Friday, February 27, 2009

Bathroom renovation continues....

After nine years of collecting ideas , saving money and searching for someone to do the job...we are over half way through the bathroom renovation project! YEAH! Bo working on the shower area....
Jörgen the tile guy put in the new flooring base...he angles the floor slightly so that all water will make it's way to the main drain under the bathtub. (It's different than in the USA I won't bother explaining all of it.)

Maya wants to help me paint the ceiling...only she's just a bit too short! The pink stuff is a water proof membrane coating that is under the tile layer.
Here's that same shower area from the first photo! The little Mexican tiles look GREAT! Not too overwhelming, we think. This is before the grout was put in....that happened today but I haven't taken photos yet as we can't go into the room. We are really pleased with the way it all looks! Over the weekend Bo and I will put in the furniture pieces so that the plumber and electrician can come back to finish their part of the work...I"m NOT making a guess when it will be finished because we never seem to complete things on a schedule! Better to just avoid the let down of a "due date". I'm just so happy it's getting worked on finally!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For Stephen

My dear cousin Wendy's son (23 years old) died today of pneumonia after a successful lung transplant in December. He had cystic fibrosis. We are grieving. Times like this I hate being far from home with the limits of the time difference and distance to provide (& receive) comfort, assistance and support. My heart and thoughts are with his wonderful family. So many young kids waste their lives away for stupid reasons...he struggled so long to save his! Every moment counted, every enjoyment appreciated. I am proud of his strong desire to experience what life has to offer in the short time he had to savior it. Stephen and his loyal buddy, Ernie in 2008.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Collecting DMC floss for a good cause

Hello...just a quick good friend, Lori's Art and Play, in California is collecting old and new DMC floss for a project in the Nigeria (Stitches of the Sahara) . If you have the desire to help out...check out the information on her blog site. Click here. You can read more about it!

I will be looking around for flosses at the LOPPIS here in Sweden! and in my own over stocked collection! Hope others can help, too!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The poor woman's ski holiday....

The three of us...self portrait on the snow with our skis. My husband is always a little skeptical about these shots I try with all of us at my arm's length (short arm)...but they usually turn our well enough. And I'm glad there's nothing in my teeth or boogies in my nose! Just our big rosy cheeks and happy smiles! OK...the dog doesn't get it...can you see how close my skis are to him? MOVE PEPE, I said you know why one reason I fell the other day was the dog's fault and not mine! It's fun to be on the ski adventure with him anyway...he loves it outside in the snow, I just need to keep him out of my way..especially on hills!
Maya is getting some ski coaching from Pappa...she's doing quite well although a bit on the lazy side. She was so proud of herself going down the little slopes without falling!

Now you wonder why I call this the "poor woman's ski holiday"'s a cheap ski vacation for us...see that yellow house in the background? That's ours! (along with a garden hut and separate garage- for those of you who've never seen it in person) This year we have been so lucky with just enough snow fall, perfect temperatures and nice days with some sun. Many of my colleagues, students and friends travel to Austria, Italy, France and northern Sweden to go skiing...but not us...we just go out our front door and through the gate! It's one of the reasons I am so grateful for living in the countryside of Sweden! I might not have all the restuarants or cultural activities right around the corner but we have nature all around us and after all those years of living in Los Angeles, I can REALLY appreciate the quiet peacefulness of the country!
Each day this week I've been trying to do at least a 30 minute run by myself on the course. My skiing experience is rather limited so I'm really only learning and much of it on my own. I'm not in the best of shape, so trying to avoid injuries as well. 30 minutes is perfect. After watching me the other day, Bo reminded me that I needed to keep my arms and feet moving in balance..right arm up, left leg forward/left arm up, right leg forward...seems so simple, it's the way I walk, right? For some reason I ski like a neanderthal moving my arms and legs of the same side together! So I've been concentrating on that and I fall less...imagine that! Today I learned another important lesson...only follow in others tracks! Seeing a nice flat area to practice on I decided to take a 'short cut' over a little cut-through path...wrong! too many small rocks and not enough snow...fell right on my knee..OUCH! With little licks on my cheeks, Pepe tried to console me...thanks ski partner!

Before moving to Sweden my only other skiing experiences took place when I was 12 years old in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. My parents thought it would be a great idea for me to learn to ski with my cousins one winter after we had spent the Christmas holidays in Pennsylvania and New York with my grandparents and my mother's family (after Grampy had died). It seemed like a good idea and a lot of fun, my cousins are older than I am so I thought it would be so cool to hang out with them and their cute guy friends in a forest cabin on Lake White Heron. These particular cousins, Wendy and Scott, were practically born with skis on their feet so they thought I'd be a natural too...wrong. I was a Floridian...I had webbed feet from swimming so much! The first night of the slopes was a total diaster! Clad only in blue jeans and long johns (NOT water proof) and a hand-me-down jacket, my cousins left me on the bunny slope without any instructions about what to do!!! And off they went...I spent the next eternity, it seemed, falling down, laying on my back, calling for help, sliding into small children, crashing into fences, praying I wouldn't break a leg or my back....I think I only managed to make 3 full runs (that's from the top to the bottom of the bunny hill) during the 2 hours they left me alone. Most of my time was spent on the ground trying to get up again. Wendy came back to check on me...she said "let's see how you're progressing". So we made one run together (on the bunny hill still) ...wouldn't you know it? That time I didn't fall once! And I even managed to stop at the end of the run ON MY FEET (prior to that I was just screaming for everyone to move out of my way as I purposefully crashed at the end because I didn't know how to stop with the skis on!) SOOOO....she thought I was ready for the BIG the HUGE MOUNTAIN where the adults go! I adored my cousin Wendy (still do!) if she said I was ready for the big hills, then I was ready, I never questioned my abilities if she had faith in them! As we went up, and up, and up...I got more and more nervous...but I thought the worse that would happen would be that I would have to just slide down on my butt the whole way back if I couldn't ski down. Well, I wasn't far from truth....I was on my back most of way down with Wendy sighing at my side as she loyally fetched my skis and brought them back to me each time I fell. Her cute boyfriend (?) at the time paused by us each time he passed by and said smart alect remarks which left the 12 year old me feeling like a clumsy baby. Somehow I remember Wendy trying to pass me off on to Scott so she could continue skiing but Scott refused by saying it was Wendy who had taken me off the bunny slope! (Another blow to my 12 year old ego!) By the time we got back to the bottom several hours later, I was soaked wet through...freezing cold and exhausted! Thankfully Wendy and Scott agreed that I had had enough for the first time out. The next day (wearing snow pants this time) they signed me up for the beginners ski class...which I learned a lot and still remember while I'm out on the snow now! But after those 2 days of skiiing, I never had the desire to do it again until I moved here and saw what a lovely opportunity I had to just literally ski out my front door on the the snow covered golf course! Even though I greatly admire those people that fly down the mountains on fast skis, or snow board into the air or swoop along the shaloms, I have seen too many of those "Wide World of Sports" shots of skiers totally losing it and whipping around with body parts twisting in all directions to really want to ski on anything steeper than golf course slopes! This is perfect for me! (and my kid, as far as I'm concerned at this point) I've decided it's like hiking...or scuba peaceful and quiet...let's me enjoy the surroundings!
And what a work out! Look at all that calorie burning SWEAT!
Feels so good! Thankfully, I've not been over doing it, which I usually no aches and pains of out-shapeness (except my knee today...but that will be ok!).
I keep promising....but I WILL post photos of my sewing projects soon...I'm almost done with the twins' quilts...agh...the binding part now. Gotta do that with a good movie on! And my little secret project is coming along...and picked out the project for the Easter Swap and another for my dear friend's 50th birthday! February Posty Pals cards were sent off today! (Our Fabric Post Card group has an official name now! We are the Posty Pals!)

Tomorrow the tile guy comes again for the putting a sealing on the floor and walls...he will start tiling on Monday! yeah! Wish some of my single women friends were near by...this man is very friendly, nice and goodlooking...I would invite them over for a "sponteanous" coffee break.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter fun

It's "Sportlov" (sport vacation) in Sweden this week...many families take the time to travel to places where they can dedicate the week to the winter sports. Since we are doing the bathroom renovation just now, it's not a good week for us to leave just luckily we have a gorgeous covering of snow to enjoy this week before it melts. I'm not very good at skiing but I really enjoy hiking with more balance. I'm getting better at it and fall a lot less now.
Cross country skiing self portraitAs you can see from the tracks, there have been quite a few others out skiing and playing golf during the weekend. Our dog, Pepe, LOVES to be in the snow! It's hard to image him being originally from Florida! Maya does pretty well on the skis...only fell a couple of times and she likes the small hills. This kid is not a dare devil!

Basil thinks the tracks are just for him!

Please, let me in, I"m cold!

This is a cinnamon was supposed to be about 20 cinnamon buns but while I was reading the instructions in Swedish, I was also having a heated discussion with my husband about the bathroom renovation in English. Not a good I ended up putting in 3 cups of water instead of 3 decileters. (over double the amount of water) to compensate I added a lot of flour but was unable to roll out the dough properly. It still tastes good! Reminds me of those apple fritters from the doughnut shop.
Been working on some sewing projects...will show posts later....I'm ready to start machine quilting the twin baby flannel quilts today. I've never done it "properly" but I'll take a deep breath as I begin using the new "walking foot" my brother brought me in December. And my fabric post cards are ready for mailing today too...but I can't find my plastic bags for them! (just like Vicki couldn't find hers!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Glad Alla Hjärtans Dag!

Happy Sweet Valentine's Day!
These are the muffins we made for Maya's class for Thursday (she doesn't have school on Fridays) . The BIG hearts were for the teachers! Maya did most of the decorating herself!
She reported that EVERYONE LOVED the muffins and that only one boy threw his away after eating the candy heart on top. Maya was also very pleased that her little Valentine cards were so appreciated as well. I'm always a little concerned how our American cultural traditions will be received by Maya's classmates & teachers. I don't want to "invade" the Swedish culture with American customs but I also want my daughter to have some of the same experiences I had growing up in the USA. Living in the countryside is different than the cities. Many areas in Swedish cities have been recognizing and celebrating Halloween as an example for a few years, but out here in the countryside about 5-6 years ago my private English students didn't know anything about Halloween (not even from movies or cartoons). So I'm always a bit hesitant about engaging my kid in these activities out here, I don't want her to feel 'odd' or different but it seems as though most people are welcome to these small gestures that aren't overwhelming or too ambitious. And Maya is a child of two cultures which is usually accepted in Sweden as more and more families are multicultural here.
My little baker girl at work.
Fabric post card from my POSTY PAL Rhonda in Texas!
Thanks Rhonda!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday SUN

"Peach Cheeks" has a new dress, designed by Ms. Maya of Sverige! Do you like it?
WISP- "boy twin" quilt is making progress.....

Fabric Post Cards for February are coming along....
SUNSHINE...we felt the sun on Sunday AND on Monday! With a little snow it was even more enjoyable! With much care, Maya wrote out her 30 Valentines for her class and teachers. It's not a Swedish tradition to do this but my wonderful mom sends Maya the little cards from the USA to share with her classmates. So she has done this for 4 years in a row now, I believe her class friends anticipate this little greeting in English each year from Maya. We'll also make Valentine's muffins to share with her classmates. Do you have any fun Valentine traditions to share?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mostly Maya projects & flood

The project Maya picked out to do together continued the last few days.... and we finished "Peach" on Friday! Isn't she cute? Her hair is rather thin as I only had some left over yarn from my Mom's needlepoint work. Maya would like me to make some clothes for her next but in the meantime, she was able to find this outfit that belongs to another cloth dolly she has. Apparently, Maya has plans in her head for 7 more of these dolls! (A few mermaids, of course!)
Notice there is no nose (like her orginal drawing of Obama!) ....Maya told me that the doll didn't need one! Can't argue with that!
Friday evening...of course, just after "normal" working hours we had a disaster on our hands! Nothing was flowing through our drains! AGH! So instead of the dirty laundry water going OUT of the was flooding my crafty room floor! Quickly I had to pick everything up off the floor (yucky wet gross water!), scream for Bo, and keep Maya out of the mess! (she put on her rubber boots to help me!) Luckily, an 'emergency' plumber was in the area (he came from Helsingborg) and he fixed the stoppage in about 20 minutes. Charged us a reduced price since he had already driven out here on another job. (very nice of him!) It was quite amazing work...he used a remote control machine to go through our drainage pipes! How clever!
The school Maya attends is participating in this Piggelin contest for fitness! She will get a certificate at the end if she completes 50 points in physical activities. This has really motivated her to do a bit more than usual with less complaining (like walking with the dog 500 meters for 2 points). What amazes me is how much excersise she gets during regular school activities...(which also count for her Piggelin points). Attending her Tuesday gym class she gets 2 points because they have to walk to get to the gym hall (+ 2 points for the class time)! Then for Thursday's swim class she gets 4 points because they walk even further to get to the swim hall (+ points for the class time)! of the twin quilts...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Projects & Plumbers

Six year old Maya's first completed sewing project! She made this at "Fritids" the After School Care at her school in Sweden. Isn't it cute? This has inspired her.....So I showed her my first sewing book (I think I only made one or maybe two things from the patterns when I was a kid). I bought it at the Book Mobile in the early 70's. (Remember the Book Mobile Sales? do they still have them?) She picked one of the most "difficult" projects to start that means it's mostly MY project. She has stuffed some of the body parts and will paint the face. We'll see what else.... Together we read this part about "PATIENCE" & "MISTAKES" and discussed what & how that applied to her project! She was really getting pushy about it so I was happy to see this page at the front of the book. It's a little hard to do many things at once, especially when Mommy has tonsilitus and really doesn't feel good! And the plumbers were here today for the bathroom reno....these guys are great! The only plumbers in our town of 8,000 and I feel like they give us special care and treatment. But I know others folks in town who think the same thing about these guys! They'll be back later....after some other stuff is done! And somewhere between tonsilitus naps, Maya's projects, plumber & electrician work, making dinner and walking the dog...I've managed to get some work done on this little baby quilt from my 1996 WISP! (work in slow progress) It's a little odd pattern...but remember I had a stack of these triangles cut for just one quilt and I divided up the group to make two similar quilts for twins...the mostly green one is still in pieces but soon will be an official top! I plan on getting more WISP finished this month for the CHALLENGE! To encourage my progress some...I've joined the Easter Swap (click on my side bar Easter Bunny for more information if you'd like to join). Some of my WISP's (circa 1997?) are fabric baskets for Easter....hopefully I can finish them in time for that Easter Swap!

Monday, February 2, 2009

School trip to visit Buddhist Temple

Last Thursday, January 29th, I accompanied the main Swedish teacher of my Grade 5 students to a Buddhist Temple in Bjuv as part of their religious education. As soon as we walked through the gates, we were in a different world, it seemed!
Through a Nun interpreter (Swedish to/fro Vietnamese) we learned about the birth of Buddha (shown below), how to sit properly to mediate, what different symbols are on the alter, what happens after death, meditation techniques, the most important Buddhist holidays, and many other things from the Buddhist Monk.
Beaming with joy at our visit, the Monk answered every one of the good questions the children asked of him, including a demonstration of how to put on a monk's robe! I was very proud of the kids show of respect and the quality and thoughtfulness of their questions. I'm not sure if we came away knowing more about the actual religion but we certainly had a brief glimpse into something very different than what we are used to in a church setting. I think it made the children even more curious to learn about Buddhism, and me, too!
Look at these beautiful prayer flags and decorations ... I was already thinking how I could make a small version!