didn't really work. I haven't even picked up my camera very often, which has usually been a way of battling creative ruts with its instant satisfaction and motivation to go for walks, get the body working.

The few things I started didn't enthuse me, the results were poor and left me feeling blue and useless rather than pushing me to do something else, something more. I just got frustrated and then not doing anything made me feel guilty and tired. While I have enjoyed many of the summer days, those feelings of guilt and tiredness have almost always been there. Not always all-consuming, often almost gone or just like a dull feeling in the back of the head. It certainly haven't been a deeply depressing time and I've had some good times, but the energy levels have often been low and it's easy to forget the good days when feeling down. So despite all the good and great days, it feels like I've wasted a summer. You can't rewind time and there's always a kind of guilt in feeling you've wasted time.

Those grey clouds in my mind also affected my writing. I've posted on my other blog throughout the summer, but it was pretty much done on autopilot. A few times I felt like posting here, but the words didn't come, or I lost energy sitting down in front of the blank computer screen. I didn't feel any enthusiasm about blogging.

I have however pinned. Pinning is easy, effortless but still rewarding. I can still get really into searching for things, looking around websites for new finds etc. So pinning has kept me from feel too listless, it's given me something to do. Something FUN to do. I've also found myself getting back to an interest I've had before, but which is even more expensive than beading or cats: perfume. Especially niche perfumes. When you can't make anything else work, scents are really great pick-me-ups. They can remind one of cherished memories, happy things, favourite places, they can paint a picture for you or transport you to another place, they can calm you down or make you feel warm and cozy. In my usual way, taking up a hobby or getting a new/renewed interest in something means immersing myself. Partially it's a matter of money: if you can't buy all that you want, you can at least read up on it and that's what I've done. So far I've got a list of over 570 perfumes I want to try after reading fragrance pyramids and reviews. That's not counting the half dozen samples already bought.

Especially two of the perfumes really helped my mood. One was an aquatic/marine rose fragrance that was a great soothing, calming and cooling scent for the sunny days and one was a warm, cozy woody vanilla for the rainy and cold days and, especially, nights. Because the weather turned, not just changed a little but did almost a 180 degree turn. And not for the better.

In mid-august the tropical heat of July turned into quite the opposite. The temperatures plummeted, it started raining every day, we got the gale-force winds of late autumn and everything was just wet and chilly. It was more like mid-october than mid-august! Felt like the weather lasted for ages, but of cause it's just been a couple of weeks. Warm socks and cozy vanilla perfume has kept the grey outside from building up too much inside me, but it's still been some dreary weeks.

A few days ago, I started an autumn pinboard to try an pick myself up as I usually do love autumn a lot and at the same time the weather changed. The heavy grey skies are -- literally -- gone with the wind. Today the sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue only partially obscured by clouds that are more white than grey, there's just a slight, crisp wind and the last rain is now only visible as drops on the leaves and grass. The combination of the two has really brightened my mind. It still feels more like october than august, but at least it feels like sunny october days.

And that's where I'm at right now. Feeling like things are getting a little better. My mood, the weather. I'm looking forward to a beautiful autumn and I hope it'll also make me feel better. Some sunshine, crisp but gentle winds, apple picking, grape eating and forest walks is what I need now to recharge my batteries and air out all the bad thoughts -- and these are the perfect days for it now. Things feel a bit brighter now.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Crying over Knatti: part 2

There was of cause no miracle to be had. On monday morning, Knatti was even worse. It was painful to see him suffer and painful to feel like we abandoned him when he needed us near him the most. While I grieve that he had to die, what breaks my heart is feeling that he spent his last days detached from his safety, from his family and home. Someone pointed out that we always die alone, even if we're surrounded by loved ones, but Knatti also suffered his last time alone and that pains me to think of. We were of cause there when he got that final, lethal injection that stopped his heart, but those were just his last minutes. When he was so ill I don't even know if he fully understood that we were there or if he was too ill to be comforted by our presence.

Logically, I know we did the only thing that could be done to try and save his life, but it doesn't change the fact that with the outcome being what it was, this left him very alone in a strange place, subjected to needles and pains without us, those who should protect him from everything bad and soothe him when in pains, for what in a cat's mind must have been a very long time. I can't undo that, I can't turn back time. I can't even persuade myself that it was the right thing to do, the only chance he had, as I can't ignore how that decision determined how his last days became.  And I don't want anyone else to try and persuade me.

And regardless of how he died, there's also another thing: he derserved more years. He wasn't old. He was the kindest of cats, who never harmed anyone who got into fights. Life is unfair, that's just the way it is. And Knatti's short life is just one more example of that. Had life been fair, he'd still have most of his years in front of him. He died too young. That's the long and the short of it: he deserved more years. Many more years.

I posted photos of him in the last post, but missed this one, which shows how sweet he was. It's Knatti with his new baby brother sleeping by his side. He always was the kindest, the one most likely to accept new kittens -- even when they became older, more mischievous, and wanted to play (which includes things like ear biting, which often render them a slap by the adult cats, but not from Knatti). He placidly accepted them, even when more wild than the other big cats, including their moms, found tolerable. Maybe it was only fitting that he got a grave beside some of the youngest kittens in our cat cemetary.

To end this post, I've picked out a few of the pics we took last week when Julle and Knatti came with my sis and I up in the hill. Of all cats, those two are the ones that appreciated our forest walks the most. They loved tagging along (Julle, of cause, still does), not least as they got us to themselves. Two peaceful cats that otherwise are pushed aside by the tougher ones. So in a way it's fitting that the last images of him is in a place and a situation he enjoyed so much. Never in a million years did I on that day think it would be the last time I sat with him in my lap, watching the sunset and stroking his fur on a beautiful, quiet summer evening.

Oh, sweetheart...

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Crying over Knatti

It feels like this blog way too often becomes a place for me to cry over cats. This time it's Knatti, sweet, shy little Knatti who has always been the most peaceful of our cats. He's still alive, though just barely hanging on, but unless a miracle happens, there's nothing more to do than take that horrible decision pet owners sometimes have to face.

Knatti went missing earlier this week and while we tried to tell ourselves he was ok, we did worry sooner than we would've with many of the others. Partially because Knatti almost always come in to us 2-3 times a day and is around the house at night, more or less regularly, and partially because he's had a history of sensitive stomach so we want to see him (and feed him) as often as possible to make sure he's ok. I haven't counted, but he was gone at least 48 hours and some more before suddenly turning up yesterday afternoon -- in such a bad condition. I've never seen a cat so dehydrated -- sure, they can be gone and come home dying, but this has happened so, so fast! -- he was in a horrible state and I don't know how he managed to make it home to us. He refused to eat or drink and there was nothing else to do, but hope the vet was in on the biggest summer holiday of the year.

The verdict was grim from the beginning: he was in such a bad state that the vet feared the kidneys were gone and that nothing could be done to help him, but put him on IV to give him a chance. Today I spoke to the vet and the news were just as bad as yesterday. Worse. The treatment hasn't worked (so far), he's not showing the improvements he should be showing at this poing, and we were told to discuss letting him go. He'll stay one more night -- and I'm so sad to have to leave him in an unknown environment for so long, being ill and probably feeling unsecure in this place with new people, new smells, new animals. After all, he came home to be near us and this is how we repay him, leaving him somewhere he doesn't understand -- somewhere that in the end can't save him. I want him at home, in bed where we could comfort him and soothe him. Unless a miracle happens now, tomorrow will be his last day.

(To make matters worse, all mom can go on about is the vet bill, which I'm paying solo, and questioning if we can afford it. If she had her way, Knatti would've been put down already yesterday to minimize both vet costs and the number of cats we have.)


That above is the newest pic of Knatti I have here. Have taken a few more just a few days ago, but they're on my sister's camera. Below are a few more pics, which I've shown on the blog before.

Evening addendum: I couldn't sleep well last night and when I did I dreamed of Knatti. Knatti being scared by thunder during the night, us trying to get to Knatti but being unable. Then I woke early and spent most of the morning feel sick and worried, with a big lump churning in the stomach. I tried to distract my mind during the afternoon, perhaps even try to hope for that miracle. A late miracle, but not too late. Now it's almost evening again. Last night I was at least partially able to fall asleep in the evening from the shock of seeing the state Knatti was in, the emotional turmoil, but also from feeling he was in the right hands (even if the verdict was negative already then). This night I don't know how to sleep, know that tomorrow we'll have to decide Knatti's fate and there seem to be only one thing to do. Only hours left -- and he'll spend them alone, so far from us and we so far from him.

The hardest part right now -- especially now that it's soon night -- is that he's at the vets still receiving treatment, one more dark night away, and my heart is breaking because I can't shake off the feeling that he's feeling abandoned and alone, perhaps being not just ill but scared in that strange place without familiar faces or scents (he has a blanket from home so I hope it's a tiny comfort). Facing the fact he'll most likely die very soon isn't easy, but as long as it isn't happening right now I can push it away. Right now I'm crying over him feeling abandoned and frightened by all that's happening: the illness, our taking him to a strange, unknown place and not coming back. I want to hold him in my arms and soothe him and tell him everything's going to be ok. Heck, if possible I would've told the vet I'd spend the night on the floor next to him. Not only can't I make him healthy, I can't even give him comfort because I'm not with him. It just hurts so much thinking of him so alone and uneasy. He doesn't know what's happening to him, where he is, where we are, if we'll even come back. It feels light he was lightyears away from me when he should be at home, safe. If not from illness so safe in the sense of being wrapped in love, familiar surroundings and a peaceful athmosphere.

It just pains me to think that we can't give him that now. We try to give him something else, a chance to live, but it's such a slim chance that it's hard to not just see the unease and ordeal we're putting him through by leaving him at the vet's for treatment this long. I don't want him to worry, to be scared or feel abandoned tonight. It must seem like forever to him since we left him, since we (in his eyes) left him, dumped him, never to return. He came home because he wanted to be near us, to have us help him and we did that by removing him further from us -- in distance and time -- than he's ever been.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Happy Midsummer's eve!

Hope you're having a lovely midsummer's eve and weekend!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Thinking of making a needle book and maschma

I feel like I tend to blog about things I'm thinking of doing rather than showing the results of what I have done. Partially it's because I procrastinate, partially it's a matter of not having the time to do it so I'm stuck just thinking about it and partially it's because I write to try and sort out things I hesitate about. Writing about it sorts out the thoughts -- at it gives you motivation to produce a result once you declare to the world what you are about to to do as well as it's an opportunity to ask others for input.

If you follow this blog you must have noticed that the idea of a needle book and thread storage have come up. Last time I mentioned making a maschma, for example. This post is about those thoughts once again.

I've been thinking of making a needle book for some time now, but never come up with a good design. Because I have both beading needles and hand embroidery needles it's also a matter of whether to make one book for all the needles or make two separate ones. Right now I'm thinking of doing one just for my beading needles as they make up 80 % of all my needles (and most of my embroidery needles are collected in one place anyway as I bought them in a silk ribbon embroidery collection -- the big yellow package).

Being a tool junkie extends to needles too: I have at least half a dozen of needle packages, not including a zip-lock bag of collapsible-eye needles, DIY wire needles and a big-eye needle. There's the regular long beading needles in size ranging from 10 to 15 (!), sharp bead embroidery needles, ballpoint bead emboidery needles and curved needles. Have I forgotten any now? Regardless, right now I just put all the needle packages in the organza bag, having tied them together with a string through the holes at the top (most packages have a hole, if not I punch one).

But what about the threads? The main reason I stick with this organza bag solution is that it all fits in it, all my needles and all my beading threads, and it's easy to carry from one spot to another. It's just that they're all jumbled, I'd like a bit more order. Just as with my seed bead storage dilemma, it's a question of finding a good, cheap -- and easy to carry -- solution that can accomodate different shapes and sizes as I use more than one type of beading thread. There's the K.O. spools, but also carded thicker K.O. thread and smaller bobbins (One-G etc). Plus a couple of big spools of YLI jean thread and medium-sized spools of a Gütermann thread I use for bead crochet.

It's still easyier to find the right thread so I'll make the needle book project a priority over this: removing the needles, the organza bag might be as good a solution as any with the amount of beading threads I have.

But my ideas doesn't end there...

Apparently, one thing that's become popular among embroiderers in Sweden recently is making a marsma or maschma; a small embellished roll or tote for emboidery paraphernalia (needles, scissors, threads), probably of sami origin, one might call it. And I think it might be very useful for me as a seedbeader too as I like to bead in couches, beds and everywhere else where I can't take my whole bead stash with me. So one of my newest ideas is to sketch a maschma with room for a couple of tubes or flip-top boxes of beads, one or two bead thread bobbins and a pair of scissors. (Did I forget something?) So far I haven't figured out the design or even what material I want to use. And partially I procrastinate because I love to embroider, but don't really enjoy sewing.

To illustrate what a maschma looks like, here's a screenshot of a picture googling I did in order to find some inspiration for my beader's maschma. Click on it for the full size.

Looking at the pics I'm thinking that with the right material it could double as a small bead mat too. I rarely use bead mats (hence why everything here has a few stray seed beads embedded in them), but they can be useful so why not? I like things with double -- or more -- purposes. A bit like the Helen Gibb kit for a needle case with bead pad [which not longer is available on her website so no pic to show].

These are some of the things I'm thinking about while working -- it might not be a fun or wellpaid job, but at least I'm free to think, sketch ideas in my head etc while I'm doing it. Not that I always think of beads and stitching, of cause, but it's a recurring theme most days. I might not be showing many finished items as I'm focusing on other things right now, but I have so many ideas buzzing in my head. If only I could cure my bad habit of procrastinating...

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Finally, some cat piccies!

I could've shown you some pics from the garden as I've taken a few, but it feels like ages since I did a cat post so here's some pics of Ubbi that I took this afternoon. Blurry once as he was in playful mood, running up and down the branches of the small ash tree.

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