I love the fact that I can turn this
I got the idea from this book with crocheting/knitting/embroidery projects by Sanna Vatanen.
Oden and Freya are digging my booties, too.
Yoga Girl Book Review
Yoga has obviously become very popular, which is great, but I am a sceptic when it comes to pretty much anything being mangled by mainstream media, and thus being stripped of all its deeper meaning, and being turned into a fad. So when I first saw Yoga Girl enclosed in a (Swedish) women’s magazine, I assumed the book had to be one of those trendy lifestyle books with pretty pictures and pseudo-insightfulness, probably penned by some IT-girl (or really: a ghost-writer).
In other words: exactly the kind of book I would never spend any money on but that I would definitely check out at the library. A guilty pleasure, just like the magazine it came with, which I would never buy, either – but definitely read at the hairdresser or a doctor’s waiting room.
Gosh, I am grateful for the Swedish public libraries – and my good sense to give in to this particular guilty pleasure. (Note to self: stop judging. Accept your guilty pleasures as pleasures, no need for guilt.) I ended up reading Rachel Brathen’s story in one sitting, even staying up past my bedtime (which is something I never do, I get really crabby when my sleeping pattern gets messed up).
In hindsight it feels like I shouldn’t be surprised at all by how much I loved the book, despite the fact that it is so popular. Some things really are popular because they are great! There is something so true about some things that they strike a chord with a lot of people. Yoga Girls is one of those completely justifiedly popular things.
Yeah, there are the pretty pictures of the gorgeaous Rachel Brathen on the stunning beach, radiating health, joy, strength, the whole package. And tons of stylish boho outfits, that sent me right off into that consumer frenzy, where I felt like I couldn’t possibly feel good about my own yoga practice (leggings with holes in places that make them impossible to wear in public much?) anymore unless I treated myself to at least one new outfit.
But I get it: the visual appeal of pretty much any product is more important than ever. Who wants to read blurbs, right?! Also, the concern with appearances does not necessarily have to be an exclusively consumerist thing. No, appearances and material wealth obviously don’t make us truly whole and happy. However, I do believe that once you’ve embraced the concept that you already have everything you need within you to experience joy and contentment, this will affect everything around you (externally). Brathen’s story is one big, fat affirmation of this belief.
I can’t count the times I thought I really wanted something – but it would only happen once I’d „gotten over it“. I can still appreciate those things, but my happiness doesn’t seem dependent on them anymore.
Brathen’s biography thus far is obviously the suff great stories are made from, with her transformation from a severley self-destructive adolescence to enlightenment, healing, and, yes, wealth and a life on a dream of an island. It is maybe not so strange that someone – Brathen – who clearly has the ability (the courage?) to go all in for something, can do so in either direction. Being a rather careful person myself, the effects of my life choices are naturally less extreme. But even I can confirm that Brathen is right (at least about me) when she writes that we all carry this wish inside of us to be wild and live adventurous.
I have had a feeling for the past few years as if I had this parachute inside of me, but that I am afraid to pull on the rope that would open it. Afraid to know my actual size, my actual greatness. Brathen’s story is encouraging, and makes me dream of all the things that might come if I allowed them into my life. There are never enough of those kind of stories.
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.
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!
Junk Food – for real
I am not only a hoarder when it comes to thrift-stores, no, I also hoard books. Library books. I cannot praise Gothenburg’s library enough – free membership, branches in every part of town, a huge selection, and, the best of all (yet also my downfall, as will soon become apparent): you can borrow a lot of items at once. I mean it: A LOT. You’re not supposed to borrow more than five at a time but there is no mechanism in the scanner that prevents you from checking out more.
I try to be reasonable but what does happen to me a lot is, that I go to one of the libraries (they are nice places to hang out in town when it’s cold outside and you’re waiting for someone), and I find something that interests me. Lately mostly cook books, and diy related stuff. Mainly because those are really nice to look at, and inspiring, and also: expensive, so I wouldn’t buy them. What happens next then is me thinking „Oh, I want to borrow this one. But wait, I already have so many books at home. But if I don’t check this one out now, I’ll probably forget the title, and what if it’s not there anymore next time I come here?!“ So… you get the picture.
This past week I borrowed a cook book, which makes me want to cook/bake through every single one of its recipes. It’s called Junk Food – på riktigt. I’d translate that with: Junk Food – for real. It combines two interests of mine – junk food and health. Health is obviously relative, in this case I mean that the food is made from the best ingredients possible (because you’re the one making it, duh), no funny business like preservatives, flavorings, etc. So the book has recipes for how you make all the classic junk food meals from scratch. Get this: there is even a recipe for how you make marshmallows!? I’m in love. Also, the food photography is really appealing – lots of vibrant colors.
I am planning on making hamburgers (including making my own bbq sauce and hamburger dressing) tomorrow but since the dough for the buns is a yeast dough, I prepared that tonight (fresh yeast dough tastes great but it is basically a guarantee for a stomach ache).
So, thank you Gothenburg library. I actually think I will purchase this book.
To be continued …