I ended up not blogging all that much last week. Not for any particular reason, other than that not much inspiring happened, I guess. During the week I read quite a lot about CSS and HTML code for one of my courses (super interesting!) went to a pleasant birthday party on Saturday and yesterday I took a long walk on the beach and forgot to put on sunscreen (I'm such a noob!) so today I'm a pretty shade of dark pink.
Here's a photo of me from last week - pre pinkness, in front of a very blue gym mat. I'm wearing a vintage skirt, a dance-event merch t-shirt, and very pretty earrings that i should give you a close up of sometime.
I bought this book back home in Sweden when I was there over Christmas. I bought it even thou my bag already was way, way too full, partly out of fear of running out of things to read, but mostly because of this charming cover. (The octopus in spite.)
This is the story about, mostly, three people and events happening to them in the Victorian London. Mostly. One of these people is Thaniel ("my dad was Nate"), a poor-ish telegraphist working at the Home Office, but who is secretly an amazing concert pianist, although he can't make a living out of that. The second person is Grace, a rich daughter of a Lord, who dreams of nothing but to pursue a career as a physicist studying the elusive ether. The third main character is Mr Mori, a genius watch maker who can create machines that are out of this world. The lives of these three intertwine in a drama about bombs, terror attacks, marriages of convenience and well, predictions about the future.
It took a while for me to get in to this story. After a while I became more curious and started to like the setting, but I felt a distance to the characters and wasn't super invested in their fait. This feeling contiuned throughout most of the book, and when I had maybe 30 or 40 pages left I felt really quite disappointed. But, then, just in the final part, a few things happened that I hand't foreseen and I started really enjoying it. Suddenly I saw the characters in a completely different light. And I was thoroughly content with the end.
I wouldn't mind reading something else by Natasha Pulley in the future.
It's Monday again and I thought it fitting to update you guys on my studies. Aren't you super excited and curious!? Of course you are.
Anyway. Since I wrote this post I have been studying for five weeks. Three of the four courses have started, the last one will only last for the final nine weeks of the semester and thus haven't started yet. Last week I realized that I - due to me misreading something on a webpage - had missed a deadline in one of the courses. After some deliberating I have decided to drop that course (the CSS-based web design course). I took this decision partly because the workload in the other two courses would make it less than enjoyable to catch up, but also because one of the other course covers a lot of the same content. Maybe I'll try to take this course next semester or next year if it is available, or not.
Otherwise I still enjoy studying. I have some issues with concentrating on the work, it is so easy to be distracted when you work from home! I have a pretty good schedule that I try to follow, but often end up being distracted by a meowing cat or the realization that it's raining and I should take in the laundry hanging outside to dry. But it is mostly nice. I try to alternate between sitting in front of the computer and sitting outside on the terrace reading.
The two courses I'm taking right now are very different. One of them covers a very wide range of content, everything from designing a logo and creating a webpage to editing photos and understanding how we read images and layout. This course includes (obviously) a lot of literature but also practical assignments. The other course is an image editing course that in reality is pretty much a course in Photoshop. Which is great because I want to get better at using this awesome program. It's almost exclusively practical and includes a lot of video-tutorial and tips and tricks. Studying these two parallelly works fine so far and I feel smarter (...) by the end of each study session.
Wow, these past two weeks just flew by, and I can't say I've felt very creative, really! I've been on the look-out for something new to paint and found a few inspirational photos, and since I received these in the mail I've been rediscovering the fun of just sketching and doodling in black and white. I had a few plans about sewing projects but ended up mostly just tackling my "to mend" pile. Very satisfying but not very creative.
Anyway, here goes: Portrait in acrylic paint: Starting from a black background was fun and will probably result in a different look than what I usually end up with. This portrait is based on a photo I found on Instagram, but I will get back to that next time when I'm hopefully finished and can show you more.
Cat-people doodles: So yeah, I know this is in no way a unique thing, making human-looking animals or drawing a cats head on a human body, but, well, it's cute.
Sewing: Well, as I said, this was not very creative work... but I did end up mending and altering eight items of clothing and I feel pretty good about that so I think it counts, maybe not as creative work, but work I did with my hands, so that's good. Among other things I removed the sleeves from a dress I bought online from ASOS but that turned out to be a bit too small - but without sleeves it fits fine. Then I tackled this h&m dress I bought at home over Christmas. It had really strange, long sleeves but a lovely print and was made of a soft and cool fabric. Now I adore this dress and hope to wear it a lot.
Dancing people: This is the pre-work of a drawing or painting I'm planning. I want to create something with dancing people, somehow. We'll see if this turns into something, somehow.
I recently sorted out a few drawers here at home and finally ended up collecting all of my glasses at the same place. I don't think I've realized before this just how many glasses I own. To be fair I thiknk it's only about two or three of these that I can actually use now, but it is still quite a few for being bought only during a period of maybe seven years time. Especially since I found two more after i'd taken this picture. My conclusion is that I have pretty much tried every style there is by now!
I usually have one pair that i use most days and then I have two or there others that I alternative between on parties and such. Right now I only use the on on the top left and sunglasses though.
We don't have windowsills with room for flower pots in our house so I am constantly trying to figure out ways of incorporating greenery inside without being too much of a temptation for the cats. Here's a new little installment in our bedroom, made of various items bought when I was home in Sweden last year.
Last week I recieved something in the mailbox that I ordered in december...
the envelope had a bunch of beautiful custom made stamps on it, hinting on what was hidden inside...
Three limited edition Alvin pencils! This is the pencil of choice of one of my favorite artists, Mab Graves and she have chosen the color on them. The envelope also included two gifts, a small Yupo sketch pad and a Mab Graves postcard. yay!
Guys, this is seriously the best DIY I've done, when it comes to effort in relation to outcome. It's only time consuming in the sense that it takes some time to collect part of the "ingredients" but you could probably solve that. Anyway, I was inspired by various wall-planters I've seen on Etsy and Pinterest and after I'd done this one for my office window from a light-bulb I knew I wanted to do more similar ones. Problem was I didn't have any more pretty bulbs. But since I am a collector of various junk I had a solution for that! As I don't have access to any fancy hardware stores or DIY shops I have to work with what I got.
What I wanted was a way to decorate a wall in our bathroom. The bathroom isn't very big and it's a little bit "cold" as it is completely covered with light blue-grey, fake marble tiles. We have a lot of ceiling height to work with, but not a lot of space to add furniture, and as we are not allowed to drill holes in the tiles there's not a lot we can do to all of this wall space.
Here's what you'll need:
a bunch of small clear plastic bottles (I collected hand-soap bottles for a couple of months because I liked the robust quality of the plastic and the simple shape)
small, descrete adhesive hooks
Try to get as much of the labels and glue from the bottles. This is actually the hardest part of this whole project... I tried a few different methods but nothing really worked and I ended up with slighlty damaged and "cloudy" looking plastic. Oh well, you can't really tell in the end.
The next step is to attach the string to the bottles and create a little loop that the bottles will hang from. I actually didn't tie a single knot here, the glue is the only thing keeping the string attached to the bottles, but so far it has worked out fine. I only used glue on the side of the bottleneck that would end up against the wall to create a cleaner look.
And here is the finished result! I hung the bottles evenly spaced out, "climbing up" the wall o next to the toilet. This little plats installation takes advantage of the good thing in the bathroom - the ceiling height - and as the bottles are plastic and very light there is no problem for these adhesive hooks to hold the wight of them. And even it they were to fail and the plastic bottles wouldn't damage the floor if they were to fall. I am really super happy with this.
The cuttings in the bottles are from plants we had from before in the bathroom and I really like how you can see how the tiny roots is starting to grow in there.
This is a book from my wishlist! I found it via one of those "if you loved XXX then you should read this" kind of threads online and then my dear mother got it for me for Christmas. Right now I can't remember what book XXX that I liked, that in turn led me to this title was, but never mind. This is now the third (?) compilation of short stories that I've read in a pretty short time and that is quite unusual for me. I tend to go for series with preferably ten or more volumes so I can really get to know and love the characters. But recently it's been less of that, especially with the books I actually read rather than listen to.
All of these short stories in this book have in common that they have an element of supernatural in them. Some of them are complete fantasy but in a few the supernatural is just barely there. And they are all very, very different; one is about horses and presidents, one about a soldier and a massage therapist and one about vampires in Italy for example. It's impressive how one person, Russel in this case, can make up all of these so very different worlds and place the reader inside the mind of so very different characters. Impressive.
My favorite? The one about the silk manufacturers, I think.
I can't believe I've been married for a year! Honestly, I still think it feels a bit weird saying I'm married, me and Andreas were a couple for so long before we got hitched I guess this status will take a while to sink in. Plus, it just sounds so gown up! If you want to know a bit more about what it looked like when we got married and maybe immerse yourself in some of the planning I did before the big day(s) you should have a look at the our wedding category, to the right.
I don't think I ever showed you our rings, way back when, so I'll do that now instead.
Both me and Andreas are wearing plain platinum bands. In Sweden the tradition says that you both exange plain rings when you get engaged, and then the bride gets another, usually a bit more blingy ring on the wedding day. We didn't really follow those traditions to the letter, but I did get two rings and Andreas, poor him, only one. My wedding ring, is a art deco ring that Andreas bought online, from Australia. I hadn't really a set idea what I wanted, but mentioned that it would be nice with a vintage ring when we started talking about it. Andreas then did some research and showed me photos of a few (many) rings to get an idea what I liked. I think we were both equally excited and a bit nervous when the ring showed up and we got to see it for the first time. I absolutely love it. It's a diamond and platinum ring, and from the side it looks like a little crown! We waited to buy our plain rings until we recieved this one so we could find a style the worked together. They are all in platinum, partly because we wanted all of them to be in the same material but also because platinum is supposed to be more durable. I like how my two rings are do very different from each other.
I actually don't have the diamond ring on everyday, since I think it's too pretty to wear around the house when I'm just studying or doing house chores. But that just makes it even more special those days I put it on.
Time again to recap how creative I've been for the past two weeks!
To be honest, I haven't felt all that creative lately. The trip to Kota Kinabalu and thinking about this refurbishment-project that I'm now (sort of) involved in have been taking up a lot of my brain-space. But, I have squeezed in a few experiments, begun one of my "dream house" projects and finished a painting, so that is something at least! Looking back, the theme of these past two weeks have been "playing around" with different media.
Dream house 1: I'm in the sketching phase, trying to figure out the main structure of one of my ideas for a fantasy house for a friend of mine. The friend in question doesn't actually know I'm doing this so this is basically just my idea on how I think this friend in particular should live. And it's a way to get used to working in Revit again, with less resources available than when I worked and have the full version.
Pencil and watercolor horn-bill: Yeah, this isn't my best work. But I've decided to post things here that are not good, or finished and maybe even things I am a little bit ashamed off. I've decided I want a picture of a horn-bill on the wall of our bedroom, and I have also decided I want to practice working with watercolor, something I am not used to at all. It is just so hard to control and predict and I always end up overworking it. This one will not end up on a wall, but it was nice to play around.
Ten minute self portrait: Another quick experiment! This was fun, I went a bit crazy with the Pro-markers and realized pretty soon that the paper I was working on didn't suit these pens at all. The colors started bleeding and after a while I had produced a giant-eyed monster with badly chapped lips... I tried to save it with a white pencil but, well... I'm quite happy with the hair-color though!
Acrylic lady and monstera: I've been working on this painting on and off for a little while, but I've had the image in my head since Kaisa (Kobran hugger till) posted this photo on Instagram. I loved they way she looked, so bold and cool and chilled on her sofa with that pretty plant next to her. I liked the composition and wanted to recreate it. Stupidly I painted this over an old painting and the surface was lumpy and uneven, so it was hard to get some details right. I never had any other ideas with this more than that I really liked her photo (and her, she's brilliant) but as I was filling in the last of the leaves I was thinking "this is a person that writes about body-positivism and I place her next to this big and beautiful plant that has just grown and is taking over this room being all proud and showing off it's luscious greenery, it's kind of symbolic in a way". Right? I might add some more details to the leaves at some point but right now I feel I want to start something new so I'm going to let her be for a while.
Space-ey: I'm working with photo-montages in one of my courses and while I was doing that I ended up making one that didn't have anything to do with the course but that I liked. A combination of photos from Pixabay, where you can get free images with no copyright. Niiiice.
Not only did I climb a mountain last weekend, we also had time to stay one day in Kuta Kinabalu, one of the larger cities close to here, even though it's in the Malaysian part of Borneo. We did not have time to do much, but we ate some OK food, had a tasty cocktail and did some shopping in a pretty big mall. All in all a decent Sunday. I came home with among other things these pretties. Bling! Now I just have to start wearing accessories again, even if I just stay at home...
This weekend me and Andreas, plus a whole bunch of guys from his work, went hiking up Mount Kinabalu. The mountain is located in the northern, Malaysian part of Borneo, a few hours from the city Kota Kinabalu.
The hike was - without a doubt - the single most strenuous physical activity I have ever forced myself through. The first day of the hike we walked from about 9 in the morning until maybe 3 in the afternoon, with a few stops on the way. And was all uphill, going from ca 1800 meters to 3200 meters above sea-level. It was like walking up stairs for hours and hours. The camp we stayed at had proper beds and food so we had a good and well deserved rest.
The second, the Saturday, day we woke up at 1:30 in the morning to start walking so we could catch the sunrise from the summit. After about 3-4 hours we were at the top, at 4095 m. By then it was pretty cold and we didn't stay very long. We walked down again and had lunch (or actually breakfast, because by then it was about 9 in the morning) and continued walking all the way down. That day I think we walked for maybe 12 hours. And the downhill part was maybe not as bad in the way the uphill was - with being constantly panting - but it was quite the challenge for thighs, knees and ankles.
On Sunday and Monday I could hardly walk. Everything hurt.