Not as carefully finished as I would have wanted, but still in time to post for this week’s Illustration Friday: the theme was “Shelter”, so I felt I could not skip it.
This past Christmas, instead of giving things, I made promises. I still haven’t finished my list of new year’s resolutions, but I already have this one entry: keep them — and I’m looking forward to a little bit of reading, sewing, knitting, walking and picture taking every month for the year to come.
My dad and I are going to read a book of his choosing every month and share our impressions. As a warm-up, he lent me his copy of Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell. I read the first half on a train journey across France during the holidays, and after a short interruption to devour a delightful essay in praise of home lovers, I finished it yesterday.
I liked the first half best, because it made me curious to see where the story would go, while I thought the second half was a bit more predictable. My favorite thing was the setting – did I mention already that am a sucker for the forests of North Sweden and islands in the Baltic sea? – and I also quite liked the main character.
What about you? Do you have any books to recommend?
Where do you get ideas of books to read? I spotted many novels I’d like to read in Ida’s reading lists recently.
Also, I really liked this post today.
The temperature dropped down to -23°C/-9°F last night and when we woke up, before sunrise, the inside thermometer read barely 10°C/50°F. But the wood stove was soon roaring, hot cups of tea were poured and porridge was bubbling.
By the look of things, there’s no point trying to open the front door: frozen!
I spent the morning finishing my book and trying out some knitting tricks. I went back to my watercolor lettering experiments in the afternoon. Cleaning and straightening up a couple of calligraphy nibs was definitely useful to avoid ruining the paper, but did not solve the annoying ink (well, paint) flow problem I had. The paint kept forming a drop at the back of the nib instead of flowing onto the paper, which back in the lab, I would have called a surface tension issue – typical! Dipping the tip of the nib in soapy water did the job. If anyone knows about unwanted long-term effects of adding soap to watercolors, I’ll be really happy to know.
Now I need to practice shaping letters and layout. That’s tonight’s program, and I’m off to my desk! The house is getting (a bit) warmer, freshly baked loaves of bread just came out of the oven where they were replaced by a pot of baked-beans-to-be. Really, I wouldn’t trade this life for any other one.
Something twinkling. ‘Tis the season!
Something I didn’t get to photograph but that I did gaze at last Monday: fantastic northern lights and many shooting stars, all evening long. Luckily, Jonna Jinton, a photographer and artist who lives in a tiny village further South was outside with her camera and took some wonderful pictures.
Something I enjoyed reading this week: Sarah Menkedick’s last piece over at Vela – the motherhood part is unknown to me, but the clumsiness part definitely isn’t. More generally, I love reading Vela. Don’t you?
Something I really admire: Sandra, whose blog Lili & Folks I have been following for quite some time, is making beautiful hand-dyed linen items with local materials in the Pyrenean mountains. It’s very inspiring to see how many steps of the production process she masters and how carefully she chooses the materials she works with. This is something I really want to go towards with my own work.
Have a cozy weekend!
“Why Sweden?” people ask, and I say “I don’t know”, “long story”, or “why not?”. It’s because of that light, really. I have never been good at answering these kinds of questions.
“Where in France are you from?”
“Here is where I was born.”
“But this accent of yours?”
“Ah, yes, I got it from where my family is from.”
“Oh, so that’s where you grew up?”
“No, no, I’ve never lived there.”
“Where did you study, then?”
“Here. And there.”
“Is that where are you going “home for Christmas”?”
“Er, no, actually…”
Except for these somewhat confused conversations, I’ve never suffered from the fact that I just don’t have a straightforward answer to the where are you from question.
It feels like a wealth rather than a gap in my life. For a while — not anymore — I considered it a superiority. That was extremely arrogant, but I clung to it as a desperate reassurance that my life was what I wanted it to be – which it wasn’t.
Unhappy as I was in the lab, every time I stepped outside to make my way to the campus, Iooking at the light, the snow, and the colorful houses, I couldn’t help but say to myself: this is where I want to live, and here I am.
It’s the second winter in the little red house up North, away from the lab. It feels better than the first one. It feels good. I feel at peace with myself. I mean, have you seen that light?
Now for the what do you do question…
… well, one thing at a time.
Something to walk by while bringing in piles of freshly delivered firewood. I’m not complaining.
Some things about student life, and good advice on how to handle stress. Brought back a lot of memories. I agree wholeheartedly with point nr. 2!!!
Another thing that brought back memories about a totally different kind of stress: believe it or not, that’s actually what my phd thesis was all about!
Something colorful and delicate I could spend hours looking at: Anna Emilia Laitinen, one of my absolute favorite illustrators, has a brand new website.
One last thing! I’m having a weekend sale over at Alpha Angle before putting the shop into hibernation during the holidays. 20% off all greeting cards with the code ALPHACARDS.
Have a great weekend!
I found more photos by my friend Fonolitt in my North & South archive. Aren’t they gorgeous? As you may remember from this earlier post, these were captured in late fall in the vineyards of Champagne, France and early spring in the orchards in the mountains of central Norway.
If you’d like to see more of the mountains of Norway (I’m sure you do!), Fonolitt has some beautiful shots of fall colors in Rondane on her blog.
This series is about pairing two photos with similar textures, colors and composition — one from the North, one from the South. If you’d like to share your photos?, you’re very welcome to post a link in the comments or to email me. Do feel free to interpret “North” and “South” creatively: the difference in latitudes doesn’t have to be extreme!