Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer's Freckled Knees

Holy Unholy Molesauce you guys! I know I say this every summer, but damn! I don't feel like I've slept and still, time just keeps moving faster than my slow-molasses self. From sunrise to sunset, come rain or shine, every day is filled with all kinds of action and every day tens of things are left unattended and how is that even possible?

Weeds grow, the answering machine fills slowly with messages until it runs over, or rather, out of space, laundry and dishes pile up, books languish by the bedside, the word processor hums to itself...

I've probably said this over the years of writing here, but when I lived in the city, my life was so much mellower. Living in a tourist destination, trying to homestead, summers are a madhouse. 
Of course they give many gifts, mail from other Islands far away, goat milk and strawberries from friends.
A swarm of bees.

Can you imagine getting such a thing? Then imagine carrying it in a cardboard box and shaking it out like a rattle, or a box of confetti. Amelia and I have been dreaming of bees, yet never getting it quite together this spring, until suddenly everything lined up just right. Of course, they still have to accept their new home, but barring that we could soon have a new little colony of pollinators, a lovely swirling mass of insects.
Friends from afar wearing Fireweed And Nettle in their hair and on their ears.
IMG_3346  IMG_3361
Taking such advantage of the summer's bounty.

And, whaddya know, wearing clothes.
Shop days inspire me to look nicer and more put together than I usually would, which is fun.
I'm really enjoying shopping in my closet, the warmer weather and all the clothing choices it brings and wearing my own little crafts.
Yesterday, Elisabeth and I were talking about how crafting can be such a zone-out. A moment of pure non-thought. A gift, for sure, when your mind is just constantly racing from one chore to the next.
 And tonight, hopefully, sleeping in the forest. Sleeping outside is such a summer essential, like night swims and bonfires.
What's on your summer list? Best summer gifts so far?

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Not So White Room

Over the years, things sure have changed at this blog. It's become more and more vocal, less ephemeral, more wordy, less about cute things, less nervous, more me.
little red riding hood, large postcard or poster, watercolor
While I'm still processing how much and what kind of content I'm comfortable with, I feel like I'm well on my way to getting my bearings.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have thought twice about promoting artists and vintage sellers and herbalists who's stuff I used and liked. Now I wonder.

From shameless self-promotion (Something I feel I've always been rather terrible, yet feeling like I'd rather be too modest, than overly-confident, or self-absorbed.), to giving shout-outs to friends, family, blogs, or independent sellers I like, I feel I'm treading a fine line on inspiration vs. consumption.

And yet. I feel like I make it very clear that I believe in looking at one's consumption is an important part of a meaningful, alternative, radical life, I spend relative little money on things, I buy local, used, I mend, fix and make...

What I'm trying to say is, if you see something here you like, think about how much you might want it, need it, how practical it is, how much joy it'll bring you how fiercely you'll love it in times to come. Think about what else that money could buy. Good food? Something you need more? Something someone else might need more?

If you have to buy, buy wisely. Buy what you love. Buy from artists and independent sellers. Buy according to your tastes and not someone else's trends.

So now that we've got that "this is an ad-free blog, or is it?"-thing covered, I wanted to give a shout-out to an amazing artist who's work I discovered through etsy-trawling recently and who's art, I'm not kidding, looks like it's from my dreams.

yellow raspberry, summer forest, watercolor postcard
There's something about Olga's paintings that reminds of my childhood in the 80s (yeah, the other side of the 80s aesthetics!), of Slavic melancholy, endless days at the summer house, of half-forgetten ideas, dreams, Japanese books...
baby owl, watercolor postcard
Her prices are almost as amazing as her work and though I never invest in decorating my home (pretty much all of our stuff is whatever was free/available), I figured getting a few of these cards would be okay.

Over the years I've gathered a mighty, if small, selection of artworks that has a rotating display in our few little rooms. Not being a minimalist, I definitely have more art than I can expect to hang at any given time, yet small wonders like these are to me what really makes a house a home. From postcards, to print, to paintings, sometimes they've been the only permanent thing I've owned and therefore they represent my own space to me much more so than furniture, or vases, blankets and other more three-dimensional things.

coniferous trees (pine, spruce, larch, yew and juniper) poster or large watercolor postcard

I don't know about you, but I feel totally different from buying art than buying clothes and accessories.
True, I'm still buying things, but I feel like  I'm investing in something less tangible, more lasting, less vain.

my japan serie, mother with a sleepy son, large postcard or poster, watercolor

For a dollar fifty, plus shipping, I get to dive into this etherial world. Somehow, even though they're a little more minimalist, a little more washed out then I'd typically go for, these pictures feel like a forgotten part of my own imagination.

herbs  (peppermint, rosemary, dill, thyme, purple basil) poster or large watercolor postcard
And don't worry, I've expanded my matching grant program of clothes shopping to all "frivolous" purchases. For the price of these cards, a non-profit entity of which I shall blog another time received the same amount.

pine cones, summer forest, watercolor postcard
After all, what's the point of collecting pictures and pieces of nature, if your dollars can't also go towards protecting it?
fox watercolor postcard, forest animals for children

Tell me, who's art are you admiring?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Solstice, Ladybugs and Turkey Birds! Or my last few days with Amelia. Also, reality checks.

Yeah? Well, that's an accurate description of the contents (or lack thereof) of this post.
Happy Solstice everyone! I'm wishing it a little early, because this time on Solstice night, I'll be in Portland celebrating a dear friend and her honey getting hitched. So whatever you do, if you're on the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the shortest night of the year! Oh and if you're not near the Arctic Circle, know that your nights are pitifully short. Just thought you'd like to know.

I also feel like now would be a good time for a little reality check. These photos are so totally set-up. I do not ever traipse around the woods playing the uke. However, as the saying goes, every good lie contains a seed of truth, and I have in fact taken up my long forsaken little baritone ukulele, inspired in part by dear Anne. As I was setting out to get pictures of my new headband-creation, a passer-by mockingly remarked "Well, all you need is a guitar to get ready for Woodstock.". What did I do? Turned back around and re-emerged from the house with my uke. Take that random outfit commentator!
Oh and if you're wondering about my pink hair, it's not just a trick of the light, but a trick of rather excellent hair-chalk. I actually highly recommend this to anyone who's blondish. It worked awesome for my blond, frayed tips.
Speaking of photoshoots, Amelia and I had a little one of her jewelry and my vintage last sunday. The height of hay season doesn't exactly mix with having close-ups of your face taken, but we did okay and the necklaces and earrings brought the gorgeous, so keep your eye out for Amelia's creations online.
Oh summer. How you have begun. You're a parade of wild delights and barely domesticated joys. Not to mention epic sniffles and red eyes galore. Because, folks, it's not all a frolic through the fields. Not without a lot of snot, sweat and tears.
From deer and rabbits, to bachelor/gay turkeys, butterflies and vultures and Rufous hummingbirds and lady bugs, to bees in a beautiful top bar bees, creatures are afoot, awing, aswim...
 That same sunday we helped a new friend and bee-carer, to check her hive, which is just a little insight to the disparities of our lives, modeling, bee-checking, you know...
Look at the chain of Female Bees (also known as Worker Bees) building their hive together. So gorgeous. I forgot to get a shot of the hive itself, but it has a lovely little picture window on the side for observation. I can't wait to go back and check out their progress through it.
IMG_3031 IMG_3038
And nothing marks the start of summer like schlepping a ton of your gear, food, fishing poles and instruments from this Island to a whole different one, to celebrate Schlepstice Solstice in style.
After shipping off our partners to do just that this morning, Amelia and I sat down for a relaxing beverage and planned for an evening of  macaroni and cheese and some light reading/movie watching. In our separate, quiet homes. So long as they come back in good spirits, there's pretty much nothing better than a few days to yourself without your significant other.

Be merry, make magic, burn bonfires! I'm off to my mac and cheese paradise!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Island Time

This life. Is like a double rainbow. And stuff. You know. Magic.

What I'm trying to say, is that I'm really enjoying it right now.

I feel like this is the first summer in a long time I actually have energy to do the things I want to/ need to do. Likely it's a combination of not having a day job and having my body finally start moving away from the long infestation of mold. Rebuilding my immunities seems to be a long, ongoing process, with lots of backsliding. Last month I went through a bout of asthma, now suddenly my skin is breaking out.

At times I can practically feel my body struggling to cleanse itself. Some things that I took to be the effect of aging are reversing, only to be replaced by odd rashes, lung issues, strange stomach things. All in all I feel good, happy, excited and energetic, but I don't feel balanced physically.

I go through these cycles of intense physical problems that appear unexpectedly and then vanish never to return again. Things that didn't bother me last month, don't agree with me this month. Allergies, food sensitivities, skin issues, come and go.

A year ago, this would have (and did!) made me frustrated, or depressed, but this year, it seems more like an interesting puzzle, something I can and will figure out.
In the last year, I feel like I've not only made strides in recovering, but also in learning how to really do good self-care. I've expanded my herbal knowledge, delved a little into different practices, the latest of which is Ayurveda (more about that later!) and feel confident about being able to treat myself with food, herbal medicine and seek help where I need it. For the first time in a long time, I totally trust my intuition about this stuff, and weird ailments or not, it feels good.

Not only do I feel energetic, I also feel really inspired to make and create things, big and small. In the last week, I've made tinted lip balm, vegan ice cream, herbal oil, leather stuffs, birthday cards, introduced a Gua Sha practice to my daily routine, and started some exciting sewing projects. Not to mention the endless weeding.


My favorite little creation so far have been these little Icelandic Houses/ Mountain Range hair clips, that I made on a whim the other night, when I was feeling bored with feathers. I was really pleased by how they turned out.
Oh, and in other exciting and inspired news, I had a bit of a breakthrough in writing my clothes post, so hopefully I can get that up soon too. The longest night of the year is almost on us, so there should be no end to projects I can finish. Right? 'Cos magic. And stuff. You know...

So, what are you working on?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wild Strawberries

Are my favorite summer treat. And my favorite Bergman movie.

Are wild strawberries a viable summertime food source? Not as such, but they're a delectable treat while you ramble. If you happen upon a mega patch of them, you can always dehydrate them and add a small sprinkling to your granola, (vegan! more about ice-cream alternatives later, but let's just say that after nauseating trial and error, I've perfected a few recipes) ice-cream, oatmeal. These little guys have much flavor to give.

In classic Scandinavian manner you collect them on a stalk of grass.
As for PNWs very own delicacy, salmonberry, it definitely can exist in quantity big enough to make jelly or jam from. 
This year we've just been snacking, but I also like to utilize the leaves in a delicious tea-mix, with raspberry and blackberry.

Delicious, if diuretic. Don't drink too much of it.

My friend Kristiina wrote the following comment on my last wild food post, explaining how to make the syrup RAW without cooking! Epic. Make this stuff guys. I'll try to find more tips before the season's over and hope for sun. Thanks Kitti!

"Even better! We just did our syrup RAW, without cooking! Meaning: place a layer of fir tips in a glass jar, then a layer of sugar (we used organic brown cane sugar), then a layer of tips, then sugar....until the jar is full (we had a huge 3 liter jar). Then you simply place the whole jar in the sun and turn it around about once a day, so that the sun reaches all the corners of the jar. Very quickly you will perceive a miracle: suryp starts forming at the bottom of the jar. Then you just sieve the suryp out into small jars for storing! It isn't super thick stuff, but very tasty and this way all the vitamin C etc is saved as well! Very good as cough medicine!"

So what's coming up in your neck of the woods?

disclaimer: If you're planning to poison yourself by eating the wrong stuff, I'll be so sad, but I won't be held accountable. Okay? Good. You're a grown-up. Whee!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Small Town Moon

I won't bore you by waxing lyrical about the joys of home. It's a well-worn subject around here. And that sometimes you gotta leave it for a while to love it even more. But, as I exhaled deeply, walking off the ferry, I never wanna leave again, I remembered that summers are for adventures, for sleeping in the mountains, for cities and rivers and roads.
For now though, I couldn't be happier digging into the earth, digging into work, marveling at the flora and fauna.
Huge welcome-home bouquet.


Less words. More photos of birds.

Hanging out with my buds.
Taking pictures of my feet.


Motley crew.

Leaving parties early to read a new book on Sylvia Plath and craft while I watch West Wing.




This is why there's no pictures of cats.

Delicious hippie snackfoods.
Hanging out with my darling.

New friends and shocking surprises. Like that this lady artist/farmer/brand new Island Next Door-er, Brooke took the same train home from Cali as me. I was rather shocked and delighted to see this gal, who's banjo playing I admired all the way over the mountains, sitting on Nitsan's lawn.

Connections. Right?

Shop days.

Wearing clothes.
Charms from Sadie and Nicole.
Marimekko shirt gifted by Ms. Mindy.
Stocking free weather.
Pressing flowers and drying herbs.
And laundry.
Beach life.

I have so many ideas for posts, but right now I'm back to work tackling and fishing and baiting my two last pieces about clothes, doing research and clarifying concepts.

There's so much summer life waiting outside the door, weeds growing, wildcrafting, wedding decorations, leather crafting, making cosmetics and concoctions, friends. Is sleep optional, guys?

How's your summer?