Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Books I Read in February

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Marie Kondo: The life-changing magic of tidying up – I loved this so much I read it twice. I read it, then re-read it straight away. Such a good book if you are interested in de-cluttering your home. I think I’ll write more about this in a separate post, with pictures from my closet etc.

Sarah Wilson: I Quit Sugar – I’m not going to quit sugar, but I do feel better the less sugar I eat. I was a bit disappointed by the text part (rest is recipes) of the book, it was quite short and there wasn’t as much research and information as I had hoped for.

Richard Adams: Watership Down – One of my favourite books of all time. I have listened to this several times, ever since I was a kid and my parents used to play it on long car rides and before bedtime. I love everything about it.

Cheryl Strayed: Wild – This book was intense. I usually read before bed, but I couldn’t read this one, because I just kept reading and wasn’t winding down at all. Good. Intense.

Haruki Murikami: What I talk about when I talk about running – First book I’ve read from Murikami. I hate running, but liked the book nonetheless. It dealt with a lot more than just running. And I did feel the urge to start taking longer walks.

George Orwell: 1984 – Ugh. Why are all the classics so depressing? Is there an upbeat classic? And they are always so well written, you just keep on reading against your will and feel miserable. This is right up there with my arch nemesis One Hundred Years of Solitude as the most depressing books of all time. I felt so bad I couldn’t sleep and had to pull out a children’s book for my next read.

Ritva Toivola: Hunajakarhut, jääkarhut – Some books just make you happy. I really love children’s books, because nothing really bad ever happens. I think some of the best Finnish literature are children’s books (I mean books for about elementary school aged kids, this one has 120 pages, so it’s not a picture book, even though it is illustrated), and Ritva Toivola has several good ones.

Monday, March 2, 2015

White walls

When we lived in our previous apartment, a rental, we had the most horrendous wall paper. It wasn’t big patterned or colourful (except in one room, mine), but it was this pale 80’s wallpaper, which had a pattern you find mostly in old men's long johns. I used to dream of the day I’d have my own house and I could have pure white walls.

So, my number one priority when we moved in to our new home, was to get rid of the wall paper and paint all the walls white.

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The worst one was what is now Jake’s game room. It had this hideous burned orange wallpaper going on (above), and my parents spent a good day ripping it out.

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And another few painting it. Isn’t that like a completely different room?

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There was also a brown entry, which we painted grey. Mum vetoed white as too impractical, with all the muddy shoes and clothes. It’s ok, I like grey too.

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The bathroom was painted with the same brown colour, and painting it white made it feel so much cleaner and bigger.

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There was also panelling of light wood in the kitchen with had been left unpainted, and it clashed horribly with the dark window frames and floor. It was painted white.

There were also a few pale purple accent walls (behind my bike mess, on the right). The wall in my room was painted white, but the living room still needs to be painted. But it also needs new crown moulding, so we decided to leave it for later.

All the other walls are now white! I just love it. I think it’s going to be my new motto: when in doubt, go for white.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions: 365 Illustrations

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As you can probably tell by the title of this post one of my new year’s resolutions for 2015 was (is) to do 365 illustrations.

I was inspired by a Elise Joy podcast where artist crystal moody told about her project to do an illustration a day in 2014. I was intrigued, but my mind instantly rebelled against having to do one everyday, it sounded like work and not fun at all. And while I wanted to draw more, I didn’t want to have to draw.

So instead of doing one everyday, I decided to do 365 ones. Which, while meaning an average of one everyday, also meant that I could skip days if I didn’t feel like it, and then on the days I would feel like it, I could draw 20 if I wanted.

This would also mean that I could never be behind (or ahead), except on the very last day of the year. And even if I didn’t do 365, I’d still probably crank out a decent amount, certainly more than if I didn’t do this resolution.

It’s been fun so far! I decided that the illustrations would have to be neither finished nor good, and I think that’s been a key to keeping it fun. I’ve been able to explore stuff I would not normally do, or didn’t even think I was interested in, without a fear of failure. You may have noticed a few on the blog already, mainly my profile picture in the sidebar, and the Valentine’s day one.

Above are the illustrations 7. and 8. I had a bit of a cat phase, which I, as a dedicated dog person, found bizarre. But I just went with it, and loved it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I read in January

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I managed to read just two books in January: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Yep, just two books, by the same author, both books I’ve read before.

I didn’t really know what to read, and that always leads to re-reading with me. It is out of the question not to read at all. I must have something to read.

These two seemed to be right for the time as they deal with new years resolutions and new beginnings. I know some people see re-reading as pointless, but I find it comforting.

I don’t have much else to say except I really like both these books and am already looking forward to Gretchen Rubin's new book about habits.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ballet bar

I think the best bit about owning your house is that if you wish you can put up a ballet bar. Or ask you father to put one up, anyway.

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Below is what the house looked before we bought it. I knew I wanted to have a ballet bar somewhere, if possible, and the only logical place was in the hallway in front of that oval mirror.

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The previous owner left us the mirror. I didn’t really care for it (it had an floral pattern on it, that really isn’t my style, and it’s too small for the space), but we decided to leave it so that we wouldn't have to fill the holes left behind by it and paint the whole wall.

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I asked my dad if he could put up a bar for me and we went on a hunt for the equipment. It was surprisingly hard to find the bar and the holders. Maybe people don’t usually build their own ballet bars. I know they sell ready made ballet bars, but those things are ridiculously expensive. We did finally manage to hunt some down, and ta-dah!

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Isn’t it nice? I was so happy. I have to say, dads are the best.

Then, about a month later, I happened to mention about not liking the mirror to Jake's grandparents and they said they had a large mirror they wanted to get rid off. Cue angels singing.

A few days later, they showed up with the mirror, took down the old one and put up the new one.

Doesn’t this look better for the space?

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I don’t think you can really tell from the picture how big the mirror is. It is huge.

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Jake’s grandparents liked the old mirror, took it with them, and everyone is happy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kitchen lamp

We have bit of a dark wood and white theme going on. Mainly because this house has dark floors and window frames, which we aren’t going to replace. And I like white.

I bought this lampshade a year ago at a thrift store for 4€. I really liked the flowerlike shape and thought of hanging it in our dining room. But never got around to doing it. Too technical for me.

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Last summer I did manage to paint it white. And then when we moved here and were a lamp short for the kitchen, my father got it up in a bout five minutes.

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I love it. It’s a bit old fashioned, I remember something like this from the eighties, but I also think it’s very pretty and the white makes it fresh. It also throws very lovely shadows on the walls and the ceiling when it’s on.

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And it goes with the theme.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Quick doorframe fix

When we were looking for a house we didn’t want a fixer upper. We aren’t that handy and didn’t want to have to do a lot. The house we ended up buying is in a good shape and doesn’t need anything major. But it does need a lot of little touch ups.

One of the first things I wanted to do, was to do something about the door frames. The previous owner had a dog and I guess it had scratched or gnawed on the frames, so that they were missing bits and the paint had chipped of.

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Ugh.

I opted for a quick fix and just painted over them with white paint.

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So much better. It’s not perfect, but unless you squat down to see, it’s not really that noticeable. The whole place looked instantly cleaner and brighter.

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I’d like to paint the whole doorframes and the doors at some point, but that’ll have to wait for the summer, when I can open the windows for ventilation. For now, this’ll do.