Friday, June 26, 2009

Old houses of different sorts

We have summer! Yay:) As I am not made for lying still out in the sun, I spent yesterday at the open air museum in Oslo, killing two flies in one swat. In English you say 'two birds with one stone'. Never made sense to me, more likely to kill flies with a swat than birds with a stone, right? Anwyay:)

I love the old houses there. They all look different through the seasons. In the summer some of the houses have a full flower meadow on the roof!
This summer they opened another little house on the exhibit - a 'little house' on two floors! I have never seen a two story outhouse before! It makes sense, I guess, since it was made for a five floor apartment building in Oslo.
With some luck you would never have to stand in line, I guess:)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Norwegian fairytales have their roots in our nature. There are just certain things that makes sense, you know.
Any mountain cave have trolls in them, or the the mountain itself is a troll that was too stupid to get inside before the sun turned it into a craggy mountain. They were not the brightest of species. Why Norway had so many of them, I do not know.
You would expect a troll living underneath a bridge like this, threatening to eat the three billy goats on their way to the summer grazing up in the mountains.
You would expect to find Fossekallen, a variation of Old Erick (which again is the Norwegian version of the devil) living underneath this waterfall, playing his fiddle and luring people to their deaths. The fiddle was considered an evil instrument in Norway for a long time....
And there is absolutely NO doubt whatsoever that the water troll, Nøkken, is still living under here, just waiting for you to get too close so that he can grab you and pull you under. Can't you see his fingers coming up?
The story also tells us that he would sometime turn himself into a white beautiful horse. And the minute you get on him, he dives into the lake and drags you under.
Maybe the child proofing of fairytales that Disney has been doing these last 50 years isn't such a bad thing, really.... I can thank my story telling grandfather for me being afraid of the dark...
Anyway, got my last three flowers for the midsummer bouquet: forget me nots,
day and nights and
butter flowers. Good thing, too, as midsummer is tonight! The longest day of the year. No wonder we celebrate it. The opposite, the longest night of the year in mid December, is not something to celebrate. Brrrr...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More babies!

Not much going on in life, just waiting for warmer weather, having friends over, exercising again (ouch!), scrounging up the last few jobs to apply for before summer vacation takes over, caring for plants that are trying to die on me (the cheek!), taking a few quilt safaries (fabric!) and sewing here and there. Hmh.... guess it is enough going-ons for now:)
Here's what I have gotten done since last Sunday.
Three triangles! Love the little oak leaf:)
10 blocks! From left: Pie sale, Paddle wheels, Snow crystal, Lynnet's Diamond (a little wonky still) Justin's comet, Tinker toy, Coyote chase, Merry Mary, Framed Fancy and Soldiers and sailors monument.
I still have troubles with the names of these blocks..... I wonder what Jane would have called them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Removing cobwebs

Discussing depression and lethargy with a friend earlier, she told me I should get out of the house. 'You just never know who you will meet and see,' she told me. So I squared my shoulders and went for a walk today, telling myself it was NOT exercise, just movements:)

And do you know, she was right. You never know who you will meet. These weren't that strange, since it is farm country around here. However, they look sooo comfortable and content. Look at the colour of them. How beautiful.
The biggest suprise, however, was the next meeting. Just five minutes down the road, I looked up the hill and there he was - the king of the forest.
Well, age wise I guess he is more the prince... probably been thrown out by his mother this spring and looking for company. They are sooo big! Unfortunately, my road went towards him before it turned right. So.... do I continue? We stood looking at each other for a while, his ears flicking back and forth. I started forward, casually, and he, just as casually, went off stage to the left and decided to look at me from out behind a tree while I went past him, with metres and metres of meadows between us.

So I guess that is why this sign has been up by that road for a long time. First time I have ever seen moose there.
The rest of the walk was spent in wonderment of how nature takes cares of itself, even close to a big road and constant traffic. And enjoying the flowers of my childhood. These are some of the ones we used to pick for midsummer and put under our pillows. The tradition says to pick seven different flowers and sleep with them under your pillow to dream of your future husband. I think I'll just enjoy them in nature:)
This is called Mary's shoes, I think.
We call these priest collars Prestekrage.
Not sure what these are, but love the colour.
I think these are called Dog biscuits - Hundekjeks. No idea why...
Another purple one.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Circles for diamonds

Some of these Dear Jane blocks are so fiddly it makes you want to run out and howl at the moon out of sheer frustration! Even if it is week and a day until the actual full moon.

I mean, look at this! How do you even start figuring out how she made it? Fortunately there are women out there who have talents to turn the whole thing around and see things that aren't quite obvious to the rest of us.
I decided to try:) So from a circle (which looks like the fullmoon:),
we add triangles to the corners
Cut the whole thing into fours,
turn them all around and sew them together. Voila, M13 - Lynette's Diamond.
Amazing! I think quilting proves once and for all that women do have matemathical minds:) Unfortunately I don't, but I do know how to read instructions. And I can wait with the howl until the actual full moon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I am into my Dear Jane copy these days. Jane Stickle who made this masterpiece in 1863 sat and waited for loved ones coming home safely from the civil war. She made a quilt that consists of 225 different blocks, 4,5" x 4,5". That is 11,5 cm x 11,5 cm, for those on the metric system. I spend hours on one block with the benefit of hundreds before me paving the way for the easiest way to do them. She made them all from scratch, designed all the blocks herself. She even at that time managed to use different fabrics in each and everyone of them.

I am in awe. And I wonder if she ever made another quilt again. Or did the quilting while waiting for a difficult time to pass make it harder to enjoy the craft again? I hope not. She wrote 'In war time 1868' on one of the corner blocks- such a wealth of meaning in a few words on an exceptional quilt.

Waiting is hard. There is a lot of empty spaces in waiting for things you only have partly control over. So in between application writing, replies coming and for companies to understand what an incredible catch I would be for them:), I delve into the world of Jane Stickle.

I have spent most of today with all the paperwork for this quilt. You have to keep good records to not mess with the color structure and to make sure you don't miss out on any of the 225. If you can stand seeing all the blocks I have made since the last time, there is a progress chart at the end:) Good hunting:)

A2 - One - Two, Buckle my shoe. A redone. I made it in the wrong colour the first time. Hereby the need for paperwork:)
A10 - Which points west? Totally handsewn, man! No machine sewing on this one. Deed of necessity.

A13 - Starlight - Starbright. Cute one:)
B2 - Sweet Tater Pie. I am getting these circles pretty good now, I think.
B5 - Hot Cross Buns. Does anyone remember Jane Fonda's exercise tapes and her 'Hot cross buns'? hehe
B7 - World Series. See, circles again. Almost perfect:)
D6 -Challenge. Another redo.... wrong colour.
E8 - Mama's Maze
Triangles! There are 52 of these, and nightmares all of them... I have decided to make a few every week or I will be left with just these at the end! This one is RS (Right Side) nr. 4, Dutch Apron. Don't ask me, I did not name these blocks. Neither did Jane...
And here they are, all 76 of them. 176 to go. I got my Diamond award - for the 75th, yesterday. Next one is Jubilee Award for the 1ooth block. In the end I will get my Goddess Award and a complete Dear Jane copy - my Babysteps to Happiness. Then it is just the quilting left... so.. another year or so? Good to have plans:)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Curly beginnings

Nature - you can't beat it. I was walking in the woods this weekend and came over these curly things. Aren't they cute?
Regular masterpieces!
And in the end they turn out like this:)
Ferns - covering the whole forest floor. I like them!
I like this, too:)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Joy in my garden

Living on the third floor doesn't give you much of a garden but I do have a small balcony, and I will try to grow anything in a pot. I have looked for a plantstair for years now, so this spring I bit the sour apple (Norwegian expression) and found a carpenter who could make one for me. I picked it up today!
Perfect fit. And it can stay out there. The wood is treated and I don't have to do a darn thing to it.
This is the crop of the spring. Nothing so grand yet, but it is still coldish in the air. I opted for useful crop this year, with peppers, raspberry, beets and tomatoes. Next year I will flood the stars with flowers. Many, many small pots:)
But this year, there will be raspberries!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leftovers from life

A follow-up from the house in the wood mentioned earlier. Since the house had been sitting there empty in the wood for many of years, people had been there and nicked whatever they could get their hands on. There were, however, a few remnants of lives being lived in that small red hut.
A summer hat dreaming of brighter days. Don't you love the wallpaper? It is actually cardboard - huge ones. The patterns and colours still holding.
We found this coat hanging in the hall upstairs. Was it his best coat at one time?
The stairwell had been decorated with pages from old magazines. This one had a typical Swedish christmas motive - the swedish 'tomte' doing his job of feeding the horses on christmas eve. Bjällerklang is Swedish for Jingle Bells.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Update on the Dj babies

There are so many darn cute blocks in this quilt:) Sometimes I forget that when I am dealing with small, small pieces...

M8 - Enchanted Square

M2 - Duff's Bluff

L11 - Caitlin's Rose

L7 - Town Square

L1 - Widow's Pane

C5 - Eye of the Cyclone. One of my favorites at the moment:)

H3 - Berry Basket

G9 - Mary's Journey

F3 - Snowball

B8 - Water Lily

A9 - Cabin Fever