Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I ♥ bokrea

The bokrea, the annual national book sale in Sweden, started yesterday. These last years I've found it quite boring because of the dull range of books on sale, but this year I've found quite a few books. Of cause, not all are that cheap so I'll have to cull a few favourites of the wishlists. (It's partially a decision between buying a slightly more expensive book or borrow it at the library, but I do love owning books both to fill the bookshelves and to not have to worry about returning them in time.)

Yesterday we had errands in Helsingborg so we took the opportunity to visit some of the shops on Väla and the book shop at Familia, but I ended up concluded the prices were cheaper online (the books on sale are mostly the same everywhere even if there are many exceptions, but the prices vary) and just bought a couple of books at the supermarket Brännborns (Ica Maxi). One fantasy novel set in our world, one period novel set in Mozambique.

I never got around to pre-order at any online shop so I'll be heading over to a couple of them soon to make sure my favourites doesn't sell out. Some already had when I checked last sunday. The punishment of procrastination unfortunately, though I did have a reason for waiting. 

So not many books yet, but it was fun to get some of the excitement over the annual book sale event back -- and I will be shopping more online. Still haven't sifted through the sale catalogue at SF Bokhandeln -- a book shop specialising in fantasy, sf, horror and comics -- so I could still have good books to discover. Fingers crossed.

Money, you say? Well... money spent on books are always money well spent, an investment. And I did save a little just for this. Still have to rein myself in though, or I'll buy way too much. It's just so tempting!

PS! Yes, I do often wait it out, trying to keep cool and hope for the 50 % off sale price offers at the end of or after the sale. It's great -- you pic up books for almost no money at all. But last year I did that and the book I really wanted was sold out by the time I got to the shop... So this year I don't want to take any chances unless with books that are of less interest. Lesson learned!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

February blooms

It seems like the weather heard the news of SMHI (the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) declaring spring in Skåne. Today it was warmer and we got much more sun -- and that made the first crocus bloom. They're still not in full bloom, but they are opening their flowers now. As always, it's the purple crocus that bloomed first.

More snowdrops, of cause. Many of them are in full bloom now.

And some more winter aconites.

As I've been so bad a posting cat pics, I'll finish by adding a couple of my two assistants today. Julle loved the spring weather, as you can see.

...and Ubbi got stuck up a big ash tree. He got down on his own eventually, but it took some time,  a lot of running back and forth on the branches and some coaxing from my side before he darned. Did this teach him not to go up trees that are too tall (or, more importantly, too straight as it makes it harder to climb down a vertical tree trunk compared to a tree growing at an angle or with low branches)? Probably not as it's not the first time he does something like this. He might learn not to go up that particular tree, but he will climb others like it.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

They say it's spring

According to the meteorologists, we officially have spring here in Skåne now. Though, as the meteorological definition of spring is seven days and nights with an average temperature above zero, it doesn't really say much about the weather. It's still very grey and rainy (fog's gone, though) and feel just like a mild, typically scanian winter. But I guess it's a good sign that "real" spring is coming. There can still be backlashes, but hopefully it'll soon getter warmer so it begins to feel more like spring.

So far, it's mainly the snowdrops telling me it's more spring than winter now.

 Most of our snowdrops are spread out in the lawn and flowerbeds (by the remains of the horse chestnut tree), but behind the barn, there's one spot with a bigger host of snowdrops. The pic above is from that group of flowers, as are the two below.

 The last photo there is from the flowerbed by the road where the snowdrops are more scattered.

As shown here, the crocus has begun to bud too. The purple ones haven't gotten much further than in those photos, but they are now accompanied by yellow crocus buds and a couple of white ones too too.

 The hepatica or liverleaf has begun to bud already too, but sadly it looks like someone's been eating on the flowers or something... Let's hope the later flowers will be undamaged because these buds look so sad.

Saturday, 15 February 2014


The crocus started to pop up through the lawn earlier this week, but it's still relatively cold and very rainy so they're growing slowly. Can't wait for them to start bloom, coving the lawns in purple, white and yellow.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mixed weather

We've had a kind of sampler of precipitation today. First a hail shower, then a rain shower and then snow -- with really big, fluffy snowflakes of the kind you tend to get when it's above zero and which is close to just pure sleet. And then, a few hours before the sun set and the new snow had already melted away, we got sunshine. Beautiful, warm sunshine.

It's that time of the year, isn't it? You never know what the weather will be like as it alternates between winter and spring.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

First snowdrops

It's that time of year again, it's time to report that the first snowdrops are budding. Rather early this year, if my previous posts are anything to go by: 2013 (6/3), 2012 (24/2), 2011 (15-16/3), 2010 (20/3) and 2009 (28/2). You do know that snowdrops have their own label on this blog, don't you? Just like the New year's eve photos it's become a sort of blogging tradition for me.

The snowdrops behind the barn hasn't got as far, as they've spent more time under the snow and in the shadow of trees.

Of cause we've got winter aconites as well, now that the snow is melting away fast. It's not like I don't like seeing them pop up in the flower beds too, but it's just that they are more winter flowers while snowdrops -- while still open blooming surrounded by snow -- tells me that spring is coming soon. Not yet, but soon.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

A season of Strauss

Well, I should be doing something else right now as I'm going to bed early (must get up around 6 o'clock tomorrow! Too early, way too early!), but I thought I might show you the latest flyers from the museum next door.

This year, the theme will be Richard Strauss. If you're into opera you might have already guessed it from Birgit's costume above. Let's see if we manage to get around to visit the museum this season: living near an attraction or event doesn't necessarily mean you attend it all the time. It's easy to become hemmablind ("home blind", not appreciating or visiting what is nearby as you're so used to it or because you look at the wonders of other places, you don't really see it anymore).

If you're interested in the Birgit Nilsson Museum and what it has to offer this season (or an interest in my old neighbour, Birgit), be sure to check out the museum website! She did own some lovely jewellery and while they aren't the main focus of the exhibits, you might want to visit just for the jewellery inspiration. There's also great costumes, accessories, music etc to inspire -- and if you're lucky, you might even meet one of our cats if you visit the museum. ;-)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Put them in the kitchen drawer or clay box?

A little show and tell today. This is a selection of modelling tools I won in a giveaway advent calendar at the baking blog Kakolina back in December. I actually wanted to win them as I thought they could be great for jewellery making -- sculpting clay and things like that -- but now I can't really decide whether to use them as clay tools or whether to dedicate them to food use. Creating with marzipan was fun as a kid and now there's also sugar paste etc available to create flowers and other decorations for cakes, cupcakes and desserts. Maybe it'd be fun to give it a go again -- with some neat tool to help me shape the paste this time.

Right now they're living in the kitchen drawer as you can always start using a tool for food use and then use it for working in clay or other craft uses, but you can't start off using something for inedible, sometimes slightly or even very toxic, materials and then put it in the kitchen.

(On a side note, one can dedicate a tool to food use and still make jewellery as these cakes will show you.)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How I discovered FMA by chance

FMA means Fullmetal Alchemist, a popular, award-winning manga and anime by Hiromu Arakawa. A fab story that I happened upon by chance -- and that's thanks to my beading, actually!

To connect the dots, we need to travel some years back in time when there was still a channel called ZTV in Sweden. It was pretty much dying at the time and one of the few things they aired was a whole bunch of anime series late at night. At the time I was spending many late nights in the beading room, often with a kitten in my lap, and in order to dispel the darkness and quiet I had the telly on. For some reason I one day zapped through the few channels available to me until finding anime on it, something relatively unusual in swedish channels and something I liked (albeit never seen much of as I've always been more of a manga person and anime wasn't widely available for me to get interested in). Some days I watched a few minutes before continuing to zap, but other days I stopped at ZTV for the whole night. As it was in the middle of all the three or four series aired in a row, I didn't pay that much attention. It was probably not even the best or most action packed episodes that I first stumbled upon and sometimes a protagonist does something mid-series that you find hard to sympathize with unless you know the background. But somehow I kept "bumping into" these two young guys called Ed and Al. And I got hooked, totally sucked into the story. Even when not understanding many of the things happening or persons referred to. The other animes were ok, I began following one of the others too, but nothing was as good as FMA. I became an instant fan and watched it more or less religiously to the end -- after which they put the series on a loop so I could watch it again, this time from the beginning.

Serendipity is perhaps what english-speaking people would call it. I knew nothing of FMA, found it by chance -- and was enthralled. I would sit in the dark with a sleeping cat as my only company and watch it. Night after night, just getting more and more hooked.


The above video is of the "outro" used in the episodes where I began watching. The song is Motherland by Crystal Kay. This was the song that ended the first episodes of FMA I watched so for me it's synonymous with the series -- and the same goes for this opening, Undo by Cool Joke. Everytime I hear just the intro of the song, I can see the scenes inside my head. You can a longer version of it here. The reason I didn't include that video here is that it shows images from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and I haven't seen that, nor have I got as far in the manga (due to various reasons). Haven't seen the movie(s) either, by the way -- and I still count myself as a huge fan... Anyway, while I have of cause stumbled onto many spoilers by now, I try to avoid them if I can. Even small ones.

Funny footnote regarding the video: were I began watching the anime, Winry isn't in the story so I never really understood who she -- and Den (the dog) -- was. It just seemed like silly (albeit pretty innocent) fanservice at first due to some parts of it. Once you see the story from the beginning, this ending used for episodes 26-41 makes so much more sense.

God, how that song makes we wish I could buy the soundtrack (for the original anime series) and the boxed set of the manga right now!


So what am I trying to say with this blog post? Other than how much I want the soundtrack and full set of the manga, that is. Well, most of all it's a story of how one can just by chance stumbled upon something one will fall completely in love with. It could just as well had been that I opted to listen to music instead of turning on the telly. Or that I settled for another channel. The probability of my never seeing even one episode of FMA was so much bigger than the probability that I would. And to think I would've missed out on such an amazing thing... It was so close. I almost missed out on a fab story. It's almost with horror that I think of how close it was that I never would've gotten to know Ed, Roy, Riza and all the others.

Of cause, that's life: we accidentally stumble onto things that have the potential to change something in our lives, but we never know what we might have stumbled onto had things been just slightly different. We don't miss those things that we didn't encounter or that didn't happen to us because we never were aware of them so we don't need to mourn the missed things. They aren't like opportunities missed because we didn't take the chance or were forced to decline them. If we miss one thing, there's another probably just as exciting around the corner. But once you do stumble over something, you can't imagine life without it as it was such a treat. Perhaps it sparked inspiration, made you reflect over your life or just change in some other way, maybe it was just something that made just happy or fill up with strong emotions. If just every so slightly, it added to or changed something in your life, your lifestyle/interests or your memory. I'm so thankful and happy that FMA was one of the things I stumbled over by chance and which left a beautiful impression in me!

I hope that I can perhaps pass this little nugget on to someone else who isn't familiar with anime and therefore haven't heard of it before. Maybe you'll be the next FMA fan?

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Midwinter spring

It's almost felt like a spring day today. And no wonder: after several days of snowfall and then, yesterday, rain all day, it was thawing today. It was 4 degrees during the day (according to my sis), I could see green grass and slush while hearing water dripping from the roofs and the birds singing.

 That's a pool made by the water dripping from the barn roof gutter. It's made a lovely circle in the snow.

The cats weren't impressed, though... (That's Julle on the stone, waiting impatiently to be let in, and Knatti enjoying the new water supply.)

Despite the snow, compared to the photos below which were taken on friday, it sure felt spring like. A touch of spring in the air. But I'm not fooling myself, I know it's still just early february and it's just the way winter can be. It doesn't mean spring is just around the corner. We've had mild winters -- just to be surprised by blizzards in april...

While I prefer snow over the usual grey and rainy scanian winters, I still hope for an early spring this year. Can't wait to see the spring flowers beginning to bud.

And after all, that was friday. This is today (photo below). So things are making some sort of progress, even if there will we wintery backlashes still to come. One often forgets, once it starts coming mild winter days after new year's, that february still is and always will be a winter month.

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