Friday, April 29, 2011

Funeral and wedding

I have been to the funeral of my grandmother today, so there has been no blogging.

I just came home and I must admit I have tried to catch up a bit on the royal wedding (I am sure my grandmother would not have disapproved - she loved reading about the royalties). The dress is stunning! I am getting married this summer and my dress will also have a lot of lace on it, and last weekend my soon to be mother in law offered me to have her veil which is beautiful. Seeing how beautiful Kate was makes me want to do something similiar with a tiara, but since I have no crown jewels laying around, I suppose I will have to turn to ebay...

(From our invitations)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekend is around the corner

Weekend is just around the corner. I know this week has barely started before it is over, but I still look forward to the weekend.

After all... there anything as nice as taking a nap in the sunshine...

...lingering in the sunroom...

...enjoying a nice glass of wine with some friends...

...while night falls...

...and watch the moon rise over the lake?

I think not!

Although, this weekend will not start on a happy note as my grandmother will be buried tomorrow. I have very mixed feelings about it, because she had a long and adventurous life and I think she was happy to let go, but I still miss her a lot. 

On Saturday some friends are coming over and we will celebrate Walpurgis eve with a bonfire, a choir and dinner. I will make a post about this tradition.

(The pictures in this posts are actually two weeks old by now, because it has finally begun to be green outside and the ice is gone from the lake.) 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The mirror

As a follow up on yesterdays post, I want to tell you about the mirror.

The mirror that we have in the "church" is really very tall. It is 2 m x 3 m, which would be 6,5 x 10 feet if I am doing the conversion correctly.

It's quite funny how it ended up in our place. Three years ago, when we had just bought the house and before we could move in, I spent some time planning how to furnish it because I was so eager to finally have all this space and I placed a big mirror in that room thinking that it might be something I could create.

When we moved in other projects took over and I forgot about the mirror plan. 

About two years later there was a sale at one of the hotels in town. They were redoing their restaurant and lobby and was selling everything, so we went there and got some really good plates, some glasses and a bunch of other kitchen utensils (and was too late for a huge, wonderful chandelier).

On our way out I saw this huge mirror on the wall and asked if it was also for sale. The woman in charge confirmed that it was - if they could get it down without breaking it (they had obviously already broken a similiar one). She took my number and promised to call and let me know.

She called three days later, telling me that the mirror was mine for the price of 50€ (about 73 USD) but that I had to pick it up as soon as possible, preferably the next day.

I had no idea on how to do it, because obviously a 6 square meter (about 65 sqft) mirror without back support is not something you can just put into the car. I briefly considered renting a big car, but my father talked me out of it because the risk of the mirror breaking was just to big.

In the end I called a local glass manufacturer that transported the mirror for me on one of their special cars. The transportation ended up costing about three times as much as the mirror itself, but even at a total price of 200€ I think it was worth it. The mirror is really huge and it totally transformed the room and I think it is funny to think that is has been in that hotel lobby. I love pieces with a history, and it doesn't always have to be old histories to be interesting.

As you can see, the furniture is different on these pictures. I used to have it like this before I switched places of the dark and the white sofa.

Although the room is so much better than before, I am still not satisfied with it. I think the main reason is that there is only one window and I do not like rooms without windows. I would like to put in another window at the same wall as the mirror, but I am not sure that would look good. I would also like to take down the wall to the left, but Darling disagrees with me, so I guess it will have to wait.

That was the story of the mirror. I really hope we wont have to move it, because I do not think we can do it ourselves without breaking it.

This definitely tops my list of impulse buys that caused me problems with transportation, but it is far from the only occasion when I bought first and considered the logistics later. Please tell me that I am not alone!

What is the worst thing you have ever moved or transported? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "church"

I hope you have all had a fantastic easter. Mine have been spent with sunny days and a lot of work in the garden. It's been lovely and I will share some projects soon, but first something else.

I have unintentionally broken the most important blogging rule of all - I promised to share something that I then forgot. Or, to be honest, I did not forget, but I wanted to snap better pictures and constantly forgot it (since I am in the house only during the weekends, I can not just snap a picture whenever I remember it).

It's now more than a month since I shared the before pictures of our living room, aka "the church", and now - finally - here are the pictures of how it looks today.

(That is not really true, because I have already re-arranged things a bit and I realized I had to share these pictures before they too became old.)

I really did not like this room when we moved in and because of the high ceiling I was not sure how to paint it. For almost a year it looked like an impossible project, but then eventually, we had some profesional help and the room turned out brilliantly. 

If you look at the before picture, you can see that we also changed the bannister. The official reason was because we wanted a touch of New England style, but the true reason is that they seemed to be a pain to paint. I am very happy that we did change them though, because not only do they look great, they were also something of the first that we built together for the house (basically Darling building/creating them and me paiting).

Quite a difference, isn't it? And yes, that mirror is huge!

(I'll probably link this to abeachcottage - as usual on wednesdays)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy easter!

I have not seen this on many other blogs, so I am thinking that it might be a local tradition. In Sweden, it is common to pick or buy some birch branches and decorate them with colored feathers. After some time, the leaves will appear and on those years that spring is early in the season it is always such a joy to see those small green leaves.

I like to decorate a little bit for easter, but this year there was really no time. The weather has been so brilliant that I have spent all my time outdoors with various time consuming projects (I will show you soon) and I only put the easter decorations up yesterday.

There is also a tradition that the children dresses themselves as "easter witches" in old, colorful skirths, blouses, aprons and with red chins and freckles and then visit their neighbours to give a "easter letter" - a drawing - and in return get candies. As our house is right out in the country side and there are no kids around, I do not expect any visitors, but I am thinking that it is still a perfect excuse to buy some easter candy. 

I am off to enjoy yet another sunny day, and I wish you all a very happy easter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

IKEA-hack: Salt and pepper

I came across these two small glass jars at IKEA yesterday. They were on sale so I do not know what they are called, but they were about eight centimetres high. I decided that they could make good salt and pepper pots to use in the sun room. I needed new ones, because I constantly forget to bring out/back the ones from our kitchen table.

The project was very simple - I used a nail and the hammer to pinch holes in the lid. The holes came out pretty big, so one will have to be careful when using them or one will get very spicy or salty food, but becuase of the size I think people will understand that they need to be careful. 

One hole for pepper, six holes for salt.

I filled them up. Luckily we had a lot of pepper at home so I was able to fill both. 

They're a bit big, but I think they work great for outdoor dinners. They look big and sturdy enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Duvet covers

I admit that this is kind of a strange topic, but I have a strange question.

As most of the interior/DIY blogs I follow are from the states, I have come across what I suspect is a cultural difference when it comes to bed linen. I know about the usual difference between a sheet + blanket that is popular in southern Europe or a duvet cover where you put the blanket/comforter inside the cover that is common in northern Europe, but I only recently realized that there seems to be a difference in how the latter is used.

Several blogs have discussed where to buy cheap duvet covers, and the main point is that most people seem to buy only one.

I have used several dictonaries to figure out if they mean something else, but it seems like it's the same thing as I mean.

And we have about twenty different ones.


I admit that it is a bit much, but I find it so nice to be able to change the style of the bed just by changing the linen. And sometimes I need at least three different ones so that I do not have to wash them straight away. I guess that if you have one you will have to remove it, wash it, dry it and put it back on on the same day. It sounds quite time consuming to me, but then maybe it's just because I am not used to it.

And anyway, my point is not to judge, only to point out what I find to be a fascinating cultural difference.

(And to show off the new ones I put on today. We got them as a christmas gift and they are not our usual style, but they fit quite well.)

About blogging

I have to admit a few things about my blogging.

First, I never, ever thought it would be as time consuming as it is. I have been blogging privately for 5+ years, but a blog that requires longer posts and more picture really requires a lot of time.

Secondly, I have noticed that many blog owners are stay at home mums or running business closely related to their blogs. I do neither of this, I work as and IT-consultant, travel all week and kind of live in two places (which is why I frequently forget the memory card with the pictures) and sometimes there is just no time (or connection) for blogging.

Thirdly, I still havent gotten into the habit of writing several drafts that I can upload any day I do not have the time for the blog. I know I should, but I just havent. So when, like yesterday,  I get sick and have to stay in bed, there just wont be any blog post. I am working on this.

I am thankful for all that bears with me. I am still learning and things will improve, that's a promise.

But for now, I will leave you with some nice flowers and simply tell you that the weather here is amazing and I just had breakfast on the porch. Later today I plan to go to town to get more flowers to plant and I am impatiently waiting for the ice on the lake to break.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easy easter decoration

I found this idea on Betz White blog about a year ago, and fell in love immediately. Unfortunately I could not find neither the same kind of branches not the felted balls, so I had to make do with something similiar.

It's probably the easiest project there is. Get a bunch of branches, some felted balls (or small pompoms, as in my case) and glue them onto the branches.

The bright colors make me smile.

(But I do think that I might make a similiar thing with white or pale pink ones some day...)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tearing down the plank

The family that lived in the house before us had two children and I think it was because they wanted to make it possible for the kids to play land hockey that they installed this patch of asphalt in the middle of the garden. The road leading to the house is made of gravel and having grown up under the same circumstances, I can definitely understand why they wanted some solid ground to play on.

At one side of this is a plank that is not very good looking. I wanted to take it down years ago, but Darling kept saying that he wanted it to play tennis against so it remained. Now, three years and maybe two tennis play times later, I decided that the plank had to go.

As you can see, it's not really adding to the view.

Getting it down wasn't hard, but we wanted to keep it as a deck to sit on, and flipping it and putting it in place took some muscles I didn't really have. But we managed!

I am still not sure how I will use the area. I will have to work with the rough asphalt and add some kind of greenery to it. At the moment we are considering having our wedding here (in tents of course) because that means we do not have to buy any flooring.

I had planned to build some kind of boxes out of wood, but then I found these "stones" (I do not know the english word of it) and decided to just put them on top of each other and fill it all with soil. It did turn out quite nice, and I am sorry for not having a picture of the finished result - I think it is in my other camera - but for the moment there are only a couple of spring flowers in there. As soon as it gets warmer, I hope to add some bigger flowers and create some height. We'll see if it works out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More from the sunroom

Thank you for the comments on the sun room. It is still not entirely finished, I would like to put more things on the wall and at some stage we also have to isolate the floor so that the cold air can not get through.

Here are some pictures that show how it looked last summer (and I am afraid the weather is also quite typical summer weather).

I had a hard time getting those chairs, because I saw a full set with the "square" ones at IKEA one day, but didn't pick it up because I wasn't sure that's what I wanted. The next day I returned to the store, went to the dining area and find that they are gone. So, I ran to the "bargain corner" (I have no idea what they call that abroad or if it even exist in all countries, but basically that's where they put the things that have been out on display or discontinued). As I get there I see people taking the set right in front of my eyes, but I was able to snag two chairs. I hang around for a while and the guys that got the table eventually changed their mind so I got it from them.

So, I had a big table and two chairs. And the line was discontinued so there would be no more. I searched almost all IKEA warehouses within 200 km, but the only place they could be found was at IKEA headquarter which is quite far from us.

Instead, I found another, similiar line that they still had at one of the warehouses in Oslo where I work. So, after work one day I got there, and had a really hard time finding the chairs and all the while remembering that the site said that there would be only four of them left. I eventually asked a girl there, and she led me to them and must have thought I was crazy when I almost threw myself over them to prevent anybody else to snatch them up.

This year I saw that they still have them, but six chairs in total is enough for the table.

Below is some picture from Saturday when we had the first barbecue for this year.