• Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Christmas presents | Wall hangings

    I have been in a crafting frenzy for the past weeks. I got this idea that I wanted to create wall hangings for my nieces and nephews this Christmas. I have been interested in sewing but never patient enough to learn all the proper techniques. I basically could do pillow cases and bags – no zippers, of course, and don’t even think of checking the seams on the inside …

    My grandma showed me when I was little, but as far as I remember, when it got tricky I just let her do the work for me. But, as it turns out, you you can still do some pretty amazing stuff with a sewing machine, even if you don’t know very much. Which is great for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of patience when it comes to learning new things. I want to be able to create something I like right away, I don’t want to have to practice and do a lot of projects that are doomed to turn out sucky just because I don’t have the techniques down.

    My sister-in-law gave me a sewing book by Poppy Treffry a few years ago which I loved and found very inspirational. Basically, this artist uses her sewing machine to draw beautiful, quirky, and – what I probably love most about them – very colorful pictures.

    A recent trip to the library reminded me of another crafty person whose work I love: Karin Holmberg, a Swedish artist. She does mostly embroidery, inspired by traditional Swedish techniques and patterns, also very beautiful, fun, and colorful.

    Embroidery is even better than sewing in a way from the perspective that you need even less equipment, knowledge, and/or patience (at least when it comes to the mastering-a-skill-part).

    So for my wall hangings I combined the two, sewing and embroidery, and it was very rewarding for several reasons:

    • My compulsive fabric purchases at thrift-stores finally were justified.
    • Sewing and embroidering turned out to have a highly meditative effect on me. Maybe due to my inexperience I found myself very focused on what I was doing, being very present in the moment, and for once: not thinking.
    • Also: like most people, I enjoy physically creating something, especially when it’s something beautiful. Is there anything greater than the feeling you get when something you pictured comes into physical existence through your hands, and turns out (nearly) exactly as you saw it before your mind’s eye?

    Unfortunately, my camera (actually, the batteries) and I weren’t really seeing eye to eye today, so I don’t have very many pix, and even less good ones. But here’s what I’ve got, will try to take more soon.




  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde


    When  I was growing tomatoes on the balcony of our apartment in Gothenburg, I decided that I would call it a success if I could get just one tomato out of it. I even insisted on taking the plants with us when we moved. They survived, and we got more than one tomato (not a lot more but hey). So I tried to approach this first year growing on our land with a similar attitude: I wanted to be happy with whatever we’d get, and take it as a sort of reference point for next year.

    Our first greenhouse

    It’s a jungle in there …

    I am actually really pleased with the result, all things considered, and amazed by how much you get, even when you don’t put a lot of work into it, or sometimes not even any work at all. Like with all the lingon and rowan berries we picked and made jam from, or the two (!?) apple trees that produced so many apples this year that we couldn’t even process all of them.

    left to right: potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli & cauliflower
    Rönnbär – rowan berries – Vogelbeeren
    Lingon – Preiselbeeren

    I am beginning to suspect that this notion of scarcity is something less natural than I have been led to believe, maybe a result of the food industry as it is today. It seems to me that the natural state really is abundance. It might take me some time to get used to that, at this point I am pretty still mourning every single apple that’s lying on the ground, not being made into jam, sauce or chips …

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Let it grow

    It has been quiet around here, I know. I think our slow internet connection at home is the main reason, but also I went through a rough patch where I didn’t feel like I had anything to share here. Things have turned around faster than I could have imagined, and I am feeling inspired and determined to breathe some life back into this blog.

    We finally finished building our greenhouse last week (no pix yet), and sowed a bunch of vegetables on the patch of land Peter has been preparing – with more help from his family than from me, ehem. I blame the long office days due to the commute … so, thanks Birgitta, Stefan and Felix! The patch shrank somewhat from our original megalomaniac outline when we had to face the reality of the hard physical labor involved when preparing the soil … Pix soon to come.

    Also, I seem to have found the holy grail (yup, once again) when it comes to health/nutrition. It comes in the form of two books (by the same genius authors, Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon), namely Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat. I know, the latter sounds like it’s just another dieting book but it is really more about health in general than (just) weight loss. Hopefully I can keep the momentum, and write an entry just about those (which is the least they deserve).

    What would a post be without some pix? Exactly.

    In May …

    … I was at a wedding in Germany,
    I bought mint at a Thai food store. The branches will grow new roots if you put them into water. After a while you can plant the mint – like so.
    A friend gave me the tip to pre-grow tomatoes in milk cartons. One can just cut those open when it’s time to plant them in the greenhouse. Since we get our milk from the local farm, I had my colleagues collect the milk cartons in the kitchen at work. Thanks guys!
    … we had our first breakfast outside. Usually the spot by the barn is best for dinner, since that’s where the sun is going towards the evening.
    There’s fish in the little creek going through our land!


    In June …

    … Peter’s nephew turned five.
    He’s into chocolate cake and ninja turtles.
    We got him this.
    These belong to Peter’s niece, and they reminded me of a project I had waiting in a drawer at home …
    Finished those yesterday.
    Very happy with the result. Don’t even care that I am being mocked with comments about circuses coming to town …
    Lupines everywhere! Love them.


  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Castration, crafts, and germination

    Totally not motivated to sit at office any longer on a Saturday afternoon, even less motivated after discovery that cute cat pictures still on camera, not computer. No other recent pictures, so words only. Bear with me (hate blog posts without pix, worse than posts with only cute animal pix).

    Writing about cute animals instead. Cats, ours. Minus one penis, luckily not holding a grudge – phew! Enough about cute cats.

    Officially a member of Stöde Form now (only took 6 months, not due to elaborate application process but to simple procrastination process). Working at the store/café once a week and getting lots of tips and inspiration on gardening and mushroom picking. Great stuff!

    Purchased seed starting set. Want tomatoes and peppers, need greenhouse, though. Planning on planting tomato and pepper seeds tomorrow as motivation to build greenhouse.

    There. Update in 150 words or less.

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Catching up

    I am spending the day at my mother-in-law, trying to get some internet stuff done. Yup, we’re still doing the 56k modem thing at home …

    Usually, being behind on things (i. e. e-mails, blogging, uploading pictures, …) makes me not want to do them. Apparently today is different. Maybe that’s because I actually got some stuff done that I’ve been putting off for a while. My list of accomplishments so far today:

    • Created a hosting account on WWOOF
    • Uploaded some pix. Not having taken a lot these past months made it kind of easy to do that (check out hwhat I did with the sofa and the lamp in the kitchen, and Freya and Oden).
    • Finally sent out the last (I think) notifications about my change of address to different institutions and organizations which I have so little to do with that I kept forgetting to notify them.
    • Researched the best way to get from here to a wedding in Germany in May (via Bremen!) – still in the booking process, something’s wrong with my credit card.

    Hm, seeing it spelled out in front of me, it suddenly doesn’t look all that impressive anymore. Oh well, it sure took me long enough, and especially the WWOOF-profile and the wedding are things I am super-excited about!

    So here come the pix:

    I just realized there’s like six pillows missing at this stage of the process. The box on the floor: Oden’s and Freya’s. They’re getting too big for the „windows“, which makes it hilarious to watch them go in and out.


    So funny how they like to lie each on one side of the heater in our bedroom.


    Soft kitty, warm kitty …





    View of our house as seen from the mailbox.


    View from behind our house.



    We actually got started tearing up the flooring in the barn. Finally. I want to turn this into a guest house, peter wants a workshop. Suggestions for a compromise, anyone?


    Snow smile.



  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Update from under the rock

    Well hello there! Nice of you to still stop by here, even though not much has been going on. Talk about commitment. I appreciate it. It’s not just the blog I have been neglecting but pretty much all things internetty – and computery, for that matter. I remember how, in the beginning, I drove to the library as often as I could to check my e-mail. After a while, I only went online when I happened to be at someone’s house and had access. Last week I took my laptop with me to work (yes, I have that now) every day, and it always ended with „Nah, I can do it tomorrow“.

    What do I do with the abundance of time I surely must have you ask? It actually doesn’t feel like I have more time, it’s more that I am starting to ask myself how I used to make the time to do all this computering. Clicking, right-clicking, sending e-mails, receiving e-mails. Yes, that’s an IT Crowd reference, but maybe this only proves how not up to speed I am. I have no idea what pop cultural references one is to use these days when making a desperate attempt to prove that one is still in.

    But I do do stuff. Like I already mentioned: I have gone into the working business. Meaning, I get paid now for the stuff I do. I love it, not just the getting-paid-part but the stuff I do, the people I meet, my actual work place. It feels a little bit like working at a castle where you are the queen and the servant at the same time. The „castle“ is very pretty. I am still adjusting to the whole 9 to 5 (in this case 9 to 5 is 8 to 5) thing, which I haven’t had in a long time. Also the contrast between life at work and life at home couldn’t be greater, so that takes some getting used to, too. I am very excited to be part of this ride, and grateful for everything I am learning – which is a lot.

    One of things I do when I am not computering or getting used to having a „real“ job is adoring and laughing at Oden and Freya. No, not the old Nordic god and goddess – our kittens that moved in last week. They are hilarious, almost potty-trained (somewhat inconveniently the only place they empty their bladder besides their litter box is our bed, preferably right before I want to go lay down in it) and fast as lightning. Maybe Oden is really a Thor … Anyway, so far I have not been able to take pictures of them where they are recognizable as felines. I am on it, though, since my sister insists that „If you don’t have pix, it didn’t happen“. You internet people …

  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    No more wall flowers | Before & After

    Is it just me being removed from the world the internet most of the time, or has the dingdinginess of the world been cranked to the max?

    I was planning on using my online time writing and posting something here but you know I just had to check fb „real quick“ first. We all know how that goes, and it seems that when you’ve been cyber-celibate for several day, the amount of time lost increases exponentially …

    So, with my head still buzzing with Bayer suing bees, no wait, the EU, and Monsanto being awarded the Nobel Prize for Agriculture, and health benefits of Napoleon Dynamite pumpkin carvings, I am leaving you with another one of these little hang-in-there-a-real-post-is-coming-but-for-nor-it-was-this-or-nothing posts: namely a before and after-but-obviously-not-completely-finished of our living room.

    The wallpaper looks deceptively less terrible than it actually is – all the white space is really some plastic glitter stuff – yuck!



  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    All yellow | The fall collection

    Yup, it’s definitely fall. I am still not used to the fact that that doesn’t mean gray, rain and mud (hello Bremen, ’sup Gothenburg). Nope, here it means yellow, sun and more yellow.

    This is what our little corner of the world looked like yesterday:



  • Bewusst Leben,  Sarines Stöde

    Just one thing

    I have been thinking a lot about how long I haven’t written anything, and how I could catch you up on everything that has happened. It’s been so much, though, that it’s only made me put off writing. So I decided I’d just write to say I’m still here. I still need to go to the library for internet (and that won’t change anytime soon), so for now my goal is just to post when I can, not about EVERYTHING that has happened since the last post but about one thing.

    I haven’t been knitting or crocheting for a while now but I borrowed some books that might just inspire me enough to change that:

    Garn garn garn by Susanna Zacke and Sania Hedengren

    and Garnnystan och tygtravar by the same authors

    They are full of colorful projects that seem fairly easy, so I might even stand a chance of following through …

    Oh yeah: on my search for the titles I found Susanna Zacke’s and Sania Hedengren’s blog, and it turns out that they just published one of their books in English – Fun with Yarn and Fabric:

    I think I need to go home now and crochet something … Hope you all have a good day!