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.

 

preparations


We are preparing for departure once again. In a few days time we will be on our way first to Malmö, Sweden and then to Paris, France... I can't wait to see my family again - my nephews, my mom, my sisters, my brother-in-law, and then  uncles, aunts, cousins, and old friends. These visits to the home country keeps me sane, and anchored. This is where I really belong and this is where my history began. So I will savor every minute, every hug, every laughter. Not to mention every meal, and every glass raised.


Towards the end of the month my boys (all three of them) and I are heading to Paris. We will spend a full week in this magical city; walking, looking, eating, looking, and walking some more. Kind friends have already sent me lists of things not to miss, but more ideas are always welcome. Let me know what your favorite Paris spot might be. I did get my hands on Paris: Made by Hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk, so now I am envisioning one or two shopping trips to some of these old fashioned stores filled with linen, silks, notions, threads, and other treasures.



Part of preparing for departure is to make sure everything at home is left in order. I am finishing up work and shipping pending orders. I am tidying up the garden, hoping our house sitters will take advantage of its bounty (the tomatoes are especially delicious this year). The house is gradually being cleaned and the dogs are showered with love. Leaving the pooches behind is actually the most difficult part. I know they will have the best of care, but it is still so hard.



I have listed a few new pieces in the store, including similitude, a new favorite art quilt based on a mirrored walnut eco prints on wool. Both the online store and the etsy shop will be closed while I am gone, so take a quick look now to see if something catches your fancy...



Lastly, I want to brag about my friend Kelly McKaig, and her brand new etsy shop. Kelly is a renowned photo stylist who also makes sachets, pincushions, and other house ware, and she cultivates and sells her own honey. She lives, works, and raises her bees on the southside of Chicago. The image shows the beautiful pin cushion I bought, made from rust dyed and hand stitched linen - handmade, wholesome, and beautiful.

I heart New York







We walked, ate, drank, looked, ate some more, strolled, shopped, gawked, sipped, and ate again. Intense is the best way to describe life as a New York City visitor. Here is a list of the best of the best from this trip: Best museum exhibit: The Loving Story at the International Center of Photography. Best meal: braised pork shoulder at Birreria in Eataly. Best drink: Gin and Tonic at Gaby in Hotel Sofitel. Best breakfast: Oatmeal and large latte at Le Pain Quotidien. Best hike no. 1: Crossing Brooklyn Bridge by foot. Best macarons: Maison Ladurée. Best art: Kim Abeles' Smog Collectors at Museum of Art and Design. Best hike no. 2: The high line. Best home store: Ochre in Soho. Best art no. 2 Lee Nam Lee: Ming and Chung dynsasty paintings: crossover at MAD. Best craft store: Purl Soho. Best craft store no. 2: Tender Buttons. Best run: the path around the reservoir in Central Park. Of course there was much more, and much that was missed. I am already compiling a list for the next visit.











love

Love is best when dispersed frequently and freely. I am back from an amazing (and love filled) weekend in New York City. Photos, and other impressions soon to come. I dropped off some work at Trunk, a wonderful artist owned shop and gallery in Brooklyn. Make sure to visits if you are in the area. Happy valentines day!

NYC here we come

Ever since my first visit at the tender age of less than 20 I have loved this city. New York is magical, it oozes of  creativity and energy and style. I love the pace, the abundance, the tackiness, the colors, the people... This time me and my love are spending an extra long weekend in its midst. I am so excited to return. PS. Last minute suggestions are most welcome...


away

I have loaded the car with all imaginable sewing supplies, including the ironing board, two large pots, two sewing machines (in case one breaks), the typewriter, yards of fabric both printed and not...

I am heading back here, to look after the critters while our friends and their beautiful daughters are zipping over to London. The few days in solitude will be used to get ready for the Artisans Studio Tour taking place next weekend. I am planning to dye, stitch, and stock up. I will report once I return.

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...

the pinkyberries and company


Meet the pinkyberries, one of several delightful discoveries at Röhsska museet in Gothenburg, Sweden. A group of talented students from Högskolan för Design och Konsthantverk, are currently showing their final work at the renowned design and craft museum. I love to explore student exhibitions – the work is often fresh, unhibited, and pared down. Here are some glimpses of beautiful fiber related art from the show, which runs through September 4.

the pinkyberries by Pernilla Eskilsson


time will tell by Ellen Jacobsen Holvik


one thousand pieces by Jane Yang

patterns


One of my remedies for jet lag while traveling are long neighborhood walks. I often bring my camera along to caprture images, patterns, and textures, some of which make their way into my work. Here are samples from my first few days here in Malmö. We are having a great time with lots of relaxation, good food, and family love.

time flies

blooms everywhere, loved this garden and work brought along  
for idle times.

We are back from our adventure. It was a wonderful time filled with sunshine, friendship, delicious food, and beautiful vistas and experiences. San Francisco is a magical place and the weather was perfect. I can't thank you enough for your ideas and suggestions. I managed to fit in a few, but need to go back for more lengthy excursions. Here are but a handfuls of glimpses from our trip.


even the expected was spectacular. loved dining overlooking the pacific on our last night.

wandering the neighborhoods is one of my favorite things to do
 in any city.

we did see some amazing art. pier 24 photo exhibit and the de young museum were two  favorites.

can't travel without making a few acquisitions. linen cord, silk ribbon, and vintage kimono remnants from britex. the pleated linen zip pouch was a gift from my dear friend Carol of yorktown road whom i met up with for coffee. thank you.

san francisco

We are heading out for a mini vacation next week. San Francisco is our destination and I can't wait. I am looking forward to scrumptious meals, long walks, and time alone with my man. I am also planning to meet up with some dear friends, see some great art, and do some fun shopping. Please tell me about your favorite San Francisco haunts – galleries, coffee shops, fabric stores, gardens? I am ready for adventure...

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.

under cover

These reusable moleskin notebook covers are new in the etsy store. They are made from handprinted linen, some remnants from the past, some newly printed scrap pieces. They are lined with vintage cotton, and the notebook inserts can easily be replaced once they are filled up with sketches, ideas, or happy scribbles. Some of the books have already been snatched up, but there are a few left here.

I will take some time off, to make a last college visit with my oldest son, before the May 1 deadline. Stressful, but good times ahead.

toronto


We have returned from a few delightful days in Toronto. Despite cold, rainy weather we had a blast in this vibrant city. We spent one afternoon at ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) lingering over dinosaur bones, art deco furniture, Wedgwood ceramics, and African Canadian quilts. We also visited the newly renovated Art Gallery of Ontario, enjoying the King Tut exhibit, the contemporary art collection, and the exquisite ship models.


One of the highlights of the trip was my visit to Bookhou, Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth's beautiful store and studio on Dundas Street. We had a wonderful time sipping hot tea, chatting about linen, dyes, business, and art. Thank you for your hospitality, inspiration, and friendship!


Lots of our time was spent walking around the Toronto neighborhoods. We lunched at St. Lawrence market, braved the winds along the waterfront, and some of us ventured up in the CN tower. I also visited the Textile Museum of Canada, a small gem and a must visit for anyone with a love for fabric and fiber.

just words

I have some technical problems with my photo managing software (I still love you, sweet mac...), so this will be my first post without pictures. Much is going on over here, worthy of sharing.

I've introduced a weekly shop update in the etsy store. Every Tuesday morning, I will list a handful of new handcrafted pieces. Most of them will be one-of-a-kinds, and most of them are truly new, not re-lists. Check in tomorrow for this weeks goodies.

I am happily experimenting with soy milk mordants, and natural plant dyeing per Ms. India's inspiration. I am amazed by the beautiful, subtle colors I have achieved so far. This is what I meant to post about, so look for more once the photo issue is resolved.

Lastly, we are taking off for Toronto next week. Can't wait to see this beautiful city, taste its foods, stroll by the waters edge, and visit with friends!

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.

getaway

My lovely husband and I are supposed to arrive here tomorrow night, for a short, but much needed getaway. Considering that Charlottesville is buried in snow, with more to come today, chances that we actually will get to Sanibel island, at least on time, are slim. But in my imagination I am already lounging in a deck chair overlooking the beach, sipping a glass of wine and lovingly holding my man's hand...

happily home

We have returned. Four weeks away seemed like no time at all despite being filled with family fun, explorations, food discoveries, walks, and other adventures. I am glad to be back in Charlottesville, reunited with my lovely husband, who could only join us for part of the trip, and Freja the dog, who seems confused and slightly depressed without her companion.

I am also eager to start work again, my mind and my sketchbook are filled with ideas. I look forward to settling in to my creative routines, exploring new prints, and delving into embroidery, my newfound passion. The etsy shop is up and running and the inleaf site will follow shortly.

I'll leave you with some more Scandinavian goodies.

Small boat harbor and traditional street houses in Roskilde.

Birthday lunch with my mom in Malmö.

Overnight trip with the boys to Copenhagen.

Viking ship museum in Roskilde.

Anemones and wild strawberries in my moms garden.

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.