Showing posts from 2016

Happy New Year!

Dear readers, wishing you all a Very Happy New Year filled with love, and prosperity plus a little something magical to make it extra special!  Thank you for continuing to read my blog.  
Next summer we're headed to Sweden which will make my year extra special too!  xo


Have you read about this adorable little thing they're doing in Malmö?  They've created a miniature restaurant for mice called Il Topolino on Bergsgatan with a store called Noix de Vie!  James Corden puts it best on The Late, Late Show by stating "So Sweden is the Best Place Ever". Just get past the political stuff on this video and you'll be in the know.  Otherwise here's a link that will explain the newest, and smallest art work to hit the streets of Malmö.  Hope that you like it!  The mice do!
This begs the question "Why the hell are we not living in Sweden?"  :-)

2016 God Jul!

I know it's not really time for a time travel, review-your-year type post yet, but I was just working on a photo book and it was making me all sentimental like. 2016 was brought to you by the letter "L". Lots of love, laughs, learning and limiting goals.  How's that work you say?  ;-)  I think it's the letting-go that sometimes lets things in.

I decided to focus on my new job teaching Montessori (hence the learning) at the expense of growing Start2Art, my art teaching biz.  It just seemed smarter to do one thing right than be pulled in so many directions.  Plus of course I had the third "job" at home, the busiest and most important one of kids and household.  And my blog!  Thank you!  You did get put on hold, a bit, but you stuck with me so I appreciate that.

Also art was on my to-do list this year and that paid off in spades!  I sold my first painting, actually THREE, and I am thrilled!  There's more space on my walls so now I need to make the t…

Party Time!

Check out these amazing sandwiches that my friend made for my art show on Thursday.  They were front and center on the smörgåsbord and looked as well as tasted delicious.  The party was a great success, and I'll post more pictures soon, but first take a peek at how to make Swedish sammies. :)  

Artistic inspiration and stressing out!

Hi everyone, I'm pulling together my Nordic Niche goodies and many oil paintings to show and hoping to make it fun night for friends.  There will be music, good food, glögg and things for sale including succulents.  I hope that people will see that I can paint and perhaps help me out by buying some of my things so that I have the room to make more!  Some of my things for sale include Swedish textiles found and made (above).  Here I am hard at work in the Swedish studio (I work in a basement now). ;-) This painting is never going to be sold - it's a fond memory of my children on a rock in Gotland.  My babies... so sweet.  This will hang over my desk forever.  Other things will be available for bargain basement prices, tee, hee.  Hope that it's a fun, memorable night!

Swedish Advent

Hi everyone, it's already the second Advent!  I can't believe it.  My mother was here all week from Sweden.  It was a lovely week with play-watching (little K was in "It's a Wonderful Life"), nice dinners out, and a musical topper of songs from World Way II sung in a quavery voice by a sweet woman accompanied by a wonderful pianist.  I am so glad that the weather improved from falling down rain to a bright sunshiny day.  In Sweden second advent is "celebrated" by lighting the second candle in a row of four.  It's basically the countdown to Christmas, and the Christmas markets are in full splendour, glögg is quaffed, and people start to bake for Lucia. I hope that you are finding this time of year special and not too stressful.

I, of course, made life hard for myself by planning a Christmas party/art show on the 15th which coincedes with my last day of work before the holiday break.  That's how I roll!  😸 But Mamma has helped me prepare my Swed…

It's Caturday

This one is too good not to share.  Thanks Florida Man.  'Nuff said.


Hej!  So much has happened since we steered our course back to The States 5 years ago. Three years ago we bought a new house (which we are still working on) and it's our Casa Lagom. L., our oldest is 14 and in highschool, and Little Bit is in 6th grade!  How time flies...

After much perseverance I got a job teaching, which was my goal and I am so happy for it!  Also I'm doing more art which was my dream.  I love art as a personal expression but I never really showed it before. Now I am sharing it with others in the hopes that they like it and want it so that I can make more! Painting is fun.  Here is a photo of a wall of paintings donated to a local art school for their fundraiser. I am not telling you which one is mine except that it is called "Joe's Playland" .  See black framed artwork second from bottom on the right.

The photo of flowers are from a kind mother sent to me with a nice note.  Her son loves school and I am so glad. I love all my students, they are…

The Bridge in Malmö

OK, so this was an extremely lame post, sorry.  Mainly I thought it was really interesting that someone in our neck of the woods actually went to see all the place where the Swedish-Danish series "Bron" (otherwise known as "The Bridge" in its American version) were filmed.  Bron can be watched in the original Swedish on svt play.  The American version is available on FX.
Take a look in particular at  Oresunds Bridge (see above) and Ribbersborg Kallbadhus if you want to see a touch of old-time Sweden.  Malmö is an interesting city with many fine sites but it is kind of considered the roughest of the Swedish cities, perfect for a crime thriller like Bron!

Interesting blog

Here is a cool upscale blog that does what I would have liked to if I had the time, training or capabilities. 😉
But I guess it takes a lot out of you.  Here's what the writer says, see below.  This is quoted from the New York Times blog and puts it all into perspective:Brittany Watson Jepsen writes The House That Lars Built, a blog with a clean Scandinavian aesthetic. Her life hasn’t been nearly as streamlined lately. “Right now, our home is a disaster of props because we had four photo shoots this week,” said Ms. Jepsen, 32, who shares an apartment with her husband, Paul Jepsen, in Provo, Utah. “Tuesday night I just sat there and I couldn’t move. This is the week of burnout.”And when Ms. Jepsen posts one of her craft projects, like making a custom coverlet for a camp chair, she said, it may take her days to shop for the materials and create, style and photograph it. Then she has to figure out a way to translate it to her readers in six easy step…


Mmmm, hard cider, love it.  Usually I should say .;-)  Hubby and I just went to a hard cider festival where we tried about 14 different kinds of cider in little, bitty glasses.  In at least two cases I was very glad that the glasses were small. (Lookout Farm and Artifact come to mind.). Guess that they were just too "complicated" and filled of "the unpredictable nature of wild fermentation" for my taste.

Some of the ones that we liked more were the "normal" varieties, not the ones that tasted like whiskey, seaweed or whatever else - strangely enough the ones we liked tasted like apples! For example, Strongbow, Downeast Cider House, Angry Orchard and Bantam were all good.  I think Bantam was my personal fav.  Shout out to our old hometown Somerville MA where they brew it!

My baby is growing up

Hi there, feeling sentimental today.  My little boy is rocking highschool in 9th grade and of course I am very proud but I can't help but to feel that it's bittersweet.  The ultimate sentimental journey for an artist is to paint a loved one, and in this case, a child on the cusp of teenager-hold pulls the heart strings extra hard.  I am proud of this painting.  Do you like it?  Hope so! I will be auctioning off a painting soon to support our public school.  Someone hopefully will bid on it.  Who knows. ;-)

Here's something fun to kick off your weekend with.  Do you like "Carpool" with The Late Late Show's James Corden?  This one with Sia is particuraly good.  It is 10 minutes long so grab some "kaffe och kaka" (coffee and cookies) and enjoy. Happy soon-to-be Halloween to you all!

Move it with Movitz!

I am loving this band, Movitz, a wonderful mix of hip hop, swing and Swedish.  You gotta hear it to believe it.  So, what's up?  I hope that everyone is well and enjoying this gorgeous month.  We've gone hiking, apple picking and jumped in leaves - among all the usual junk including working, making dinner, packing lunches and picking kids up only to drop them off on the other side of town a half hour later.  We love our two chillin's so much, but they are work.

Two books that I picked up recently to remind me not to lose my cool include: Listen (5 simple tools to meet your everyday parenting challenges) by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore, and Simplify your Life with Kids (100 Ways to Make Family Life Easier and More Fun) by Elaine St. James.  Listen is a lovely book that emphasises enjoying your child, playing with them and listening to them better by for example,"staylistening", which encourages children to express their feelings and get back in touch with you …

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize!

Hej, the Nobel Prizes were announced and for the first time a musician was given the Nobel Prize for literature.  He was lauded for his use of verse and the depth of his poetry which brought to mind Homer and Sappho (?) according to the Swedish press.  Well, I guess that could be true, but I can't understand his diction well enough to know what he is actually singing!  I am a philistine perhaps, but I don't get it when there are soooo many amazing authors.  Here's some more information to read:

Personally I really enjoyed the book The Sellout by Paul Beatty.  Talk about synchronicity with the current election!  Race issues are brought to the fore in a way that is very uncomfortable but extremely interesting for the reader.  My bookclub had an insightful discussion about this book so I feel confident in saying that if you don't mind a lot of swearing, some weird sexual stuff and …

Parenting in a crazy world

Parenting is hard.  Let's agree on that.  This is something I happened to listen to and here are some nuggets that I gleaned that may help:

Never try to enchance who you are, that should happen within you. Your child should not be like you.  They are not like you.  Make parenting a joyful process he says.  (OK, that's true, and I need to stop telling my kids what to do.  But there's also restrictions and the pervasive advice from society and all the other people out there who tell you what to do.)
Today I told my highschool aged son to stick with Student Council because it looked good on a college application.  He thinks it's boring, but I felt like he should do it because he could help shape the school.  The swami says to look at myself instead of my child and that the children exagerate what we are doing.  I guess maybe I should do more for his school too.  The swami says I should worry more about how to make myself likeable. The swami says that creating the necessary…


For those of you who've read my blog before you may already know that we moved into Casa Lagom about two years ago to the day.  It's been an eventful two years, full of parties, laughter, yelling, laundry, cats, and other stuff that keep a four person family moving and grooving.  Mainly the goal has been find the "lagom" - just right in other words - both for me, HH and the kids.  To me that means trying to create the space to have fun but also to relax; as well as the ability to leave the nest and then come home to a clean and well organized space.  Easier said than done right? ;-)

Of course, that damn B word gets in the way all the time, the Budget (basically nill), and a major bummer when it comes to home repair and purchases.  But I persist in trying to get the right balance of old and new, Scandinavian cottage and New England style, and to take my time while creating our home.  Here are some of the blogs that I like to check out for inspiration.  Most are in Sw…

Happy National Coffee Day

Who knew? Dunkins is celebrating by selling medium hots for 66 cents.  I'm down with that. (Did you know that Swedes drink more coffee per capita than any other country in the world?!) I do my best to help out the stats from afar. ;) Here's me drinking my kaffe in my old Volvo. It has a cup holder. It only took us a year to figure that out. Ha, ha!  I'm actually serious, it was hidden in the wheel well. So, drinking coffee = Swedish. Drinking coffee in my car = not so much.  I've joined the ranks of soccer moms everywhere and so be it.  At least I'll stay awake at the wheel 😁

Swedish summer houses

Hej everyone!  The weekend is fast approaching (not fast enough if you ask me) and I'm dreaming of summer houses.  (I do that every once in a while.)  The houses I pine for and pin are ones that are in the Swedish countryside and usually involve a lake view or a forest nearby.  I don't know why I do considering we already live near the ocean in a lovely forested area.  Escapism I guess.  To better explain the Swedes love of summer homes, here is is what they write on
The simple lifeAnna and PG Wiklund, a teacher and doctor living in Umeå in the north of Sweden, have their own reasons for coming back, year after year, to their summer house in the Hälsingland region of Sweden. ‘It helps you to escape the daily obligations you have back home’, says Anna, whose grandfather bought the lakeside plot of land in 1942 and built the house that she and PG still use today. ‘And because you spend such a long time here, you feel that you live here. If you travel abroad for two we…

beach art

Process is one of those arty words I don't like to use a lot but it does describe what went into this beachy art.  I was challenged to create something inspired by El Galeon, a 17th century frigate.
First I worked up a painting, but the lines, lines, lines got me all dizzy.  See my painting and the original photo above?

Then I decided, why not just paint on the rocks instead?  I love rocks and we were at the shore so it seemed to make sense.
Here are some of the finished rocks on the deck.

Our view!  Talk about inspiring.  Can you tell a Swede is "in da house". ;-)
I decided that the rocks shouldn't live on the porch but rather on the beach which is where you would have found El Galeon at one point.  So down the path...
... to the beach I went.  The wrack line to be specific.  I took lots of shots.
This is the photo I chose to print on canvas and give to the auction.  It's to benefit our local maritime museum.  I hope whomever bids on it likes it.

6 hour workday

Check this out, it actually is not everywhere in Sweden but the 6-hour workday is being launched in Göteborg as a test.  What do you think?  The Brit in this vlog says that it's a bad idea but personally I would LOVE it! Yeah for "living lagom" (a balanced life.)  Here's the information that was orginally published on Oct 2, 2015: 
"Sweden has introduced a six hour work day in an attempt to increase productivity and make people happier. Employers across the country who have already implemented the change are reporting happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits. Should more companies ditch the eight-hour standard? We discuss it on the Lip News with Mark Sovel and Elliot Hill.the Lip News with Mark Sovel and Elliot Hill."
Write a comment and let me know what YOU think! :-)  Now get back to work! Ha, ha!

Bad doggy and bad book

Hi, spending time on vacation and checking out funny Swedish videos.  This one is kinda gross but sums up many people's opinion of fermented herring or "sill", one of Sweden's cherished foods. 
watch-this-dog-eat-swedish-fermented-herring. My computer isn't working too well, it's taking a vaca too, but here's the link to the Facebook video..

I also got sucked into reading a long Viking saga called The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson.  I don't know whose fault it is that is reads like the bible, the author or the translator, but here is an example to show you how low I've sunk:
"I have had more important things to bother about than women", said Father Willibald. "And now God be praised, I have reached the age where such temptations no longer exist.  But the blessed apostles have held differing views on this subject. St. Peter himself was married, and even went so far as to take his wife with him on his travels among the heathens. St…

Montessori Teaching

Today I'm thinking hard about my new job as Montessori teacher, I went to a two day training this weekend and the words are swirling around my head... it's a lot to take in on a beautiful August weekend but well worth it!
I thought I'd try to start my clearing up some common misperceptions about Montessori with all (!) my new-found knowledge. Ha, ha ;-)  First of all it's not too strict and it's not too loose.  Montessori is grounded in respect for the child.  That respect is shown in different ways such as shaking the child's hand, calling him or her by name instead of honey, sweetie, etc. (kind of hard for me to do!) and in the careful preparation of the environment for the child.  

The classroom is for the students. They choose what they want to do and when.  This may seem "loose" or "unstructured" but everything on the shelves teaches the children something that is appropriate to their level of development.  So, what you may dismiss as p…

Policeman at Pride


Recycling my old blogs, day one, - interesting thoughts on a new word "hen" which cropped up in the Swedish language. Turns out that we're trying something similar in English now. I think that's great, it's good to help everyone feel including and supported in their choices.  Just a little bit trickier when you're trying to learn a new language ;-)  What do you think?
Hen Sweden is adding a gender neutral word to the dictionary.  It's "hen" which means he or she, and could be used for either.  So instead of saying "he likes it", you would basically be saying "it likes it", or "it gave birth" or whatever.  Perfect for describing transgender people, or someone like Pat from Saturday Night Live but I predict not otherwise to be used often in day to day speech.  Read more here.  It appears to be moving Sweden in a more gender neutral direction.  Do you agree?  It is…

Den som spar, han har

I can't believe that I've been blogging for five years now!  It's been a fun way to keep in touch with all things Swedish and to feel connecting to the homeland.  I've blogged about my life, my likes, my art and my adventures.  There's quite a lot of stuff on this blog.  Funny considering the amount of stuff that I have in my life and my house!!  I am trying hard to re-use, re-cycle and get rid of things.  I am determined to get organized for the new school year.  I have a new class and need a fresh perspective and room for learning about Montessori, as well as the time to try new approaches in Start 2 Art.  
So with that said I hope that you'll forgive my recycling, re-using and up-grading of old blog posts.  I don't want to stop blogging because I love it but time is limited and ticking!  This Swedish quote "Den som spar, han har" means "He who saves, has", so with that maxim in mind please forgive in advance my recycling of older pos…

Pikachu is hiding in Stockholm

Pokemon is a trend that I've not really been a part of but I like this guys attempt to see Stockholm and capture the illusive Pikachu. Read on... sharing

Badhytten in Skanör

The new Badhytten is up again and greatly improved after burning down in 2009.  Here are some pictures from a beautiful day on the beach recently, July 2016.
The restaurant has gotten great reviews, and the club looks like fun, but the really cool thing is the van! They will pick you up and drop you off in it after dropping a lot of kronor on a nice dinner 'natch.
Look at this view!  I love the bath houses (little houses which the Swedes use to change into their suits, and stash stuff) and the white, white sand.
Here's the upstairs bar which is very colorful.  There's a beach club with DJs and sometimes bands.  I would have liked to see the band on July 23rd.  Here's what it says on the website (see below).
"Åke Högman ”Ache the Headache” VS Miller Moon – gives you the best of Prince, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and many more, translated to äkta SKÅNSKA and delivered in a way that take no prisoners!" :-)
My beautiful and color coordinated friend enjoyed a colo…

summer silliness

The weather has been so hot and oppressive, it's been hard to get anything done.  The laundry is still in baskets, the random things I brought home from Sweden in my back-pack and the to-do list in on my desk.  It will get done, but first some summer silliness.  Hey, isn't that what vaca is all about? ;-)
Arianna Grande and Jimmy Fallon's Snapchat Music Video

Falsterbo Horse Show Encapsulated

To be honest I don't know much about horses so don't keep reading if you expect stats and expert analysis of jumping or dressage.  (Dressage is a fancy, side-stepping thing that horses do with their riders on top as far as I can tell.)  But it was a cool day and it seemed the thing to do instead of the beach so off I went.  I'm glad that I did!

It was a real folk fest with good food, a great market and lots of areas in which to view horses doing their thing.  So why not go?  The price didn't deter me (170 Swedish krones is a lot but I knew that I could go in and out of the area all day.)  And I really wanted a pair of these träskor (clogs) by Tessa & Mimi and I knew they'd be in the market area. You know me and my clog addiction. ;-)
What else is there to buy?  Well anything horses from high-end, to low-end and all between including the practical bits and pieces to the fancy clothes and jewelry for humans and horses alike.  I am not kidding you, they sell jewe…