Thursday, 31 August 2017

I've read: cloud atlas

by David Mitchell

I've come across the name of this book many times, but I guess mostly because it is also a movie. I had no idea it was by the same author as Slade House that i read pretty much exactly a year ago. I picked up this book when me and Andreas were in Japan in July, along with another book by him, actually.

So, I would say that it's good to have a little bit of an idea of what you are getting yourself into before you start reading this book, otherwise you might get really dissuaded by the first part. Especially if English isn't your first language. This book consists of several stories that takes places in different periods in time, over several hundred years, all told by different people. The stories span from being historical to futuristic and are very much a comment on human nature and behavior. 

The stories all tie together although I wont go into how  - however they way they do is in my opinion the weakest part of this book. They are all written in very different styles and a few of them takes a lot of concentration to follow. But that's also the fascinating thing about this book - and a thing that I was impressed of in Slade House as well - how Mitchell can come up with so completely different "languages" depending on who the narrator is. 

Although it took me a while to start liking this book I ended up really doing so. It's impressive. And now I'm curious to watch the movie based on it. 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

tropical bouquet

last Saturday me and Andreas were invited to a party to celebrate the engagement of two of our friends. They had specifically let us know that they didn't want any gifts, so I decided that I'll instead bring a card and a bunch of flowers. After some scavenging in the garden I found a few potentials to make up what I had hoped to be a pretty bouquet.

Turns out it was easier said than done to compose something pretty out of all of these pieces, and even harder to catch a photo of this in a flattering image. But although the 20 min bicycle ride in 30 degrees heat and headwind made both the bouquet and me look a bit worse for wear the hosts were happy with the result.

Monday, 28 August 2017

this week's plans

Good morning friends! Today didn't begin as I had planned at all, as I for some reason lay awake until 2 am last night, so I decided to sleep in a bit this morning. That meant my early start got delayed and the whole feel of the day has been quite... tired. Oh well. This Monday marks the beginning of the new school semester, during which I'll be taking two courses: one simply named illustration and the other one called visual identity from a sustainable perspective. Anyway.  Besides my courses I have a few other things on my schedule this week, and I thought it might be fun to share!

I had planned on  spending some time familiarizing myself with the courses and their schedules for the semester, but so far there's nothing on the course-webpages...
In the evening I'm going with two of my friends to a Piloxing class, always a certain way to work up a sweat...

I'll have to do some work preparing for a meeting on Wednesday. Plus I'm working on a logo for a friend of mine, depending on how much time the meeting preparation will take I hope to get some work on that done too. If there's already some work that can be done with the courses I'll try to get an overview of that as well.
In the evening Andreas and I'll go to the pool to do some laps.

Unless it has rained a lot my Wednesdays begin with a riding lesson! Directly after I have a meeting for a project I'm working on here, helping out collecting input for the rejuvenation/refurbishment of the local social club. I'll probably spend the rest of the day summarizing and preparing for other upcoming meetings in this project.
In the evening a gym-session with Andreas is on the schedule.

I'm not sure yet, but both Thursday and Friday might be dedicated to meeting for the above mentioned project. Otherwise I'll try to get some actual course work done during these days.
Thursday evenings have become my most eventful ones! After an intensive Piloxing session I just have time for a quick dinner before heading to my Salsa Rueda class.

Most likely a copy of the Thursday, depending on the status of the rejuvenation project... Except for the evening that most likely will consist of a gym session and then relaxing on the patio with Andreas, a book and a beer before dinner.

This weekend will be extra special, since me and Andreas will be driving over the border to Malaysia to stay for a night in Miri. We don't have any other plans than to buy a barbecue and relax at the hotel. It will be nice with some change of scenery, though.

Do you have any fun plan for this week?

Sunday, 27 August 2017

things I feel good about today

  • having gone through my monthly budget, being able to get rid of a few fixed costs and started automatic transfers to savings accounts
  • a friend sent an invitation to a fancy event in Malaysia in November, I'm already getting excited about going
  • randomly coming across a song from the Doctor Who season 5 soundtrack and deciding I'm going to re-watch the whole (modern) series. Makes me feel all giddy! I'm crazy about that series. 
  • Having time to just relax most of the day, deciding to skip going to the pool and just spending time with Andreas and the cats
  • a short call with my mom that reminded me I'll be going back to Sweden again in just a few weeks
  • planning this week and getting excited about my new classes that starts tomorrow

a glimpse from the garden

It's been a while since I showed you anything of the garden! Here are a few of my favorites right now, and two newly started projects:

We found an already germinated coconut on the side of the road and I decided to see if it would continue growing in a big pot on our driveway. I followed some instructions I found online and now we just have to wait and see what happens. I'm honestly a bit confused about the look of this thing that is spouting, it doesn't look coconutty to me. Oh well.

Next is my newly started little flowerbed. This is where I had planned to grow vegetables, but after realizing how crafty the monkeys are I think I will have to go for something non edible here. I've replaced the sandy earth with something that comes at least closer to planting soil and planted a bunch of seeds. I will just have to remember to water often... Hopefully we'll get loads of pretty flowers here that will steal the attention from the not so sexy AC units... 

We do have some flowering plants already in the garden though! I keep forgetting about these ones, the spider lilies, mostly because we have so many and they grow like weeds. But up close they are stunning. 

The bougainvilleas are blooming again. The bushes has grown like crazy, and for a while I kept pruning because I wanted more tight little tree-like bushes but now I've decided to just let them grow. The bushes we bought had different kinds grafted on to the main stem so it flowers in both orange, pink and yellow. Very kitschy.

Another flowering plant in out garden is the passion fruit plant! I need to tie this one up a bit better as it keeps growing with long, snaky vines. I'm also considering trying to help this one pollinate, to see if we'll get any fruit.

And while on the topic of fruit. We bought this little citrus plant - maybe a Calamondin? - and kept it outside on the patio until the monkeys took notice of the orange fruits and started demolishing the mosquito netting to reach it. Then it moved inside for a while, but it just grew so sad, I though it had died. So I removed the now dried up fruits and moved it out, to the backside of our house. After a few months of sunshine and rain it's back to its former glory and bearing fruit! So now I'll have to hide it again...

Friday, 25 August 2017

what I'm wearing

I haven't been posting an outfit in forever! I've had some problems finding a bright enough place to take the photos, plus getting dressed hasn't felt as much fun lately. But now, to motivate myself to wear "proper" clothes during the days (and not just sweats and pajamas) I'm going to try and document av few outfits every now and then. These posts are actually some of the more fun ones for me to look back on!

When I'd just moved here I wrote a post on how difficult I thought it was to figure out what to wear here. I think I have that pretty much sorted out now, and even though I'm a bit sad the greater part of my wardrobe (most of my dresses) goes mostly unused I have a few "uniforms" I return to:


Wide and thin black culottes from Indiska
Top from Lindex
Black knitted jacket from Vero Moda


Navy culottes bought in South Korea
T-short from H&M
Jersey jacket from Indiska


Shirt from Monki
Trousers from Mango
Shoes gift from Andreas

Light and airy fabrics, loose fitting and surprisingly covered in spite of the heat here. And I'm suddenly a person that wears trousers almost every day! I rarely go in shorts or skirts here. It might sound a bit strange but it's mostly because the climate here not so much the culture. If I wear a skirt I'll get thigh-rashes because of the heat and sweat and since it's usually quite chilly indoors it's nice to be covered. That's also the reason why I almost always wear a cardigan inside. I guess it looks odd that I mostly wear dark colors even though it's perpetual summer here, but that simply because I like darker colors better.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

#tbt my little black book

A few years in to my architects studies I realized it didn't do to just go around taking notes in any random notebook. Nope, you needed something to go with the architect look, of course. And, as I also was the kind of person not too ashamed to walk around in a black turtle neck and thick, black rimmed glasses ( a really good look btw, I long to wear it again!) I bought this small, black textile covered notebook. I carried it around in my bag most of the time and even though I had other bigger ones for most of my lecture notes this one had to function as a backup for when I forgot the others as well as serve as sketch book for random ideas and memories. 

I found it the other day and have been enjoying myself looking through it. I started using it 2004 and haven't written in it since 2006, even though there are a few blank pages left. Let's have a look at a few memories from those years:

during one particularly boring lecture ( about concrete and the construction of tunnels I believe) I apparently decided to draw the lecturers instead of taking note on what they were saying. 

Short notes and sketches from a lecture of project that I liked and wanted to remember.
I should look up these now.

Sketches fro a project in my third year, a church, plus some lecture notes

a more than ten year old four-leaf-clover!
I'm sure it means luck finding it a second time too, right?

More random sketches. The left one is a sketch for a house I've had in my mind ever since.
It's nothing special, just a layout I like. I think it's time I actually draw it for real.
It's fun looking back in time and remembering what life was like then. I wonder if I had continued study to become an architect if I'd known what it would be to work as one. Probably yes.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

library curtains

When we moved in to this house I suddenly had a lot more - and larger -  windows to work with than in our little urban cottage in Norway. Finding curtains that I liked here in Brunei turned out to be pretty much impossible but luckily I had quite a few old ones stashed away. At one point I'll get around to making a proper house tour for you guys (maybe once I get over the fact that I can't take real-estate agency quality photos), but so far I'll at least show you a part of the house - the "library". This little reading nook is placed just by the entrance - we don't have a proper hallway as you would in a Scandinavian house - and the space is defined by low storage units.

This space has huge windows that provides light for most of the living room, but I have never been all that happy with the curtains. The panel curtains that are hanging here are old, the black ones from our student apartment in Göteborg and the ones with the city pattern is from our first apartment in Norway, I think.

Since the space is a bit visually cluttered with the many colors of the books and artwork set against white, I first thought I wanted a monochrome curtain, or at least something with a minimalist pattern. But then I spotted this curtain at Hemtex when I was back in Sweden and even though this is reeeeeally far away from what I usually go for I can't forget about it.

This pattern remind me of Josef Frank and Svenskt Tenn and brings me back to my childhood home. Maybe it's the fact that the Lamino chair we use here is from that home or it's just because the many colors tie in nicely with what is already going on here, but I really think they would make this space more coherent. I really hope it is still available when I go back to Sweden in September...

Monday, 21 August 2017

my creative challenge #7

This post was published by accident with only some of the photos earlier last week. I'm trying to figure out my new blog-app and it doesn't behave the way I want. Just FYI... Back to the scheduled content!

I have made several "creative challenge" posts (see the Labels sidebar for more of them) before as a way to motivate myself to spend more time on creating, but I took a long time off since I haven't felt particularly creative for a while... But now it feels like I'm back! The past two weeks I've spend a little time almost every day just sketching, painting or doodling. The first week I focused on hand writing (as per my plan from this post) and even though it didn't go in the direction I had thought I ended up having a lot of fun with this! I watched a few Youtube tutorials and ended up working on two drawings where the text played the leading role.

I've also begun another little project that I might return to, where I've been trying to get to know a few little monsters a bit better. 

And this second week I've been playing around with water colors! I've been inspired by two bloggers I follow, Alicia and Elisabeth, but this week I didn't try to make anything too fancy. I've painted "free-handed" without sketching first, and I've mostly been trying to familiarize myself with the texture and movement of the paint. I've tried a few different techniques and papers and just trying to understand how the paint behaves. It's really difficult and nothing ever turns out like I plan. I seem to believe that the watercolors will function like acrylic paint, and I always use too much. But it has been a lot of fun and very relaxing. Recommended!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

stolen flowers

I think I have mentioned before that I miss having the possibility to buy cut flowers here in Brunei. I've heard that there is one place  in the vicinity where they sell them, but I haven't been there and apparently it's really expensive. I have recently bought new seeds to grow my own flowers in the garden, but if that doesn't work at least I have found out another way to change up the greenery a bit here in the house: by stealing flowers from my neighbors gardens!

Well, to be completely accurate I haven't exactly stolen them... it's more like I have helped pruning a few very overgrown bushes from the neighboring garden - where no-one lives at the moment. So I don't feel particularly guilty. And how pretty are these bright orange and pink flowers? I have no idea what kind of bush this is, but you see them in pretty much every garden here. And that little branch with leaves on, terribly cool pattern, am I right?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

dreamy garments I'm ogling right now

I have a self imposed spending-stop (when it comes to clothes) but after I saw this kaftan-post over at Anna's blog I just couldn't stop myself from browsing  Monki's web-shop for that lovely pink and green creation. I think the team behind the Monki collection is particularly good at patterns... I'm not going to buy anything now, but maybe someone wants to buy me an early Christmas gift? It's not that far away...

oversized dress with cool pattern in the best blue colors
kaftan with flower-pattern
drawstring shirt-dress in fun pattern
So, there's an obvious blue and patterned theme here. Unfortunately it seems like the pink and green kaftan I was look out for might be out of stock, that's sad. But also good because that makes not buying it so much easier...

Monday, 14 August 2017

my office

I'm slowly getting back to my normal routines here in Brunei, after a long summer break. Before my classes start in September I don't really have all that much I have to do, but I'm creating my own workdays filled (ok, maybe not filled) with work/study related things and creative challenges. At the same time I'm considering if there are any improvements or updates I can do in my home office! It's totally serviceable and quite cozy, but there are a few untidy or under utilized spaces. Most of these problem areas are hidden away in drawers that I should sort through but it would be fun to come up with a more visible project to get my motivation going.