Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FREEDOM FASHION: GREY FLORAL DRESS

  This dress saves my butt during these hot days of late summer:

It is the first of it´s kind, and I designed and drew the pattern all by myself. I´m no pattern maker, so I´m positively surprised the dress turned out so well! Yay! Never before have I had a spaghetti strapped diy dress. This is too revealing for work, but it is a life saver on hot off-days!
The material is thin, well-draping viscose. With nothing underneath the dress, it feels heavenly to have the wind swish the hem around, cooling me down pleasantly.

The top part caused me to use my grey brain cells a few times. I wanted it to be loose too to maximize ventilation, but was not sure how to prevent it from looking like a huge tent. But then I realized that adding a simple strap around would do the trick perfectly. Now it is still loose, but slightly gathered.

No makeup is needed on off-days, especially now when the skin is tanned and the weather sweaty. I like to accessorize even when I´m not wearing makeup. Here the sun hat, aromatherapy bow earrings, and nailpolish separate me from shabby (I hope!  =).

DISCONNECTED

  I have just returned from an eleven-day retreat to our summer home. I staid, while the rest of my family came and went as they pleased. No computer, no internet, virtually no cell phone, and only three tv channels. I deliberately took no books or magazines, or any pass-time with me, so I could concentrate on summer, nature, and being lazy!
  While all alone there, I came to the point where I actually had hard time figuring out what to do after soaking my toes in the water. Should I lay in the hammock or have a drink? Tough.

The number one reason for going to our summer cabin is relaxing. Being able to do different things than at home, or not doing anything at all! I always enjoy sunshine. It charges me up and gives me positive mental energy. Recently there has been a lot of it, thank goodness!

The weather overall is an important factor when deciding whether to head to the cabin or not. Especially when the kids are along (which is almost always), only occasional showers are allowed. Lately it has been so sunny, warm, and nice that the only time spent indoors is when sleeping. All meals from breakfast to supper are enjoyed outside.
The cabin itself is rather small and needs renovating. Originally built in 1968, this little cutie has served three generations before us, and now awaits for our gentle care and remodeling (quite severe plans have risen in our heads so far). My husband is a carpenter, so only our imagination (and the county´s regulations on the size of the cabin) sets the limit to what we can do.
Nature and the sea is the reason we bought this place. Being on a small island, surrounded by the sea, right off the coast creates a magical atmosphere. It´s like no harm can touch us while out there. Like we´ve entered a sub-universe, only available to us. A safe haven.
One day, when I had the privilege of staying there alone, I decided to go rowing our smaller boat. This is initially meant for my husband and son´s use for fishing, but there has been so little fish around the past two years, that the boat does not smell fishy at all. I hate the smell of fish...
The waters around here are difficult to navigate in. This is what it looks like under the surface too. Big rocks everywhere. I have yet no desire to learn boating any more. I´m happy to get to the cabin and back, and row a little occasionally. But I do dream of a kayak!

This pretty little decorative lighthouse stands in our neighbor´s property.

Seagulls are so pretty when in their natural habitat! (And so disgusting in cities and dumpyards. But I do recognize it´s our own fault they go there, after a free meal.)
And then it´s time to enjoy the sun again, doing nothing.  =)

On a hot day it is essential to hydrate oneself properly! This drink only consists of grapefruit soda and lime wedges, but would well take in a splash of gin too.

Every perfect summer day ends with a gorgeous sunset.
  I´m totally loving this summer!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

LITHA FASHION COLLECTION

  Here it is, finally, the whole of my diy Litha wardrobe at a glance:

"The Biker Boy". (I ditched the original diy jeans because the fabric ended up stretching a lot in use. I have not yet had time to make another pair, so for now I settle for my pair of demi curve Levi´s.)


"Minnie Mouse".

"National Dress of Nelland".

"Nautical Polka Dots".

"The Pirate". The cropped pants look really wide here, which they are not quite so when worn.



  I call this mission accomplished! (For a perfectionist there is always room for little fixing here and there, but is important to keep evolving, for the better that is.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

PERFECT SUMMER BITES

  After dinner today I went outside with my kids to hang out and enjoy an awesome, warm summer evening. First we headed backyard to see how the wild blueberries are coming. You know, if by any chance we could get a super-healthy dessert! Here´s what we found:

Loads of ripe blueberries! Yay!

The recipe: pick a handful and pour in to your mouth. Repeat for about twenty times. I like blueberries the most straight off the shrubs, with nothing added, eaten in the forest. They are true superfood.
  Then it was time to hit the kitchen garden. Another pleasant surprise was waiting for us:

Yum! The first strawberries have ripened too! I´m a lazy gardener, and have little interest in watering my plants. No surprise, not many things grow with never-seen-before success in my care. But strawberries are ones that do. And I love them!
The recipe: Pick a deep red strawberry, lift it up in sunlight, and take a big bite. Can summer taste any better?

  With my stomach full of perfect summer bites, I found yet another feast. But this one was for my eyes only:

Goutweed blooms so prettily in our yard. My daughter likes to smell all flowers now, so she was the first one to stick her nose in it. Only a month ago I was still collecting the small and tender leaves of goutweed into my smoothies, and now it continues to please me. I´m glad we have these natural "flower benches" in our yard. No effort, only joy.

So much beauty (and health) lies in weeds!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

LITHA FASHION: THE PIRATE

 The classic, positive, non-throat-cutting one that is. My pirate inspired outfit for Litha is definitely a must in my garderobe. It is a happy outfit, especially good for sunny days.

  This is no ode to the real pirates of today, or the past for that matter, but for the imaginary characters we´ve all read about and seen on screen since childhood. The ones that always seek glorious treasure chests, fight with swords, and make tales fun and exciting!


With a little imagination (or too much rum) I can just feel the ocean breeze in my face wearing this!  =)
Back to reality... The only trick in this outfit really is the cropped length of the pants. A pirate often strolls in shallow water, and she needs to keep her clothes dry.

Unlike in the design, I left out the white stripes at leg hems. They would have been too cartoon-ish in real life.
"Ahoy there! Any signs of riches yet?"

This look is all about pure classic style. Nothing more is needed.

Makeup is fresh and classicly feminine with the bright red lipgloss. Initially I wanted big golden "basketball wife´s" hoop earrings, but I have not yet found the perfect pair. So I opted for these happy bow earrings. Why not wear cool eucalyptus essential oil with them to set the right energetic mood for pirating?!
  My pirate look is a more friendly one that what is often seen on screen. After all, I do not want kids to run away screaming when they see me. I rather go for the kind seen in Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas (in 1974). What great summer fun!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

LITHA FASHION: NAUTICAL POLKA DOTS

  Nautical style is awesome for Litha! The bright white, red, and blue are so fresh when combined, that they tune in so well with the colors and energy of nature. Not that there´s an abundance of bright red outdoors this time of year, but nature is clad in it´s strongest, deepest, and brightest colors now. Just taking a look at the trees or grass is proof enough. What vibrant livelihood they possess!

  That vibe is my inspiration for the entire Litha collection, and is the primary energy behind this nautical styled outfit too:

Check out the whole story (with more pictures!) on my column, Nelland Living, on PaganPages.org.

Monday, June 30, 2014

SAVING MONEY ON TOWELS

  There are some things in life that I just take for granted. Things like the fact that my car runs, that there is always toilet paper in the closet, that the smoke alarm batteries have power, and that there are always enough clean towels at hand. You know, things that usually work without further effort, but when they don´t, it feels extremely annoying.

  When we bought our summer home three years ago, one of the first things I did was got us a nice matching set of towels there. Our daughter was already on her way then, so I knew to buy four matching towels.
  It all went fine at first, and the sauna looked cute with the tone-to-tone towels hanging there. But then after only a few months my husband someone lost two of the precious (and expensive and high-quality!) towels! Lost, forever! At first I was mad, but as a nice wife and an understanding person =) I kept it all in, and then only regretted to have spent all that money on something as silly as towels. Life is for living, not worshiping material...

  This summer I finally did something I have planned on doing for years already. I asked around my family and friends if they had any mismatch/unused bath towels to spare. I wound up with eight. Eight hideous, brightly colored, wildly printed bath towels, that nearly hurt my eyes to look at.
  I bought a pack of machine washable black dye, and loaded the washing machine with at least double the recommended weight of towels, and pressed "run".
 The end result? Beautiful evenly colored dark grey bath towels totally suitable for our summer cabin use!

Dark grey suits the surrounding nature so well here!

Towels are made of pure cotton, which absorbs the dye perfectly. The only parts left in their original color were sewing and embroidering threads in some of the towels.

The color is beautifully even and alike in all of the towels (only four are pictured, four are already in use =).

Some of the bath towels are relatively thin, but that just makes them dry faster in the sun!
  My total budget for the project ended up barely reaching 10 bucks, which was the cost of the dye. The towels were free of charge, and minimum money went on running the washing machine.
  Had I bought six more of the original towels, the cost would have been over 200 bucks! So I ended up saving 190,- in money, plus a lot more in saving the nature with not buying new things.

  I´m totally happy with this project, and can recommend it to everyone!