Educating ourselves

I am so grateful my kids are not at school right now.

It’s not easy being the only black kid in a school class filled with white kids. It’s not easy being the only black kid in the whole school. It’s not easy being the only black people in a whole sea of white people, most who have little to no idea about systemic racism and what it’s like belonging to a visual minority.

My younger kids get to represent everything black all the time, and right now I can’t stand the thought of all the questions they would get from their friends and maybe even teachers. As if they would even know the world of systemic racism at the age of 12 & 13, or how the world functions. They’re not even adults yet, but they still get all kinds of questions!

So I’m so, so grateful they’re not at school right now, and mainly get their news about BLM from us parents.

No matter how much I try to make their lives better, I can’t make the world not racist. But what I can do is educate myself on the matter, and people in my environs. I try to do just that, and maybe, just maybe that makes the world my kids are living in just a little bit better.

At the moment I’m all out of words, but luckily there are lots of other people talking who are much better at it than I am.

If you are white like I am and want to educate yourself just like I do – a good place to start is Light Watkins and his Instagram feed. He makes space for questions and talks about how to reach out, and how to be a better person in general. Go take a look at his Instagram and educate yourself! And hopefully together we might make the world just a tiny bit better.

Here’s another long list of helpful resources.

P.S. This goes out to everyone reading this! Educate yourselves, and educate your kids. Because your kids are the future, just like mine are, and together we all decide what kind of world we want to live in

 

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DIY Flower necklace with a secret eye

Here’s a fun necklace I made! I wanted to make something inspired by the Victorian ”Lover’s Eye” jewelry, but my ”eye” ended up having glaucoma (I used the wrong glue!) so the only one knowing the thingy on the right side is an eye…!

I used up a lot of pink star-paillettes for the flower – I kind of stocked up on paillettes when we lived in Copenhagen more than 10 years ago, and I’ve still got a large stock. It will take quite a lot of jewelry making before I run out of them!

The bronze thing at the middle of the flower is an old pretty button that I hadn’t found a good use for. The one to the right is a broken brooch that I ”mended” by gluing a homemade eye to it.

I love taking old discarded things and make new pretty things out of them! It makes me so happy to both create and use jewelry like this.

 

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Re-purposing jeans – my mom is on a roll!

My parents are definitely making the most of this social distancing/quarantine-time – my dad is baking bread and keeping busy like always, and my mom is sewing and being creative. Just look at what she made for Niklas for his birthday:

I mean, look at that apron! It’s just perfect for the barbecue season, with all those pockets and places to hang stuff. This was a team effort, with my dad inserting most of the grommets, and then they filled it with lots of kitchen:y goodness: knitted dish cloths (made by my mother, one of them made out of flax that I think my great grandmother grew and spun so many decades ago), a wash cloth for the barbecue station, brushes and pens and lots of little goodies.

And the best thing? It’s all made out of repurposed jeans!

I learned through homeschooling this spring that jeans/denims are one of the most polluting garments on the planet, so it makes sense to keep using them even though they’ve become a bit disheveled. And what better way to give two old pairs of jeans a new life than as a cool apron?

My mom’s been busy re-purposing so many jeans this spring, so she’s definitely doing an effort to keep them in circulation!

Some of them end up as runners, with just a piece of lace sewn onto each edge. Some end up as pot covers, just look at these:

That’s a whole look for that bunch of roses! I think they love the new lace belt they got!

They are accompanied by a matching tablecloth.

P.S. In my family we either donate clothes that are too small, or we compost the ones that are unusable. Which also is an argument against buying clothes containing plastics (like spandex, acrylics etc) – cotton is very easily composted, and when you mix it with compost from your kitchen compost it turns into mulch in just a few months’ time.

 

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Our trip to Särkänniemi

🙂 This is a post I planned on posting last year! But first I had to get permission from all involved, and then I sort of forgot it. People have been posting things they did before everything changed, and this is definitely one of those things! I don’t think my family will visit any amusement parks this summer. But maybe the summer after that.

Last summer we had an amazing day at Särkänniemi, the amusement park in Tammerfors. We went with our BF-family, and we had so much fun!

First a lunch at a table previously occupied by seagulls. Niklas, our oldest son and I didn’t want to go for any rides, so we took our time eating pizza and walking around while the others had fun on the rides. 

We also visited the aquarium and admired all the fish.

I love being at aquariums! It’s so interesting to be able to see all the fish up close.

No idea what kind of fish! A google-eyed fish, for sure!

More fishes, and a lizard (below)

Staring contest! The lizard won!

We took a ride up the elevator to the top of Näsinneula, the huge tower with a view over all of Tammerfors.

We were so high up, I got a bit dizzy!

But it was really fun to stare at all the houses and cars below, looking like doll’s houses and miniature cars.

Somewhere down below the rest of our family stood in line and went for rides.

Look at the shadow of the tower!

Our friends were busy going for rides.

So many rides!

When they were finished we had a fancy dinner at the top of Näsinneula. Or us adults did – the kids got to go for more rides and cheaper food (that was included in their bracelets).

It was such a fun day! Särkänniemi is definitely worth a visit, and with older kids like ours we felt comfortable leaving them to their own devices while we ate at the a la carte-restaurant. A win-win for everyone involved!

 

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My favorite statement necklace

I have quite a collection of DIY statement necklaces by now, but this is usually my favorite! It took about 20 hours to make and it was totally worth it! I always feel as if I’m wearing a really special piece of jewelry when I wear it.

I made two interlocking circles and covered them in black beads with some green accents. I used up a couple of old necklaces and bracelets and sewed everything onto some felt fabric. The lining is a piece of an old leather jacket. Three skulls hang from the necklace, along with some glass beads.

I love love love wearing it! It has such a nice weight and since it’s black, it goes with almost anything in my wardrobe.

 

 

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A very slow moving springtime

 

What a spring it’s been! Not only weird on this whole global level, but also on a local level and a very personal one.

We’ve had snow so many times already in May! And almost no snow this winter, so it feels very odd. But on the plus side – the spring flowers are still blooming!

The whole garden is lit up with all the yellow flowers everywhere, and they are getting accompanied by more and more green leaves.

I’m still recuperating after a chaotic blend of allergies, RS-virus (we think) and a bad reaction to a medicine. I went for my first walk in two months yesterday, so today I’m resting. My body craves rest at the moment, so it’s not a bad thing that we haven’t got anything in our calendars.

Instead we enjoy life in our backyard – not too shabby! just look at all that orange!

The pond is attracting wildlife. It teems with life when the frogs are mating, and at other times we have birds of all sorts coming to bathe or have a drink.

We’ve also welcomed a lot of pollinators! That’s it for a short status update from me. I’ve been cutting down on my ”shoulds”, since I really need to focus on healing. As a result I don’t photograph as much as I usually do, or write, but hopefully that will change soon. I’m already feeling more energized, and soon the kids summer holidays are starting – we are all looking forward to that!

 

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More princess pictures

It was such a fun day, and we enjoyed it so much!

I love that despite being an amateur, I am able to give my daughter the experience to feel like a posing princess whenever she needs it.

It makes for such good memories too!

P.S. I was trying to find a blog post where I showed how I sewed this collar, but either my very tired brain isn’t working properly and I can’t see things in front of my (very likely!) or I haven’t properly done a blog post. Might do one at one point – if not, this particular collar was shown prominently on the TV-show Strömsö. This collar was so fun to make! I sewed lots of flowers and beads on it which gives it a nice weight, and you instantly feel like you’re wearing fine jewelry when you wear it!

 

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The Cherry Tree Princess

We needed a bit of magic in our everyday life, so we took a tour to our fantasy land where everything is possible and everyone can be a princess if they want to!

And what better day to do a photo shoot on than on a day when the cherry trees are blossoming? It was so beautiful and gave us all a needed spark of creativity and fun. We actually laughed a lot, even though it doesn’t show on this particular photo!

This was very much an impromptu photo shoot. I got down the pink sari we use for curtains in our daughter’s room and draped it over a pale yellow dress. The collar is a piece I made out of recycled pink lace, flowers and beads, and a vintage velvet ribbon that I had saved for years.

I made the crown a while ago out of some floral wire or whatever it’s called, and only added some flowers for this shoot. And the red hair is a wig! I somehow felt like shooting long flowing hair yesterday. Might have something to do with the fact that it was very windy! And absolutely magical!

 

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The garden in springtime

Everything in the garden is changing, and for the better!

It might not show like it at the moment – we’re rebuilding a lot of the garden, including the smaller greenhouse, and there’s so much debris everywhere!

But the end result will be amazing – just like the bulbs that look like nothing much when you put them in the ground in the autumn.

All of a sudden there there, and just demanding attention! Such beauties…!

 

All the brown and beige and plain turns into so much color. 

And I love it! 

The wildlife loves it too – we have visitors every day: toads, frogs, birds of all kinds. (they tend to hop away when I try to take pictures of them!) 

The evenings have been filled with this wonderful light, that really shows off the flowers. Like the botanical tulips above – botanical tulips are my favorite tulips. They propagate by themselves, and are usually quite hardy.

Among them, these more sensitive beauties, that are a leftover from last years flower boxes.

And this years flower boxes! Yellow and happy and waiting to join their siblings in the garden.

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I’m not worth anything

Here’s a weird thought that sometimes strikes me – I’m not worth anything to society.

I’m worth quite a lot to my husband and my kids and my bunnies. But society? Doesn’t care if I live or die.

To society I’m just a bit of statistics. Someone who doesn’t qualify for work benefits, doesn’t qualify as a carer (or only does that after the need for care is over). Who uses up other people’s taxes (because I don’t seem to earn enough myself to pay them personally). Who is a burden to our health care system (as little as I possibly can! I prefer fixing broken toes at home than going to hospital).

In the large scheme of things, I’m one of those 0,9% that might potentially die in, say, a pandemic. I’m definitely one of those 1 in 5 who might end up in hospital taking up hospital beds if they’re not really careful and really lucky!

Which makes me feel really not taken care of at times. Like where is the empathy for the people who are above 70 years old (70?! It’s not old people! It’s just a number, a random number at that, that just happens to be a even number.)

Or the empathy for people nearing 70 for that matter, like someone we personally knew who recently died after spending 5 weeks on a respirator.

Most of us expect to live far beyond 80, but all of a sudden a bunch of people are willing to sacrifice everyone older than them just so they can go on pretending everything is normal, go on their cruises and whatnot.

Where is the empathy for all the children with debilitating diseases, who were even before this happened struggling with having a normal childhood.

Where is the empathy for all those anonymous numbers who are walking around, looking for all the world like their happy and healthy, but who might have underlying conditions that might make them susceptible to say, for example a new pandemic. Who knows – that person might even be you. I know it’s me. And I know I don’t want to risk dying before my time, if I can prevent that.

The problem is – I alone can’t prevent myself from getting sick. I need everyone. All of you. I need everyone to keep their distance, to think about their choices. To not go shopping with all their kids and all their family. To be extra careful about hygiene. To not let their children play with whomever they want unsupervised (because if you don’t know it – kids do transmit disease! No matter what headlines some newspaper choose to run with, children do transmit and do contract disease.). Also newsflash: your kids aren’t just sitting around with 2 m distance talking about schoolwork or ticktock or whatever – they’re actually running around in packs of 15 or more, making pranks and posting on my kids social media.

We can all see you! We know you’re not following the guidelines. And who knows? Maybe you or your friend might be the one who infected the people here in my hometown? Nobody knows, since not enough people are getting tested. And that is the whole point! We don’t know who is going around with a mild case of the disease, so we must all act as if we might be! Not to protect ourselves, if we’re confident enough we’re not in the risk group, but to protect everyone else.

The older people.

The people working in health care.

The kids with preexisting conditions (and there are much more of them than you’d think!)

The grownups with preexisting conditions.

That’s about a fifth of the population right there. A million people in Finland, who could potentially all become sick and end up in hospital, which nobody wants – not even those who are willing to sacrifice old people. A million people of which some are worth something (those who have an important work for example), enough so that society shuts down and thinks of alternate solutions. But when push comes to shove- there is only so much money society is prepared to spend on people.

That’s the hard truth.

Me – I’m practically worthless.

P.S. What I actually do in my everyday life is:

– take care of my whole family including kids with lots of diagnosis – I was being a full time caretaker for 12 years, without getting paid.

– take care of our house, including chopping wood, heating it, cleaning

– supervise our whole family, so that we’re all helping with the cleaning of the house, gardening etc

– recovering from a physical birth trauma and having stopped the meds for that cold turkey because the factory stopped producing it. Which means doing yoga and meditating twice, plus trying to lower my stress levels (*maniacal laughter* 🙂 ) plus doing lymph drainage manually, plus other things to try to become as well as I can

-recovering from lots of stress related issues, including a bout of shingles and shingles pain that doesn’t seem to want to go away

– and lots and lots of more things. I’m also trying to find time to do the things I enjoy most, which is write (at the moment, I’m writing 2 sentences a day!)

None of that of value to society. But it is of value to me and to my family. And I hope that other people would see it as valuable also.

 

 

 

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