Friday, 15 March 2013

A little house for a little one

I was asked for "a house made of sticks" while I was playing with the small ones. This is what he was left to work with as I ran out of time. I used to build these almost daily; I had an adorable little village until the mowers came out. That was a miniature scale tragedy.
They don't believe in vättar.

It is beginning to approach true spring (one more week before the calender believes me!) and time outside is simply becoming more and more delightful.  Today we shed coats and played and walked unimpeded; everything is earnest this way.  Only a few lonely clouds dotted the sky and they inspired sympathy instead of urgency.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Homemade pizza is even better

This is a wonderful lunch for catching up on reading because you only want to eat a little bit at a time. Nibbling food is good reading food. I am allergic to nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and so on) so when I make my own pizza I tend to skip the sauce. I topped this fresh crust with mozzarella, mushrooms, a little ham, cheddar, basil and oregano. Some people are shocked that you can make pizza without sauce because they think that the crust will be too dry. This is not actually an issue because all a lot of the oil from the cheese sinks into the crust and keeps it just soft enough.

Reading The Tempest for class and it has been surprisingly enjoyable; it is refreshing after the heavier tragedies.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Bright open windows

I came across these photos in a copy of Hemmets. The lightness of the space, though the colours are much more vibrant than I would them, is just this side of enchanting.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Old and wonderful things

Frequently over the years, but particularly the over the last few months, I kept finding myself thinking about a particular book I had as a young child. Of course, my story and picture books hold a special place in my heart and I started reading novels quite early, but one of my favourite books was Linnea's Windowsill Garden by Christina Björk and Lena Anderson. My grandmother found me an English translation and I am grateful to this day as my Swedish reading abilities leave much to be desired are dismal (I am practicing though, since it is quite embarrassing when you are talking with someone who then hands you an magazine article written in the same language you have been speaking and you are unable to read it properly).  To come to the point, as I thought about this book I was regretting that it had likely disappeared into the abyss of the many children who came after me but yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon it next to The Wind in the Willows. 

 Thumbing through the pages I was a bit surprised; while I had remembered much of the content very clearly I was amazed by how much it was either suited to or influenced me, that is, how much I loved it. Everything about it really still seems perfect to me, from the sketch illustrations with green added alone, to the hand-written page titles with printed notes and amendments (just like a little journal), right down to Linnea’s outfit.

Her neighbor, Mr. Bloom (a wonderful name for a retired gardener she notes) likes to draw her pictures to explain how the seeds germinate and grow, how the water cycle works and how people, plants, the sun and air all interact.  Mr. Bloom is apparently a very patient and friendly retiree because he usually follows these explanations with a "why don't we try..." that results in making garden cress cheese or a terrarium.

In many ways, this book is a scrapbook, a project journal where she records her experiences and saves Mr. Bloom's pictures. With this curiousity and particular interest, Linnea brings the mori girl very much to mind. She loves plants and that she is named after a flower but she summarizes her relationship with nature like this:

"I'm no woodland flower (even if my name is Linnea). I'm an asphalt flower. I live in the city where there are no forests or fields, but I am surrounded with green things anyway. All over my apartment- in flowerpots and boxes and cans, things are growing!"

She is very fond of her plants, naming many of them, and also of information. She is lucky to have a friend like Mr. Bloom with the time and knowledge to encourage her curiousity.  She also  has a propensity for growing kitchen foods, like garlic and cress to make cheese, and creating and growing things. She likes to incorporate her plants into miniature scenes with animal figurines and pieces of mirror (to make a lake) too! I like to do this with my figurines too.  

It is sunny today and spring is coming and I am looking forward to cleaning winter out of my garden.  Reading this book again brought me home in a way. I had not realized how unsettled I had been feeling until I was where I belonged again.

There was a fair bit of nostalgia. I also found my garden girl paper dolls, but those will be for another day.

I've missed you.

Perhaps the oddest thing about winter is that it never seems so cold until the sun sets on that first spring-like day. Canadian winters have a way of teasing like this; there is a sudden break in the clouds and several days of warmth and light and then the temperature falls back down. There comes such a deep and unwarranted chill over everything that the night before would have thought the evening warm.

 Fortunately, February is (for me at least) also full of fun things inside. Check out the cupcakes I made for my cousin's sixth birthday! He is all about pirates right now.

The look on his face when I told him he should grab some of his "pirate guys" to put on the cupcakes was amazing. He was thrilled about the idea once I had reassured him that no one would eat his toys.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I think you would like her.

She sits in the park with her back to a tree and reads things that do not match. Beneath the spreading canopy she reads about robots and space ships and genetic modification where she should read classics or about settlers or about cats that talk and smile. Maybe she reads those books too. Perhaps she reads those books sitting in an apartment or a science lab that is too cold and modern and glaring to read of dimly lit trysts and whispered allegiances. You'd like her.