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.

Österlen

This week, my mom and I traveled by car to Österlen, the southern most part of Sweden, known for its rolling landscape, small farms, artist studios, and gourmet food. It was nice for the two of us to spend a whole day together, with no set schedule or distractions. First stop was Skåne Tranås where we discovered the gourmet chocolate maker Österlenchoklad and Ann-Louise Månsson's beautiful felted wool creations called tovade ting. Next we continued to kaos, an artisan group in Södra Mellby. Lunch followed at Buhre's Fisk located by the water's edge in Kivik harbor. We stopped at Gröna Butiken in Orelund to stock up on organic veggies and fresh berries, before continuing along the cost to Simrishamn where I was born, many years ago. We finished up with a visit to Apotekarns Trädgård, a garden with an almost tropical climate located in the center of town. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

sunshine and sorrow

Our Sweden vacation continues. We have returned to Malmö, where my mom and sisters live. The boys enjoy sleep-in mornings and days filled with play, beach visits and no commitments. I relish having time for true conversations, long evening meals, and endless card games with my nephews. We've been to a Swedish premier league soccer game, a youth track meet, many neat museums, restaurants, and stores...

But sadness lingers amidst our joyful activities. Kajsa, one of our dogs has died while we were away. She was sick with a fever when we left, and despite loving care from our veterinarian, house sitter, and friends, she continued to get worse. When her liver stopped working we decided to put her down, a difficult step to take in any circumstance and heart wrenching when you are thousands of miles away. Kajsa was an amazing, intelligent, and loving dog. She was worried and fearful (especially of hot air balloons and thunder) but extraordinarily devoted, loyal, and trusting. And she knew how to smile. I'll miss her.

taking off again

We had a wonderful beach week filled with boogie board surfing, leisurely walks, and scrumptious meals. We are rushing around getting ready for our trip to Sweden. I have not been back home for two years and I am excited and eager to see my family and friends again. Next time you hear from me I'll be there...

beach bound

We are heading to Sandbridge beach for a week long family vacation. Can't wait for the slow going mornings, daily delicious feasts, and evening strolls by the waters edge. I am bringing a pile of books, fun games, and my camera... No blogging this upcoming week, but I'll return with photos and other impressions. 

I invite you to visit Sofia Barao's beautiful blog this week. She has initiated a wonderful series called creative ones, and this time I am the featured artist. There is a giveaway involved as well... 

Lastly i want to thank Leah of more ways to waste time for making my pillow part of her revamped living room. Leah has such great sense of style, and I am flattered that my creation now is part of her lovely home.
 

garden sunday

I spent most of my sunday in the garden. Few things makes me happier. By this time of year our garden is like a jungle. Due to my neglect, a few hurricane related rainstorms, and our southern heat and humidity things grow rampantly. So today was spent cleaning up and unveiling hidden treasures under layers of bind weed, grape vines, grasses, and bitter sweet... The asian pears are ready for picking. They are best sliced up in an arugula salad with crumbled blue cheese, or poached in red wine and served with whipped cream.

The garlic chive is taking over my herb garden. It really is a weed, but I love it in bloom, and the leaves are mighty tasty as salad toppings.

Butterflies, moths, and bumble bees are all flocking to the sedums and the chives. Nature in full force.

The fall crocuses are in bloom. They pop up from nowhere and these have the most delicious shade of lavender pink.

I did clean out our garden shed and its surroundings. It doesn't look like much but I am not showing the before pictures on purpose. It is very satisfying to sort out a mess and get things nice and orderly. The shed is lovingly called "Mona's annex", since my lovely husband jokingly threatens to house my mother there whenever she comes to visit. It is made from salvaged materials left over from our house renovation projects. The doors are from our old pantry, the window was once the only natural light source in our kitchen, and the wobbly landing is made from bricks discovered and dug up throughout our yard. I love living in a place with a past... 

moths and lilies

As this happy weekend near and end want to share some treats from my garden. The gigantic brown moths (I actually think that's what they are called) were clinging to our climbing rose early one morning. Their pattern and delicate detailing are just magnificent. The common daylily is in full bloom right now. Each dawn a new bud unfolds just to end its glorious life span by dusk. And the next day there is another ready to steal the limelight.

way behind

Yet again I got caught up in the busyness of life. School is nearing an end which means graduation ceremonies, music auditions, soccer parties, end-of-semester projects, and exams. Most of which I did not personally partake in, but sometimes having the supporting role is just as engaging and time consuming. I have also worked on several retail orders which is always fun and rewarding. Shipment has gone out to shops like ink & peat in Portland, Oregon, field in Larchmont, New York, Eco-Artware, Washington, DC, and La Vie En Rose, Norwalk, Connecticut. This week I am finishing up a large pillow order for Juno & Jove in Sarasota, Florida. Needless to say my garden is badly neglected. Luckily it still looks green and and relatively happy. My evening stroll amongst the lushness left me most satisfied.
Hydrangeas and parsley in bloom.

Asian pears and roses.

Chard and allium.