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Sunday
Mar062016

Changes in the kitchen.

Hello! I´m sorry I went missing for so long. But! I´ve been busy with some house projects and I finally have a few pictures to share. Back story for those who haven´t reading for long: We got a new kitchen three years back, and I am still very happy with it. But the shelf situation wasn´t quite right, so last year we installed new shelves. It was an improvement but I never really loved them. I can be a bit obsessive about these things (understatement of the year) so in January I ordered new shelves on a whim. I had come across old kitchen pictures and realized that I really loved the single long shelf, and that without the questionable brackets this could indeed be the solution I was looking for all the time. Previously I had dismissed floating shelves as too modern for this house, but I figured I´d give it a try anyway.

At the same time, the kitchen was long overdue for a new paint job (dirty walls are one of my pet peeves, and with all the animals our walls get grimy real quick). Since I had ordered massive oak shelves that would basically disappear with the dark wall, I decided to dismiss it entirely and paint the whole kitchen the same color. That was kind of hard because I loved the shade on this wall (Charleston Gray by Farrow & Ball), but at the same time I am kind of over feature walls and I was ready for a change.

The kitchen is now painted Strong White from Farrow & Ball which is, well, a strong white. It reads white but it´s really a soft, warmish grey. I love it. I had considered some of their warmer, darker greys (Shadow White, Slipper Satin) but these read too beige/yellow for me. Anyway, really happy with the paint choice. Also very happy with the shelves, although their installation nearly caused a divorce. I still don´t know why but when we first installed these, there was a definite tilt. It took some serious tweaking to get it right which is not something I expect with custom-made, not-so-inexpensive shelfing. The massive wood is beautiful though and I don´t think it looks too modern, just clean and simple, which is right up my alley. So mixed reviews with a happy ending (the shelves are from here, for those who do not fear for their marriage).

For those who wonder where all the stuff from the old shelves went - I did some serious re-organisation and purging at the beginning of the year and suddenly I had lots of free space in my kitchen! Miraculous. So most of it is now stored away but there is still enough space to display my little ceramics collection. Priorities! 

Have a good week and see you soon with pictures from another painting project that I´ve finished today! I am a painting machine these days.

Monday
Feb152016

February dispatches.

Let´s look at this picture and pretend it´s spring. Deal? Thought so. I grabbed this collection of spring plants on a recent visit to Ikea (so cheap and later the bulbs go in the garden, so win win!) and I guess they´ll sort of kind of be my February bough? I always think a particular blog series could be *so much fun* and then life happens? Sigh. 

This picture is such a classic. Marlene is grumpy and Ludwig is wary. Our redhead doesn´t really have such an easy life with his feline siblings. It´s funny how when we first adopted Ludwig we thought he would torment the cats but it turned out to be just the other way around? Except for Emma. Emma loves Ludwig and vice versa. 

Speaking of Marlene, here´s another picture of her. I realized I took maybe four pictures of Marlene last year, tops. And I feel awful about it so I promise to do better in 2016. The thing about Marlene is that she is mostly sleeping all day every day (she is an old lady after all) and I have a ton of pictures of Marlene sleeping, so I never bother... but I should! I shall! I love you my grumpy old diva! I would love you even more if you stopped peeing on the dining room rug! 

Lastly, this bread. I made it twice the past few weeks and it´s my new favorite. So gorgeous to look at and so very tasty. It´s too large for any of my fermentation baskets so I use my largest colander which leaves those adorable dots on the surface. Yup, I am not ashamed to say that these are the things that make me happy. 

Wednesday
Feb032016

Book Club: The gardens of Arne Maynard.

I am sorry the posting is so light these days - it´s just that I don´t have much to tell or show you at the moment. I wouldn´t mind if we could just skip January and February - those cold bleak months are my least favorite. We were going to do a lot of home improvements this winter but it seems that for each and every project an important item is missing so I imagine I´ll be standing on a ladder in April when all I want to do is work in the garden. Oh well!

Anyway here is a little pick-me-up: A new garden book! The most beautiful exquisite wonderful garden book! Seriously, it´s the new number one on my list. To be honest with you I hadn´t heard of Arne Maynard before, but then a friend with good taste sent me a link to the book announcement and I knew I had to have it. In case you´re as ignorant as I am, Maynard is a contemporary British garden designer and the book introduces you to some of the gardens he has done so far. I got the book for Christmas and have been reading it little by little ever since, savoring every single page and photograph.

The publisher kindly sent me a PDF of the book so I was able to grab a few screenshots for this post (although I am not sure if I am actually allowed to do this, but let´s live dangerously for a change). Above is a picture of the place where Maynard currently lives. Aren´t those tulips stunning? Coincidentally I´ve planted lots of those dark purple tulips in the walled garden last autumn - can´t wait to see how they look!

(Also can we talk about the color of his house? I´d never chosen this shade myself but I swear it looks stunning in each and every photograph. Well done.)

Maynard seems to love (pink) climbing roses, they are everywhere in the book and look beautiful. He talks a lot about how a house can be "clothed" in roses; I totally agree!

This is such a beautiful color combination.

He also seems very keen on wild flower meadows which I totally understand. So beautiful! I´ve been thinking about going "wild" in parts of my garden but I think our soil is way too rich to achieve a look like this.

Lastly, a picture that makes me long for spring even more. Look at all this green! I want to be there right now. So in conclusion, buy this book! It´s a bit on the expensive side but I swear you won´t regret it. If you want to get a better feel for the book or learn more about Arne Maynard I recommend you visit this page.

(Pictures 1+2 are by me; 3-7 are taken from the book - the photographer is William Collinson).

Sunday
Jan242016

Three days away.

We just returned from a long weekend at the Baltic sea. We try to get away each year for a few days to celebrate our wedding anniversary (which is January 22nd). I know it´s a strange time of the year to go on a holiday, much like it´s a strange time to get married, but I´d very much recommend both! Winter weddings can be beautiful (ours was) and a snowy beach that you basically have for yourself is quite wonderful too! 

We stayed here which is also something I´d very much recommend. This is a very special little hotel, and while I imagine the design isn´t for everyone - it´s very raw and unfinished with bare walls etc. - I thought it was very beautiful in its own way. We stayed in apartment 6 which was huge and very cozy and had lovely light and pretty views of the snowy garden. Ludwig loved the latter - I think we´ll need to get him a bed with a view! 

Our first day was ice cold and sunny, just how I like it. We took a hike along the frozen "Bodden" (I didn´t find a translation for this - a certain kind of coastal waters?) which was very beautiful until our crazy dog managed to escape and disappeared among the reeds to hunt some birds. Not funny and quite dangerous but he eventually came back and all is well. Phew! 

The next day was greyish but it had snowed all night so we took a long walk along the wintery beach. Pretty, pretty! Also I´ll take this house with the red shutters, thank you very much. And now we are back and I am already thinking about where we should go next year. 
Have a good week everybody! January is almost over which means that spring is near - right?

Monday
Jan112016

A year of boughs.

So I made another bough. I really liked how my christmas bough looked on this wall and since we are keeping the low cupboard for now, I thought I´d try and see what else I could come up with. It was so much fun! Every winter I admire the texture and color of dead plants, flowers and weeds. Most of them aren´t pretty per se, but I always tought a combination of them could be special. So here it is, my January bough. Everything was collected on a walk with Ludwig, and it took me about one hour to put it together. Time well spent, I would say!

Since I like the look of a bough on this wall, and since it´s so much fun making them, I thought I´d start a project - one bough per month in 2016. I already have a lot of ideas for plants that I would like to use. I´ll only use what grows in my garden or what I can collect on walks so I imagine the boughs will look very seasonal. I´ll obviously need to use mostly plants that dry well, but the more I think of it, the more possibilities come to my mind! Dried herbs look very pretty for example, think lavender, thyme or sage... hydrangeas, roses, colorful leaves, mossy branches... I can´t wait! 

By the way I am not even sure if a bough is a thing? I was initially inspired by Justine´s bough (which is the prettiest thing ever) but a quick search revealed that even Pinterest isn´t aware of boughs, so... let´s change that! A year of boughs! Starting now. 

PS: I am sorry that the picture quality isn´t great; there´s just not enough light these days. Don´t you love the January gloom? I sure don´t.