round trip




Returning home after an extended vacation is almost as exhilarating as taking off. I am sitting here in the studio trying to recap three wonderful weeks away, sifting through notes and photographs, and sorting through my thoughts...




The first week was spent with family and friends in southern Sweden. The weather was gorgeous and we were offered a plentitude of delicious meals and refreshing drinks. Our evenings were laced with engaging discussions, laughter, and friendship. We criss-crossed the region via train, bus, and car, visiting museums, shops, and cosy restaurants. We swam, basked in the sun, and strolled. It was the most perfect of times.






Paris was the destination for the second part of the trip. We arrived wide-eyed and ready for everything the city of light has to offer. The beautiful apartment on the left bank had a roof top view of the Eifel tower and was the base, for our daily excursions. We quickly came up with a long list of favorites including; Degas painting The orchestra of the opera at Musée d'Orsay, the tomb of Heloise and Abelard in Pere Lachaise Cemetery (what a love story), Papier+ in the Marais quarters, the Victory statue in the Louvre, the all out meat dinner at Relais de l'Entrecote, the kitchen store of all kitchen stores - E. Dehillerin, the stroll through the Porte de Vanves flea market, and getting to know Eva Besnyö and her beautiful photographs at Jeu de Paume. The list goes on, but it is still the everyday experiences that are the true highlights when visiting a new city, such as fetching fresh bread from the bakery every morning, walking down a narrow street at dusk, overhearing a conversations at the lunch table, perusing the market for fresh fruit, and going to bed at night with aching feet and a mind overfilled with new impressions.












Happily back home, I admit that we were ready to reunite with the dogs, sleep in our own beds, and cook a simple meal in our own kitchen. That is what vacations are for. And I am itching to get back to work, to continue pieces in progress and start on things totally new. Somehow the experiences from weeks past will make their way into the process of making and creating that I love so much.

 

here and there



I spent last week with my wonderful family at Sandbridge Beach, with lots of sunshine, delicious meals, reading, and quiet quality time. This morning I am getting ready for my drive to Sewanee, Tennessee and a week at the Shakerag workshops. I am eager to return to this magical place, to learn (this year I am taking a class with Michel Garcia), and to meet up with some great friends! The blog will be quiet while I am gone, but I will keep up with the weeks activities on my facebook page. Join me there if you like.




giving thanks



I have much to be thankful for. Health, family, happiness, friends, work... but without my boys, life would just stop in its tracks. They continue to amaze me with their accomplishments, compassion, smarts, and love. I am so lucky.



And my girls makes me to wake up every morning with a smile, whether I am ready for it or not.

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

happy returns

Three weeks seems like a short time. But much happened in this tiny time span. First off I had a birthday - a momentous and frightening one. Fifty years seems like a really long time. To relieve any possible angst, my mom and my sisters brought me to Kivik, a small Swedish coastal resort town offering sweeping ocean views, back massages, fresh berries, and the coolest weeping beech tree, ever. Thank you.

We dyed cloth with Swedish delights from my mom's garden - peach, maples, currant, walnut, among other things, with bright and beautiful results.

And then there was the three day trip with just my 15 year old son and I, filled to the brim with visits to military museums, history museums, art museums, and a few gourmet meals in between. So much fun!

Other small but equally wonderful things happened during these brief weeks. Morning runs along the water with my sister. Intense card playing with my nephew. Yarn shopping. Visit to my fathers grave with fresh flowers (top photo). Wine sipping and movie watching. Some more yarn shopping...

It is good to be back in my new homeland, to reunite with my lovely husband, house, dogs, garden, family, and the work I love. But it is always hard to leave the old homeland behind. Still one of the coolest places on earth in my estimation. Until next time...

new home

Some things are just meant to be. For years I have admired the quiet, elegant, and delightful design style of Maria. She is an interior designer and purveyor with impeccable taste and the loveliest persona. She shares her work and beautiful home on her blog vintage simple. Maria recently bought my textile collage whisper, for her new home in Ashville, North Carolina. I am honored and thrilled and I can't imagine a better place for this piece. Thank you Maria for your trust and encouragement!


I am packing my bags again. This time I am heading home with my youngest son to visit family and friends in Sweden. It has been two years since last and I am looking forward to many things, including eating new potatoes and strawberries (they taste much better over there), sipping gin and tonics on my mom's patio, hugging my nephews, and meeting Roxy and Rufus, the new family pets... I will try to post during my trip so stay tuned.

beach, boys, and books

We are heading east for our annual family beach vacation next week. It will be extra special this year with everybody back home, happy and healthy (thank you for all your well wishes). Can't wait to join the boys in the surf, cook, chat, sip wine, and catch up on my reading. Then the fun continues as I return to Shakerag for a week of work and learning with dye master Rowland Ricketts. So it will be a bit quiet here for the next few weeks. Happy summer!

niki's duvet

This king size duvet cover is a recent commission from Niki and her husband Claudio in Toronto. It was an amazing project to work on. I love the subtle color combinations and the geometric shapes punctuated by the viburnum leaf prints.



I apologize for my absence these past few weeks. My son got really sick while traveling in Europe, and I ended up accompanying him during his recovery in a German hospital. Most stressful times and not the ideal way to experience Munich. But he is on the mend and I am slowly catching my breath, believing everything will turn out ok.

giving thanks

There is much to be thankful for in my life. My boys, health, love, happiness, passion, friendship, dog kisses, creativity, and majestic trees in my back yard... all gifts of enormous magnitude. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's feast, with my beloved family. I wish all of you the best of times this holiday season. Happy thanksgiving!

life of privilege



Ever so often I stop to think about the life I lead. I am married to a lovely man, 22 years almost to the day. I think we are as much in love as the day we met, but more seriously now. We have two fantastic boys who continue to marvel me with their accomplishments, compassion, and  demeanors. We live in an old, quirky, but beautiful house, with a large garden. Several precious dogs and cats have come and gone, all of them endearing. I have the best extended family. My mother and sisters first and foremost, but I also adore my in-laws, niece, and nephews. Then there are my friends, always at the ready for a stroll, a run, a chat, a meal, or just to be. And lastly, I wake up every day knowing I get to do what I love the most - tinkering with fabric, plants, colors, patterns, and stitching. We have no big financial wealth, still I am living the most privileged life. It is a gift not to be taken for granted, and I am grateful.

pippi the puppy


Let me introduce our new family member, Pippi. We found her at our local SPCA, or she found us... Pippi is sweet, curious, and cuddly - a dog with a good disposition. Being only 8 weeks old she is leaving a constant trail of pee puddles, and she is driving our older dog mad with her energetic affection. Her breath still smells like milk and the streak of white on her nose is adorable. She is named after the heroine Pippi Longstocking, from the Swedish Children's books, because she is brave and has white socks on each of her paws. Puppy love is a simple pleasure in the midst of a complicated world.

endearing collaboration

My successful endeavor with textiles and fiber art came to be thanks to my mother. When I was young she taught my how to sew doll clothes, how to knit, and make my own clothes. Much later she was the co-conspirator in the creation of inleaf. She knew I wanted my life to take a more artistic path, and during one of her visits we explored leaf printing for the first time. She has ben my most loyal supporter ever since, always encouraging, inspiring, and pushing me along.

She is still an amazing fiber artist in her own right, and when she was here earlier this summer she suggested a mother-daughter collaboration. She brought a bag filled with my fabric scraps back to Sweden, with the idea of using them for a traditional quilt pattern. Here is the initial result. I love her color selections and how she mixed pieces from my collection with ones from her own stacks. One of the hexagons even feature a paw print from my late cat, who accidentally walked across my printing table at the time...

We don't know what final shape this project will take. It will evolve over time, and we will work on it together when we next meet up. Thank you mamma, for the wisdom and creative inspiration you continue to provide.

joyful times

Sorry for being so scarce here. Many good things have happened, and there is more to come. Here are a few reminders of things done and of what's in store. I will return in late June, with many tales to tell. Happy summer!

Happy cleaning, cooking, and washing. All in preparation for...

... my oldest son's high school graduation and its accompanying festivities.

Lots of hand stitching, my new true passion. This piece looks promising.

Admiring my youngest son tending the goal at the soccer tournament in Virginia Beach, and...

... sharing many moments of companionship, discussions, and laughter with my mom and sister.

Next week I will be here. I can barely contain my excitement.

And then I will meet up with my family at Sandbridge for a week of sun, sand, seafood, and surf.

swedish treats


These goodies arrived yesterday. Zoega is my favorite coffee brand and the marabou chocolate is to die for. The flaggpunsch is delicious as a sweet after dinner drink, served really cold in shot glasses. The people who brought us the Swedish treats are special too. My mom and sister are here for a two week plus stay. I am delighted to see them again and look forward to long scrumptious meals, garden excursions, stitching sessions, dog walks, and happy companionship.


gift of gardening

I am spending this mother's day weekend in the garden. It is a gift of sorts from my family, who has promised to take care of more trivial things while I putz around in the dirt. The garden is the main inspiration for my work and life. Things seems so simple when studying earthworms or sniffing peonies. If you like, visit my garden blog for more musings. Happy mother's day to all wonderful creative and caring mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandmothers, and mothers-to-be!

full circle

I admit that the college search/application/decision process has been most stressful. My child is eagerly flapping his wings, ready to take flight, although it seems like just yesterday when we read Swedish children's books on the couch or took woodland walks looking at ant trails and dragonflies. Come this fall I will not see his sleepy face in the morning, nor will I have to argue about his dirty socks on the floor.

For about a year now our lives have been consumed by college visits, essay writing, AP tests, SAT scores, interviews, financial aid applications, and more college visits. He worked hard, on all his applications, sifting through questions about life altering experiences, volunteer positions, and favorite words...

And here we are, final decision in hand. He will attend University of Virginia in the fall. We will help pack his things, fill up the car, and drive a mile and a half down the road. For a kid with big dreams and many options this may seem a bit anticlimactic. He will go to school where his dad works, and walk on the lawn where he has played since childhood. But the truth is that we have a fantastic university in our own backyard. The adventure still awaits, new friendships will be made, and lots of new things will be learned.

As for me, I am relieved that the search is over and the decision is made. I am trying hard to hide how happy I am, knowing that he will still be nearby.

Photo no. 10

Last week I was tagged by Hannah with the challenge to post and tell the story behind the tenth photo in my first picture folder. Here it is. This picture of the back of our house was published in Metropolitan Home's January 2002 issue as part of their reader's house renovation competition. We had finished a major kitchen redo the summer before, and were so happy with the result and to have survived the project (3 months with a microwave and a hotplate, dishes done in the bathroom sink), that we decided to enter the competition. We did not win the grand prize, but we were finalists and our kitchen and the house was featured in the magazine. The kitchen still looks good, and the bad renovation memories have faded by now.

I am supposed to pass on the honor. Here are the rules for this fun tag:
1. open your first folder of pictures
2. scroll to the tenth picture
3. post the photo and the story behind it
5. tag 5 more people

and here are the friends now on the line:

sanibel

We made it there and back, despite bad weather and airline chaos. The weather was cold, by Florida standards, but 50 degree days seemed like a balmy paradise to us coming from snow country. Sanibel is a beautiful island, quiet and welcoming. We filled our visit with beach walks, shell hunting, delicious meals, reading, bird watching, wine sipping, and more beach walking. It is amazing how re-juvinating a few days away, without responsibilities and schedules can be.

all white

The world is blanketed in snow outside my studio window. Inside I am sifting through my vintage treasure box. Most of its content relates to my family. Every monogram and piece of lace has a history. I come from a line of seamstresses. Not the professional kind, but the kind who sewed, stitched, and embroidered out of necessity and out of joy. Weaving, knitting, quilting, tailoring, crocheting, mending, and altering were my grandmother's and my mother's artistry. Their passion and appreciation were passed on to me. Some of their skills (not all) were as well...


Each time I visit my mom in Sweden, I bring a few more pieces back with me. My promise to her and to myself is that they will be used for a special project, a heirloom of heirlooms of sort. I don't know what shape it will take, when it will be done, or how, but hopefully it will be worthy to pass on to a few more generations.


A few belated thank yous are in order. Gay over at I dreamed I saw, included my geranium sachets in her sweet smelling post this weekend, and Elaine at nestingblog recently featured my queen anne's lace art quilt. Tusen tack! I also want to thank Denise from Hamburg, Germany, (lieblings.weerke) who picked my market tote as one of the items in her beautiful fig post.

rumination and dreams, part 1

I am surely not alone spending these quiet days after the holidays thinking about life, aspirations, and dreams. I still have lots of immediate work to do - preparing for two upcoming group shows with Fiber Transformed, finishing up the end-of-year book keeping, and readying the online shop for a hopefully busy spring. Yet there is a subtle restlessness setting in, with an urge to clarify an spell out what I want to achieve this upcoming year.

I am 48 years old, with one son ready to leave the nest and the other one well on his way on the slippery road of teenagehood. For the last couple of years I am pursuing my art full time, which makes me feel privileged and lucky. But the truth is that I still work way to much, often on things that I don't feel that passionate about, and that my house, garden, pets, and sometimes my family suffer because of it. Also, despite the long hours, I am nowhere near making a substantial contribution to our family finances. My business is self sustained, but there is not much else to spread around.

In an ideal world I would be in my studio from 9 - 3 every day, delving into one creative project after another. Buyers would be ready to snatch up my work as soon as it was finished, and pay me handsomely for it... The rest of my days would be spent with my boys, cooking scrumptious meals, cleaning, weeding, and organizing my linen closet... My weekends would be devoted to family time, long walks, and dinner with friends.

To off-set this unrealistic vision, I am working on some baby steps that hopefully will bring me a bit closer to a meaningful, productive and more prosperous existence, such as less wholesale orders, gallery representation for my art, more and better marketing, and hired help. Details to come...

The images are from my studio – where happiness continue to happen. Best wishes for the new year. Happy new decade!

winter wonder

Things are crazily busy over here with holiday orders to complete, my son's college applications to finish up, gift gathering, wrapping, tree decorating, cookie making, and so on... I will take a hiatus until after Christmas. I leave you with these wonderful images by UK based photographer Ania Wawrzkowicz. She captured the frozen beauty of her homeland Poland while visiting there last winter. Thank you Ania, for letting me share them. Happy holidays and warm winter wishes to all of you!

© copyright Ania Wawrzkowicz