About living a creative life in a small commuity approximately 300 kilometres above the Arctic Circle

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Finished stuff - webwise

I've been a good girl lately. Not starting anything new and not buying anything I really don't need. The table runner is finished and photos will come later. I've dug up a three year old UFO, two place mats shaped like hearts, and hope to finish them within the weekend. But the projects I would like to share with you today haven't anything to do with crafting, or maybe they have?
The first webproject is a webpage for a friend of mine who has moved to the US. She is a singer and needed a webpage to present herself. She has included photos, reviews and audio tracks. You can even hear me playing :-). The link to May-Britt's page is here

The other project is a webpage for another friend of mine. She owns a flowershop and the goodies she treats her customers with are awesome. I've taken alot of pictures in the shop and some of the are on this webpage. If you would like to take a look it's here.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The joy of creating your own stuff

From time to time, especially when I have an access of self confidence, I design my own stuff. Do you remember Star among Stars and Liberty Flowers? The two quilts just popped up inside my head and even if I didn't knew all the details at once, I knew what exactly to do at every stage of the quiltmaking.

For the project I'm working on right now, there's a totally different story. I started the advent table runner almost two years ago. I got an idea about purple and black. I thought I had it figured out, cutting fabric, piecing half square triangles(HST) together and planning the fabric placement. I finished the piecing, took a look at it and thought: what was I thinking????

Some of the blacks weren't black enough, they looked like they belonged with the purple ones. Because of that, some of the purple ones was too dark compared to the blacks, so the overall design was interrupted. I was really eager to work on it then, but the certainty of the need of doing the frog stich (rip rip rip) killed my enthusiasm for that particular project and it was put to rest.

After I started to work on my UFO's earlier this summer, this work has been lying in my backhead, begging and nagging to be finished. So I decided to give it a try again. I picked out the squares that were too bright, too dark, didn't fit in and replaced them. Some of the squares I took out twice, because when I changed one of the fabrics in a HST, after pieced together with the others, the other half didn't look right either. Finally I got a placement that I'm kind of satisfied with. Some squares bother me still, but I've decided to let it go.

Choosing the quilting pattern hasn't been easy either. I knew from the start what I wanted in the black areas, but what to do with the purple ones? I would love to say that I can draw, but that would be a lie, so I have to rely on premade shapes. I tried out at least three diffent designs before I decided to go with my cookie cutters. I picked out a tree and an angel. After outline stiching two angels and a tree, I wasn't satisfied, so during last night I decided to remove the angels and put trees there also. I also decided to use a small star in the border. That seems too little so I have to come up with one more clever idea before I feel that this table runner has fulfilled its potential.

Why do I spend so much time on that tablerunner? I could have worked on another of my UFO's where everything is figured out and all I have to do is follow the description someone else made to make a quilter's life simpler.I could have bought myself at least three decent table runners for the cost of fabrics, thread, batting, backing etc and spent the spare time on the couch with a book. I could have discarded it and forgotten it. But sometimes, the satisfaction of finishing a project and knowing that you've created something unique, weighs up the extra time, money and thinking that particular project took. "I made this by myself, from start to finish. No one has ever made this before me." There is no better self confidence booster than that.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Finished stuff - quilted and otherwise

I realized that this quilting blog hadn't talked about quilting at all lately, so it's nice to present another finished item to you. It's nothing fancy, just a table topper that I made as a teaching example for a quilting class a few years ago. I didn't have enough of the green Jinny Beyer fabric in the border so I had to order some more. That took at least three years. And when I finally managed to order that green rose fabric, the two borders that were already sewn on was not printed in the same way as the new fabric! Luckily I had ordered enough fabric to make new borders (Normally I only buy 30 cm, this time I ordered 50!). I brought this work on holiday in July an my mother-in-law fell in love wih it right away. Everytime I worked on it she commented how much she liked colours so I told her to put it on her wishlist for her birtday in September. After a bit of polite reluctance she did it, so now we have that gift problem solved :-)

Another solved gift problem is this scarf. I intended to make it for my husband, but I wasn't fully satisfied with the colours. I'm going to make him another, but with a shade of purple instead of the beige one. So this will be my father-in-law's Christmas present. He's an 88 year old man and he has a lovely leather jacket that this will go nicely with. Colours aren't only for young people. Maybe I'll design some matching mittens also

Since returning from holiday I've been occupied with a lot of household activities. I'm not playing at the moment, have one more week of self inflicted not-touching-the-instrument- period, since I've got four more weeks of free time before the band starts up. You can not describe me as a skilled housewife. My work takes alot of time and since my husband loves to cook, I don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But I do cook from time to time and right now I enjoy spending time in the heart of our home. Today I've baked these cookies called "dreams" and they sure taste good! I used to make them several years ago, but lost the recipe. Yesterday I searched the Internet ad found a recipe I decided to try. I'm satisfied with the result and tomorrow I will continue to (probably) increase my household skills. You see, I have a recipe for a French lemon pie which my husband says is the best cake he've ever tasted, so I couldn't say no when my husband asked if I could make it this weekend. I made the dough today, it's in the refridgerator, and tomorrow, after my homemade lasagna, we're going to have lemon pie as dessert. Yum!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

At home

When you are driving from Trondheim and up north, you will pass under this arch after a while. It marks the region which is known as Northern Norway. This region consists of the the counties, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark. For me this is the first landmark that shows I'm heading home. The arch's symbol is the Nortthern Light, which is best viewed in this region of Norway.

The second landmark is the Arctic Circle. Then we've entered the land of the Midnight Sun. It's also a reminder of the land of no-sun-at-all-during-winter. Above the Arctic Circle the sun never rises above the horizon for a short or long period decided by how far north of the Circle you go.

The third landmark is when we drive off the ferry that takes us from the mainland and to the island of Hinnoey, which by the way is the largest island in Norway. If winterstorms are harsh, we're cut off from the rest of Norway since the ferry then can't sail due to the weather. Alot of foreign visitors have taken this ferry, since it is the main road to Lofoten.

And then there's the last landmark, when we've turned off the main road and driven over a small mountain pass. Somewhere up on that mountain you drive by the community sign. In Norway, whenever you go from a communtiy to another, these community signs symbolize the entrance and exit of the communities you pass.

For me, all these landmarks make me feel a bit more relaxed, a bit more comfortable and a bit nearer to where I belong. Especially when we leave the ferry, I breathe more freely. It's nice to visit the town I was brought up in, but after living in Nothern Norway for nearly twenty years, this is really HOME.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shopping and new blog

I'm definately not no-shopping this month. When living on a place with only one decent yarn store nearby, it's a treat to come to Trondheim and visit several shops with a huge sortiment. Until now I've bought some fabrics (tried to pick some fabrics I normally wouldn't choose) and yarn. The yarn in the front of the picture was a bargain. Because it had been in the window arrangement in the store for a while, I got it quite cheap. The fluffy one's are angora or alpaccaand the lime green one is pure silk! The yarn in the back is mitten yarn and that brings me to the main topic of today.

Because my mittens have caught a lot of interest around the world, I've decided to devote another blog only to that craft. You can find it here. I'll be thrilled to get visitors over there also.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Below the Arctic Circle

We've left the Arctic for a while. Approx. 150 kilometres south-east of Bodoe you pass the Northern Arctic Circle. On top of Saltfjellet, you find this monument dated 1937 - 1940. I chose to picture this monument instead of the newer one from 1990 because the WW2 is essential for the road's existence. Many prisoners of war(POW) originating from the old Yugoslavia worked themselves to death slaving for the German forces occupying Norway. If you travel north towards Fauske you find several sights commemorating the Yugoslavs and the work they were forced to do. One part of the road is actually called the "Blood Road". There is a cemitary where they got their first grave, but later they've been moved to a mutual cemitary in Trondheim where almost every Yugoslav POW who died in Norway is buried.
I admit that is a serious topic, but it's important not to forget if generations following us shall avoid doing the mistakes our ancestors did.

Now we're relaxing at a hotel before the last part of our trip. I already miss the Arctic scenery. We're a bit further inlands, and as used to fjords as I am, I feel a bit squeezed. I only get that feeling when we drive, probably because you follow the changes in the landscape more than if you travel by plane. But I really look forward to sharing pictures of my hometown, Trondheim, with you all.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

On the road again

We’re on the road again. This time our final destination is Trondheim, where my mother lives. We’re just staying a few days in Bodoe, the county capital of Nordland county. I’m working, my husband is on leave, so it’s a kind of vaction, since we only rehearsed yesterday morning and had the afternoon and evening off. Today we’ve played during the opening ceremony of Nordland Musikkfestuke and later today we’ve been given the honours of performing the official opening concert.

From Kvaefjord to Bodoe it’s approx. 310 km plus a one-hour ferry trip. The scenery is beautiful all the way and we had lovely weather. We made a stop at Kjelvik on Hamaroey and we discovered a path leading to an old cotter’s homestead. It was abandoned in 1967, when the last resident moved away. It must been quite a challenge living there. The road wasn't finished until 1986, so to get supplies, you had to walk a 2 km path down to the sea. The height distance between the farm and the sea is 300m. The farm didn’t have neither electricity nor running water and evertything had to be carried up from the sea. Talk about simple living!

Tomorrow we head south. Mosjoeen is tomorrow's destination. We will be passing the Arctic Circle and I'll take a picture of the monument that marks the Circle so I can show you all.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

From Grandma's archives

My mother's mother wasn't a wealthy woman. She left her husband in 1952 and chose to live by herself with four kids from 2 to 12 years old. She didn't have any education beyond primary school and she must has struggled more than you can imagine. She was a thrifty woman, saved everything that could be reused and even the tiniest little piece of yarn was put to use in a way.

About ten years after her divorce she bought the house her parents had lived in before they died. Her kids, at that point grownups, helped to pay the expenses. One of her sons lived with her for a long a she lived, but that must also have been a challenge, because of his chronical illness. Her economic situation improved when she turned 67 and was allowed pension from Folketrygden (the official Norwegian sosial security system). But still she used everything twice if it was possible.

Because of this, books wasn't something she put alot of money in. Probably she considered them not important enough to be prioritized in her budget. Except for some old schoolbooks and books my uncle bought, there wasn't many books for us to look through when we visited. My Grandma was a very intelligent woman with a lot of knowledge and it must have been hard for her not to be able to develop her skills further.

For her 70 or 75th anniversary she got a wonderful book from my aunt. It was a crafts book, explaining techniques and patterns in all sorts of crafts. She covered it with paper to protect it and it was almost a sacred moment when we sat down to look at the different patterns and garments. It even had a black-and white picture of a hexagon quilt. When my Grandma died, the book was given back to my aunt. But for my 30th anniversary I received a quite heavy, rectangular gift. It awas the book! Because I'm the one in our family that cares most about crafts, my aunt wanted me to have it.

Yesterday I was looking through some of my books in search of a pattern for a kind of lace knitting I'm thinking about, I found the book and opened it. The patterns where as lovely as they where 25 years ago. I decided to put all my other projects on hold and try out a couple of them. Since I haven't done any other kind of knitting the last years except for my mittens, it was quite a challenge to follow the patterns, but I did have a great time making the swatches. And it sure was nice to think about my Grandma again.