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Stunning skies of bright azure are Lady Winter’s farewell gift. The sun grows in its splendor, bright and brilliant with a hint of  warmth as it strengthens in the journey towards a new, softer season. Spring has not yet sprung, but it’s near-readiness is palpable.

It’s been a busy week. Little Emma turns 6 months today. This week she has started to roll over for the very first time. I am so incredibly proud, and so amazed at how quickly time is flying. She continues to be the most relaxed baby to  “roll” the earth:)

At the same time we are rediscovering the world through the eyes 4-year-old Isabel. Yesterday, she put on spectacles for the first time, following her first eye test a few weeks ago. I do believe that she has seen my face properly for the very first time this week. Imagine. It was a moving experience of loss and of joy.

As you see from the pictures, this week has also been a time for many beautiful winter walks. It’s still quite cool here; around three or four degrees, but the slight raise in temperature is noticeable. The mornings and evenings are lighter, the days are lengthening and the atmosphere is one of hope and new beginnings. We are also treated to beautiful sunsets over the sea.

in March and April we can see the Sun setting into the sea from our living-room window. This is my favourite time of the year to sit with a cup of tea in the evening and just gaze. I can sit there for hours. I promise to share some pictures in future blogs. The one below was just at the end of the sunset and so is a little dark.

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Here in Norway the 1st March is considered the first day of spring.  So: Happy Springtime!

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Tumbling tulips. I adore tulips. Aren’t they wonderful? A true harbinger of spring. I know that many have had tulips in their home since January, but I resist the temptation. I want the exquisite pleasure of seeing their bright beauty when I really am feeling that spring is in the air.

Isn’t it wonderful that we are on the precipice of the warmer, lighter half of the year? Do you feel your heart lightening, the spring in your step. the ever so slight relief of having made it through another winter? I am quite sure that survival instinct is ingrained in us all.

There has been little time for crafting this week, but I do have some projects on the go that I will share with you soon. I have some beautiful fabric which I am just itching to do something with….sneak peek….

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But I do have a recipe for you. This is an easy pasta recipe which pretty much uses store-cupboard ingredients. I put it together quickly when we spontaneously invited friends to dinner after ice-skating.

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Pasta with Bacon and Cheese Sauce

(Dedicated to Trond🙂

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You will need:

500g pasta of your choice

2 tbsp. butter

2 heaped tablespoons flour

500ml milk

200g cheese of choice, grated

1 small tin sweetcorn

1 handful frozen peas

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

fresh parsley to taste and for garnish (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Boil water in a large pan and cook pasta according to instructions on packet

2.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Cut up bacon rashers into small pieces (I use scissors for ease) and fry until golden and almost crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside.

3. Turn down heat to medium. Stir flour into butter until combined. It’s supposed to be lumpy at this point. Heat for 1 minute.

4. Add milk; a little at a time, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps. Turn up the heat and bring to boil, whisking the whole time. When the sauce begins to boil; take off the heat. Add most of the cheese, reserving a little to sprinkle over the top of the dish when finished. Stir until the cheese melts and is combined into the sauce.

5. Place back on a low-medium heat. Add the bacon. Add sweetcorn and peas and warm through. Add oregano and paprika, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add fresh parsley at the end, if using.

6. Drain off the pasta, leaving 2-3 tbsp cooking water in the pan with the pasta. The starch in the cooking liquid will give your finished sauce a smoother, silky consistency. Pour the bacon sauce onto the pasta and stir to combine. Serve in bowls for maximum comfort eating. Sprinkle cheese and fresh parsley on top. Garlic bread would be a perfect accompaniment to this dish!

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Enjoy!  ‘Til next time…..

Marilyn x

5 free owl crafts

Hello there! 

The crafting world has been owl crazy for a while. And I love it! Here I share with you some lovely free crafts found online. Click on the pictures for the links to patterns. Some great bloggers out there!

Let me know what you think: which is your favorite? Which will you be making? To motivate myself (and yourselves) I will launch a craft-a-long with the most popular one!

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First up is crochet of course, since that is my craft du jour right now. This adorable crochet owl rattle is by Naomi from her blog Lovely little life. Looks like it can be made pretty quickly and would make a lovely gift. I’ll be making this for my little EL who is soon 6 months.

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Who wouldn’t want one of these? I adore beautiful crafts that are also useful. Owl tape measure cover from Tiny Apartment Crafts. So cute! Would make a great gift!

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Quirky little pillowbox owls from Kerry’s paper crafts. Great for giving a voucher, candies, a chocolate bar. Fun!

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Gorgeous felt owl ornaments from Jessica Levitt at Juicy bits. It seems I have a bit of a penchant for colourful owls with googly eyes!

And finally…….

(I don’t know if you would call this a craft, strictly speaking, but I am all for anything that makes mealtimes more fun and encourages young children to eat up! )

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….”what is that?? “, you’re thinking.

Well, I made  a version of this fun  open sandwich. The rather more prof looking original is by Jill from the blog Meet the Dubians. My sandwich, as well as my picture; is a far cry from the beautifully stylised picture on Jill’s blog. But I don’t really mind because I made it, in a huge hurry amidst a chaotic saturday afternoon. And little IK seemed to like it, especially once she figured out what it was.

Which admittedly took a little longer then I had anticipated. I do believe the word  frog was mentioned first. I pretended not to hear….. 

Have a hoot this weekend!

Marilyn x

(For Norwegian, scroll down. Disclaimer:  I am not Norwegian! Quality of translation may vary!🙂
 
Hi there!
 

Time for a children’s activity!
 
This activity is all about beginning to identify the letters of the alphabet. Suitable for preschoolers and ambitious toddlers! You will need:
 
* Alphabet magnets in a jar
* A blanket to spread them out on
* A notebook or alphabet cards
* Magnet Board (optional)

 
 

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Pretty self explanatory really. First the little one takes out all the letters from the jar and spreads them out on the blanket. Mummy or daddy draws a letter on a piece of baby or uses an alphabet card. The little one has to find the matching magnet, and place it either on the magnet board or by the drawn letter/card.
 
If you want a quiet activity you could draw a few large letters at a time and let your little one find the corresponding magnets. Checking in every now and then to give praise and positive feedback keeps up the motivation!
 

This is a really simple activity with many variations! If you have children of similar ages you could make this into a competition… who can find all the letters first. The next challenge would to be to put the letters in order, or even find the matching lower case letters.
 
It’s a great way to introduce your little ones to the alphabet and get a learning discussion going. If you want to do the activity with you child you can use it as a starting point for discussing which words begin with the different letters, and get your little ones used to the sounds/phonics made when two letters are put together. Great for quality time together. Small prizes are always popular!
 
Enjoy!

Marilyn xx
 
 
*********************************
 
 
Hei
 
Tid for et barneaktivitet!
 
Denne aktiviteten handler om begynner å identifisere bokstavene i alfabetet. Egnet for preschoolers og ambisiøse smårollinger! Du vil trenge:
 
* Alphabet magneter i en krukke
* Et teppe å spre dem ut på
* En bærbare eller alfabetet kort
* Magnet Board (valgfritt)
 
 
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Ganske selvforklarende egentlig. Først den lille tar ut alle bokstavene fra glasset og sprer dem ut på teppet. Mamma eller pappa skriver en bokstaver på et arkø eller bruker et alfabet kort. Den lille  må finne matchende magnet, og plasser den enten på tavlen eller ved  bokstavekort.
 
Hvis du vil ha en rolig aktivitet du kan skriver  flere bokstaver om gangen og la den lille finne tilsvarende magneter. Sjekker inn nå og da for å gi ros og positive tilbakemeldinger!
 
Dette er en veldig enkel aktivitet med mange muligheter! Hvis du har barn i samme aldersgruppe du kan gjøre dette til en konkurranse … hvem som kan finne alle bokstavene først. Den neste utfordringen ville være å sette bokstavene i orden, eller til og med finne matchende små bokstaver.
 
Det er en flott måte å introdusere små til alfabetet og få i gang en pedagogisk samtale! Hvis du ønsker å gjøre aktiviteten med d barnet, kan du bruke den som et utgangspunkt for diskusjon om hvilke ord begynner med de forskjellige bokstaver. Eller få de små vant med lydene som lages nå flere bokstaver er satt sammen. Flott for litt kvalitetstid i lag.
 
Enjoy!

Marilyn xx

Hi there friends!

(Norsk under!)

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Thought I would share with you a recently compleated project: cute and fantastically warm baby booties. These were made from a double strand of worsted weight wool on a 4mm hook. This gives them their extra thickness; texture, sturdiness and shape. I love the way they stand up all on their own, to look like proper boots. I am not sure it would be so easy to do this with knitting, without actually felting the boots.

Speaking of felting, I have a bit of a love/dislike (could never say ‘hate’ when referring to fibre arts!) relationship with this technique. When I was a beginner knitter I loved it. I couldn’t believe how (ahem) “prof” my felted items looked after a little trip in the washing machine. It was like magic. Swish…..that unsightly hole: gone! Spin……the dropped stitches: melded into one and disappeared for ever. I love the texture of felted knitting, I love the warmth it provides, the thickness, the shape the structure.

What I dislike about felting is the fact that you can knit for hours and hours and have a huge great project, and then you stick it in the washing machine and out comes something tiny. I just can’t help the slight sense of loss I feel, even if I do love the end product. It just seems slightly wrong, doesn’t it, shrinking a beautiful piece of garment on purpose? I guess I am just not enough of an anarchist.

And don’t even get me started on steeking……urgh, just the thought of scissors approaching a carefully knitted item makes me shudder. Here in Norway, people do it all the time. Spend hours on a glorious Bohus style sweater, then suddenly, without warning to faint-hearted foreigners (read: me) whip out a huge pair of scissors:

*Snip*

Me: *slightly choking*What are you doing??!!”

*Snip*

Innocent-looking, scissor- wielding Norwegian: * Matter o’ fact tone* “Making a cardigan.”

I was chatting to a colleague about this the other day to try to find out what steeking was called in Norwegian. And guess what? It appears it doesn’t even have a name here. It’s such a run of the mill, everyday activity here apparently.

So what are your opinions on steeking or felting? Favourite projects? Go ahead, leave comments, send me pics, I would love to see! Maybe  post some up on my blog!

The pattern for the crochet boots, by the way, is by The Lovely Crow. Click on her name for a link to her gorgeous and heart-meltingly-adorable patterns on her etsy shop. They are supposed to be cowboy boots, really cute, with little stars on them. But I never got round to making the star appliques as another project caught my wandering eye. Never too late though.  These are a really quick make by the way: a dedicated crocheter could make a pair in an evening.

Finally I have to just add some pics of the cutest little EL modelling the wares like a prof. I love, love, love blogs that share pics of the blogger’s children, especially the cute little babies and toddlers. And I would love to be able to do this myself. But with the world being what it is today, I simply don’t dare. So if it does happen, it will be very occasional. If you are a blogger: do you share pics of your little un’s or not ? Was it a hard decision to make? What informed your decision?

 

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wheeeeee!

Take care, all!

Marilyn xx

Jeg ville dele med dere en nylig fulført prosjekt: søte og utrolig varme baby booties. Disse ble laget av en dobbel tråd ull på en 4mm krok.Dette gir dem deres ekstra tykkelse, tekstur, stabilitet og form. Jeg elsker måten de stå opp på egen hånd, for å se ut som skikkelige støvler. Jeg er ikke sikker på at det ville være så lett å gjøre dette med strikking, uten egentlig toving støvlene.

Snakker av toving, jeg har litt av en kjærlighet / misliker (kunne aldri si “hater” når det refereres til fiber kunst!) forhold med denne teknikken. Da jeg var ny til strikking elsket jeg toveing. Jeg kunne ikke tro hvor (ahem) “prof” mine tovet prosjekt så ut etter en liten tur i vaskemaskinen. Det var som magi Swish ….. forsvant skjemmende hull:.!  Spin …… mistet masker: smidd i ett og forsvant for alltid. Jeg elsker teksturen av tovet strikking, jeg elsker varmen den gir, tykkelsen, formen strukturen.

Hva jeg misliker om toving er det faktum at du kan strikke i timevis og har en stor flott prosjekt, og deretter stikke den i vaskemaskinen og ut kommer noe bittesmå. Jeg kan bare ikke hjelpe en liten følelse av tap jeg føler, selv om jeg elsker sluttproduktet.Det virker bare litt feil, ikke sant, krymper et vakkert stykke plagg med vilje? Jeg antar jeg bare ikke nok av en anarkist.

Og ikke engang få meg i gang på steeking …… urgh, bare tanken på saks nærmer en nøye strikket element gjør meg skjelve. Her i Norge, folk gjør det hele tiden. Tilbringe timer på en strålende Bohus stil genser, så plutselig, uten advarsel til sarte sjeler utlendinger (les: meg) plukker opp en stor saks:

* Snip *

Meg: * med klump i halsen * “Hva er det du gjør?!”

* Snip *

saks-wielding nordmann med unskyldig blikk: * Matter o ‘fact tone * “Jeg lager en Kardigan.”

Jeg pratet med en kollega om denne dagen for å prøve å finne ut hva steeking ble kalt på norsk. Og gjett hva? Det ser det ikke engang et navn her. Det er slik en kjøre av møllen, hverdagslig aktivitet her tilsynelatende.

Så hva er dine meninger om steeking eller toving? Favoritt prosjekter?  Legge inn kommentarer, send meg bilder, jeg ville elske å se! Kanskje viser de på bloggen min!

Mønsteret for hekle støvler, forresten, er ved The Lovely Crow . Klikk på navnet hennes for en link til hennes nydelige og hjerte-meltingly-søt mønstre på hennes Etsy shop. De er ment å være cowboy boots, virkelig søt, med små stjerner på dem.Men jeg har aldri fått rundt å gjør stjerners appliques som et annet prosjekt fanget mitt vandrende øye. Aldri for sent skjønt. Dette er en veldig rask make forresten: en dedikert crocheter kunne lage et par i løpet av en kveld.

Til slutt har jeg å bare legge noen bilder av den søteste lille EL modellering varene som en prof.. Jeg elsker, elsker, elsker blogger som deler bilder av Bloggerens sine barn, spesielt de søte små babyer og småbarn. Og jeg ville elske å være i stand til å gjøre dette selv. Men med verden blir hva det er i dag, jeg rett og slett ikke tør. Så hvis det skjer, vil det være svært sporadisk. Hvis du er en blogger: deler du bilder av din lille  eller ikke? Var det en vanskelig beslutning å ta? Hva informert din beslutning?

Varme hilsen

Marilyn xx

Hello there!
 

Fat, fluffy flakes of snow are falling gently outside my window, covering everything in spinned cotton of the purest white. The hint of spring that I felt in the air at the end of last week is a distant memory. Mother nature reminds us that it is still winter, we are not quite there yet.

 

But that’s ok. Because here inside its warm and cosy. The fire is lit, I have had a delicious and healthy breakfast (natural yogurt and berries with oats on top): and little 5 month old Emma Louise is gurgling happily to herself. Life is good.

 

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The view from our living room window is just amazing now. The sky and sea and lake are all beautiful tone-on-tone shades of grey. From the pales white of the snow to the deep blue grey of the sea, which reflects the dark, moody clouds that offer the promise of more snow to come. Last night I peeked out the window in the middle of the night, as I often do when I am up feeding little Emma. There winds were blowing a gale and the huge hailstones were flying through the air horizontally. They completely covered the rooftops and the ground. Today; all is calm. The mood of the nature around me is reflective. Slightly melancholic. Interspersed with sudden smiles of bright sunshine.

 

How are you today?

 

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I wanted to send you an image of the lovely bright colourful roses that I treated myself to recently. (Well, I say treated myself, but it was hubby that actually paid for our groceries yesterday, so I guess he bought me flowers!).
In the midst of all the thoughtful greys and winter whites displayed outside, these are just pure sunshine and they lift my spirits no end.

 

I was going to go for my usual choice of pastel pink roses, but little Isabel, my four-year old daughter, wanted me to get the bright orange ones. I am not such a big fan of bright orange, unless its autumn!  But then we saw these, a bright colourful mix, and a compromise was achieved! As I said, I usually go for pastels but I think these look lovely and they have really brightened up my kitchen, and my day. Seems that dear little Isabel has impeccable taste! Want a closer look?

 

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I am slowly getting away from my urge to have everything in pastell-y colours; from my home decor to my clothing. This is partly to do with some of the great colourful craft blogs out there. If I need a colour fix, I have several bloggers I follow that never fail to deliver: French Sucrette at le monde de Sucrette, with her great colourful crochet blankets; the warm and inspiring home of the famous and talented Lucy at Attic 24. These two bloggers are also avid Crocheteers and use their craft to create bright and colourful homes that are just adorable. So, inspired by them, I am bringing in the brights with my spring  fling blanket and rainbow of roses.

 

I still love shabby chic though. For those of you that love romantic homes you need go no further than to Olivia’s. I have no idea how I am going to merge my adoration of slightly vintage romantic style with my new love of cosy country colour and an anything-goes palette. Any thoughts or ideas? Any blog recommendations for either style  would be greatly appreciated!

 

What I must admit, I’e gone off on a bit a tangent. I was actualy going to tell you about techniques I am using to have a more organized life. Oh, and show you the crocheted baby booties I’ve finished…..

But little Emma needs to be loved up , so I’ll have to get back to you in a new post.

Have a beautiful day!

Marilyn x

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Hello friends! Thanks for stopping by!

I adore pretty ribbons and I have plenty, but I must confess that I never know what to do with them. They look lovely and colourful stored in their little glass jars, but I want to put them to good use, without necessarily having to break out the sewing machine (there’s not always time for that ’round here!)

Well last week I went out to buy some binding for a dress I am planning to sew, and I came back with a good few metres of pretty ribbons and binding that I just didn’t need. I couldn’t resist! Besides I just know that I will use them some day, right?!

And then, I was looking at my plain white ikea lamp and wandering how I could spruce it up a bit. And then it dawned on me! I could add one of my pretty new ribbons.

Now I am a commitment-o-phob when it comes to craft. I can’t stick to just one craft. Its crochet one week, sewing the next, with a bit of papercraft thrown in. And with each craft I have several projects going at one time and thousands of plans for many more. And I am completely in love with the craft du jour and completely convinced that this time I will stay faithful. For ever. I love crochet and I will never, ever knit again. Until, oh, maybe two days later; when a lovely pattern for a knitted hat catches my wondering eye….:)

Well the same applies to interior. One f the reasons I love white is because it provides a blank canvas for whatever mood I am in. I like to change the look of my home according to the season and holiday. So back to my lamp. I couldn’t face the thought of glueing the pretty floral ribbon to my lampshade. oh no. Way too permanent. What if I got bored with it? What would I do at Christmas where the look is red and cosy and wintry? So what did I do? I tied the ribbon to the lamp. The top and the bottom. The knots are hidden on the side of the lamp that faces the wall.Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Admittedly its a bit roughly done and needs adjusting slightly. But I don’t care. I now have a pretty little ribbon on display without feeling all tied down.🙂

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Anyone else have a problem staying faithful to their craft?🙂 What are you working on now, and what is tempting you even more??:)

Blessed

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I cannot believe that these pictures were taken just a 5 minute walk away from my house.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I see all this natural beauty around me. I still can’t believe that I actually live here.

If you don’t already know, I am a british girl living on the south-west coast of Norway. And yes, it is cold sometimes in winter (though not as cold as you think!). But, oh my goodness; the beauty that surrounds me still takes my breath away, even after 7 years of living here. And even in the middle of winter.

It’s often windy and rainy here where I live, and I complain just as everyone else does. By the end of March I am desperate, just desperate, to see the slightest yellow hint of a daffodil. Even though I know that I will probably have to wait at least another month.

But recently we have had two solid weeks of frosty, brighter-than-bright, sun filled, crystal clear days. With skies a vivid blue, and air that is icy and fresh and tinged with the smell of wood-smoke (which I love).

And baby Emma and I go out for a brisk morning walk, me bundled up in a down jacket and Emma wrapped up in layers of wool, fleece and down and tucked lovingly in her pram. And the brisk walk always lasts much longer than planned as I inhale deeply the icy freash air and admire the beauty of the scenery around me. And I feel humbled. Grateful. And truly blessed.

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