The weirdness that is now

I took these photos just a few days ago, but it might as well have been years – the world has changed so much in so little time.

We’re all at home, all five of us, and so far it is going great. I’m technically an extrovert, but I usually need space to gather my thoughts and relax. And there isn’t much of that at the moment!

So I’m thinking: this is my challenge right now. To find space for myself while living with all these other people. To be able to write and create despite being interrupted. To find calm and happiness amidst all the anxiety.

I need to prioritize self-care at the moment, and I can feel how it is especially important right now! I need to be a good example for the kids, and I can’t be that if I’m not calm and happy. So I need to get my stress levels down, eat good food, enjoy nature, and be mindful and just accept everything as it happens.

I’m stress-crafting a bit at the moment! I watch opera and make flowers and take breaks and help the kids with whatever they need help with. We all meditate and exercise in the morning, and if it wasn’t for the small thingy that is the pandemic life would be pretty sweet.

We have each other, we have a big house and a garden (courtesy of me always wanting to be prepared – I’ve mentally prepared for this ever since the bird flu, when we lived in a small apartment in Copenhagen).

It feels so odd to go outside where nature continues as if nothing has happened.

Weird.

”May you live in interesting times” – an old supposedly Chinese proverb/curse. And these are definitely interesting times!

I try to take one day at a time. I am so grateful for my meditation practice. I am so grateful that my kids have a meditation practice. I am so grateful that my kids value their school and do their homework diligently every day. I am so grateful that I somehow through all this found a love of cooking that just popped out of nothing.

I stand in the kitchen and slice ginger and garlic, and smell the scents wafting through the house. I savor the tomato sauce that has been cooking for an hour, the aroma infused in every little bit of the stew. And the lemon peel that gives a slight after-flavor.

We cook food from different countries each day – Japan, France and Thailand so far. And I send bunny-videos to people, and watch funny stories online.

We’ll get through this, we will, and hopefully all of us will take with us valuable lessons into the unknown future. It’s weird times, folks, and my family are trying to make the best of it!

Go check out:

Kitchen quarantine with Massimo Bottura

He’s a master chef who streams from his kitchen every night – such a wonderful happy family! It lifts our spirits to watch them!

 

And look, dolphins in Venice!:

Dolphins in Venice!

 

 

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The brown butterfly necklace

I don’t know about you, but I definitely need distractions nowadays! Fun things to do, friends to talk to, cute bunny-videos to look at. I try to dream away and step into my fantasy land for a little while – Pargasia, where everyone who wants to be a princess can be that! Or a pirate if you choose that – anything is possible!

We sometimes step into that alternate reality for a bit, my daughter and I. Like on the picture above, taken one lovely fall afternoon.

Nosipho is wearing a hat I’ve created plus the brown butterfly necklace that I’ve only worn for a couple of occasions.

This was a superfun project! I drew the butterfly onto a piece of felt. Then I sewed beads in blocks of color so that it would look a little bit like a butterfly.

The necklace is lined with suede, and feels soft and comfy against your body. The blue-green beads are a leftover from the 80s when my mom crocheted jewelry (there was this crochet bead-fad at that time). Feels fun to use up all those lovely beads that I’ve stored for so many years. They get to shine once again!

 

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What we do when we’re quarantined

How’s everybody doing?

We’re doing fine, and are having fun staying at home – which is essential if you want too keep your stress levels low. That’s one thing that everyone should really focus on right now, try to get the stress levels down through having fun, talking to loved ones over the internet, staying connected.

I do my best to give the kids a fun, everyday life, and so far they have been so motivated and lovely to be around (are these actually my kids?!)

They’ve been doing their schoolwork so well, they’ve even done voluntary assignments! The kids have been doing presentations about different countries, and then we eat food from those countries.

First up, Japan:

My daughter made some lovely sushi – some using salmon, and some just a veggie version for us that are allergic.

We even had ginger and soy sauce and ate with chopsticks! But first we got to listen to her presentation and watch some pictures from Japan.

Such a delicious meal! It’s odd  how now when we have all the time in the world, family life also changes. We prepare dinner for hours instead of just a few minutes. We aren’t in a hurry anywhere, and can just go with the flow and do what we like. Clothing optional! 😀 Apart from that we’ve introduced a new family rule – mediation twice a day instead of only just one time. I always meditate twice, but the kids have so far managed to wriggle out of it, but now they’re sitting still just like the rest of us both morning and evening.

We also do a gratitude journal every evening.

And we have a short workout session in the morning. I usually work out by myself, so it’s no biggie to simply have the kids join in.

Today we watched Carmen while I braided the hair of my youngest. It was definitely relaxing!

I try to take care of myself – I craft while I watch the news, and I try to find some time for writing. Haven’t been able to pick up a book yet, I can’t just seem to concentrate. Luckily my To Be Read-pile at home is quite large!

 

Here are some more online resources:

Räkna med mig – teorifilmer för åk 7-9

If you speak Danish, Randers Regnskov holds daily half-hour talks about an interesting topic.

450 free Ivy League courses

Free classical concerts online

 

There are free meditations, workouts and sleep stories on Calm

 

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Some fun DIY:s to do at home

When you’re quarantined, you need fun stuff to do.

Here are some the crafts I’ve made that you too can make at home. You only need some old books, newspaper, scraps or paper and maybe some pipe-cleaners (and if you want to go crazy with pipe-cleaners, there are lots of great resources on Pinterest!)

Make your own roses out of book pages. Or newspaper. Or whatever papers you have at home!

If you have pipe cleaners at home, you can make roses like these:

Pipecleaner-roses

 

Make your own princess-crowns, and stroll around looking fabulous like these three princesses:

Princess-crowns

Make your own lovebirds out of whatever paper you have at home:

Lovebirds

Fold an origami heart and send it to someone who needs a bit of love right now:

Origami-heart

Decorate your window with hearts:

 

All these crafts and more can be found on my blog through the tag ”diy”.

Hopefully we can all stay calm and hopeful and help each other so that this whole situation solves itself as soon as possible, and with the least bit of casualties possible!

 

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Self care and the care of others in the time of Coronavirus

Well, this turned out to be a much different March than I had thought! I’ve been sick on and off the last 6 months (several bouts of the shingles), and I tend to get asthma and my immune system is definitely down. We decided to voluntarily self quarantine and keep the kids away from school.

This dystopia we live in is so far not at all the way dystopias are usually described as in books and films. People are usually mean and selfish in those, but in real life, there are so many loving and giving people.

Here are some free online resources to help us all cope with the current situation:

2 months free yoga from the lovely do yoga with me-team

Parenting and Coronavirus Webinar – what choices should we make, how to talk to your kids about this whole situation

 

Skype a scientist

The Metropolitan Opera offers free streaming of some of their live performances

 

 

These two articles about health are really good:

Lifextension’s article

Examine’s article

We have upped our intake of probiotics in the form of kefir. Kefir can help stave off infections or make them milder.

 

Don’t forget to support small businesses as much as you can! We’re living in strange interesting times, that’s for sure, and how the world will look at the end of this is anyone’s guess. But what is certain is that we all create our future together, so let the love flow as much as you can!

 

P.S. If you have a great link to a free resource – please feel free to share it! My family and many more need everyday life in this very special situation to be a bit more fun, a bit more mindful and filled with gratitude!

 

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Behind the scenes at Strömsö – my daughter’s pictures

Last blog post on Strömsö, I promise! …but for those of you who still want to see more pictures from that lovely, lovely house, today I’ll show you the last pictures we took. Most shot by my daughter, who is turning into quite the photographer.

My daughter got to stroll around taking pictures while Elin and I sewed our bracelets. And I took every opportunity to shoot all the nooks and crannies – everything at Strömsö is just so interesting to look at!

I mean – just look at this corner of a room. So many interesting DIY:s!

And that quote printed on a tote bag.

I’ve been wanting to make some macramé for a long while. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, but perhaps one day.

Lots and lots of scarves for the host and guests to choose from when the need arises.

Look at those paint brushes!

And this mask!

I’ve got spoons like these in my garden!

Onions in a paper bag in the kitchen.

And that lovely, lovely table filled with goodies.

More interesting details.

My first large statement necklace.

And this white beaded monstrosity!

Lots of lovely material – I could have sat at that table and created for days!

Outside the sun was shining on a wintery landscape.

My B-necklace – this is my version of Anne Boleyn’s B-necklace.

My aqua snake snaking around jars of sequins and trays with beads.

I made this collar just because. I wanted to try out sewing flowers to lace, and it turned into this. 

One of my butterfly-necklaces.

Look – a camera! And that fireplace!

The bracelet Elin made.

My daughter wearing her new choker that she made herself during the show.

Look how lovely this tiny doll is!

And again the Strömsö-quote!

Thank you so much to the Strömsö-team! We were so happy that you asked us to participate, and we got so many fond memories from this trip.

 

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Behind the scenes at Strömsö – part 3

Part 1

Part 2

The day of, we were greeted by sunshine and lovely winter weather. The Strömsö-house is to die for, inside and out!

And I love that they have this saying on the wall.

It was so exciting to get to be on a TV-show! We had butterflies all morning. We changed into our clothes for the shooting, and then we got to go to hair and makeup.

My daughter really enjoyed herself and took lots of pictures – she only recently got a smart phone and Instagram, so she was really eager to document everything!

It was also very fun to get the make up done by a professional! And Mari who did the make up was so nice!

All through the house, the staff was busy making the studio ready for the shooting.

We got to wander around and enjoy all the loveliness.

While the camera crew set up everything. The sun was shining straight through the big windows and french doors, so they had to add screens.

Lots and lots of cameras and lights and whatnots.

And that lovely, lovely kitchen – swoon!

They also took pictures for the article on their site.   

Mari made me feel so pretty!

She did my hair and makeup just the way I wanted it – I felt pampered and so well taken care of!

Then it was almost time for the shooting! My daughter wore one of my latest necklaces – a yellow one, that I made out of old bracelets, an old earring and assorted beads.

We got to watch in the kitchen as the crew set up the cameras and zoomed in on my DIY-jewelry – how cool is that?!

Then it was time for the filming.

I got to look behind the scenes in the room where they direct the show.

”Hi Nosipho!” – my daughter and Elin waved to me through the camera!

They shot Elin arranging jewelry and doing the ”menu” and all kinds of TV-technical stuff which all had their own terminology.

It was fun getting to watch close hand at what goes on behind the scenes of a TV-show. 

Then it was time to get going! We sat around the table, created our own jewelry and chatted.

It was so much fun! My daughter got to borrow my camera, and she took pictures of Elin and me sewing beads during the lunch hour.

And then we shot the final images, of the finished products, and the filming was done.

We changed into our traveling clothes (we went back home to Southern Finland the same evening), packed up all my stuff and off we went. 

It was such an amazing experience! The crew at Strömsö are so nice and accommodating, and this was such a fun adventure for both my daughter and I. You all took such good care of us, even when I got a splitting migraine headache in the middle of the filming <3 Hope to meet you all again someday!

You can watch the show online here.

Here’s the article about my DIY-jewelry

P.S. …and welcome all new readers, so nice to have you here! If you’re interested in seeing more up close pictures of my jewelry, I’ll be presenting them here on this blog in the near future.

 

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Behind the scenes at Strömsö – part 2

Part 1

So this is going to be another picture heavy blog post, but I figure – so many people are home now quarantining or just trying to stay away from huge crowds, and we need nice, fun things to think about. So I’m really going crazy with my pictures from Strömsö! (also: it was such an amazing trip, so I really enjoy talking about it!)

Looking through all my pictures from those two days, I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling! It was so much fun to be invited to be on the show, and the staff there are amazing and so warm and welcoming!

And the house – the house! So full of colors and patterns and lovely details!

I feel I didn’t have nearly enough time to take in all the loveliness, but luckily I still have my photos!

I got to place some of my jewelry on other things they created during ”our show”. 

Look at those chairs! And the rugs! And the lampshades!

Who wouldn’t want to sit there and just read a book and take in the atmosphere?

We had so much fun with these two lovely ladies! My friend Sandra and Elin, the host of the show! Lots of laughter during those two days!

And I was standing there, a bit stunned – it sort of looked like at home, a table filled with goodies that we would create upcycled jewelry from. But to do that on camera! Would I even manage to make something?! Lots of unnecessary questions ran through my mind – we were in such good hands at Strömsö!

Every nook is just so cozy and inviting.

And you kind of just want to start cooking in this kitchen!

I brought half a suitcase full of jewelry with me.

I still laugh when I see this picture! Look – that is my jewelry on that table! Things I’ve created out of other people’s rubbish, and old odd bits and pieces. And I get to talk about it on TV!

Elin and my daughter were also thinking about and planning what to create the next day. We had so much to choose from!

Look – my other snake necklace, right there on the table! (btw, I made a bracelet out of the pink necklace closest to the camera)

This is my kind of spread! I haven’t got much of a sweet-tooth, but I’ve got one for this kind of sweetness!

I love the combination of rustic, vintage things combined with like things from a fancy manor! We have similar candle sticks at our house, only not so big and impressive!

And look at this couch! It’s just perfect!

We had so much fun with Sandra and Elin <3

After visiting Strömsö we went home to Sandra and had such a lovely evening. And the next day it was off to Strömsö again, for the filming! More of that in an upcoming blog post – and here’s a link to the TV-show, which can be watched online.

Here’s the link to part 1 of our Strömsö-adventure

And Part 3

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Behind the scenes at Strömsö – part 1

My daughter and I had such an amazing time at Strömsö!

We arrived the day before the shooting and went out to Strömsö to unload all my DIY jewelry, and to have a talk with Elin, the host of the show.

The Strömsö-house is amazing! It’s filled with so many lovely little details, like these eggs that I think were used for a recent program.

My daughter had a great time, Instagramming all those little details! (btw, my friend Sandra recently taught me how to use Instagram properly – I’m such a Luddite when it comes to IG, so now I’ve been having fun posting stories! 🙂 I had no idea what stories were – true story!)

The people at Strömsö had already staged the studio with a lot of DIY materials for us to play with.

It was a bit nerve-wracking looking at this table and thinking ”Tomorrow I’ll sit here and try to DIY on demand! What if I can’t make a pretty bracelet..?!” (I could, in fact I made two! But I was so nervous beforehand)

”It looks like at home!” said my daughter, and I agreed.

We often have piles of material like this lying around on tables in my room!

I got to place my jewelry among the materials, so that they would look pretty on the show.

The snake necklace is my favorite!

I brought along a couple of the crowns I’ve made.

And a lot of my fascinators!

Everything looked quite nice and inviting.

We were set to shoot in the large room in the middle of the Strömsö-house. You can see a glimpse of their kitchen through the large doors.

My jewelry all on display! I got butterflies at seeing them presented like this!

It did feel a bit daunting to be filmed while creating – usually I have total control over all aspects of what I show here on this blog and on Instagram! But I had to relinquish all control, and just try to go with the flow, which was a pretty amazing experience.

And I love, love, love strolling around the Strömsö house and looking at all the lovely colors and details!

Such an amazing house, and such an amazing creative team behind the show.

…the show’s on on Saturday & Sunday! I’m so excited!

Part 2

 

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DIY Lampupphängning

Katarina frågade hur jag gjort för att göra lampor av mina vikta blommor, dvs själva upphängningen. Jag gjorde såhär:

Jag klippte ut avlånga rektanglar av tjock kartong. Limmade dem som ett öppet U på övre sidan av blomman, och som en fyrkant på undre sidan.

Lätt som en plätt, och det syns inte när lamporna hänger från taket!

Jag lämnade övre sidan öppenså att det går lätt att trä lampan och sladden  igenom. Det var lite ”tricky” att få kartongbitarna att hållas på plats. Jag lade först en blomma på golvet, limmade fast båda kartongdelar, dvs övre och undre, och limmade sen på den övre blomman.

 

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