Preparing a new pavement

During summer I have been casting a lot of oriental paver stones. I’m planning to build a casting corner in my garden where I will have a working bench with a built-in sink and space for my concrete mixer and the vibrating table. Of course I need a fancy pavement for this.

I bought a starter set of the very pretty concrete moulds and started casting. I quickly realized that I will need quite many of the finished stones, more than you think, so I ordered some more moulds to speed up the casting.

Every other day during summer was spent on casting these stones. Now I have almost enough for the planned area to be paved. To build the casting corner will be a fun project for next summer!

Update on the snow

All the snow we got a month ago melted after a week and then we got lots of rain. This caused our very small cellar to overflow. This happens usually during spring but rarely during fall. We got about 30 cm of water on the floor. We have a small freezer down there but it’s placed on a shelf about 50 cm up from the floor to protect it from overflowing. We had to pump out the water for some days and now its dry again.

Yesterday we got some more snow but not as much as last time. I hope it will stay this time!

/Monica

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Winter is here!

Three days ago, winter came to us, we got almost 30 cm of wet and heavy snow and today it’s snowing again! I love when the first snow comes because everything gets so bright.

I managed to make almost all winter preparations in the garden before the snow came, so I’m quite happy about that! I still have some minor things to do, but that is fine!

Plums

This autumn has been warm and with no frost nights until late September. This is very unusual but I’m happy because then all the plums had time to ripen. This is the first year we got a harvest from the tree, and what a harvest! I have picked more than 20 kilos of plums! They are so sweet and tasty but quite small. Most of them are now in the freezer.

/Monica

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Berries, oh so much berries!

This year the woods are full of wild berries. Here in Sweden anyone can go out into the woods and pick berries, they are free and you do not have to ask the landowner for permission. As I have lots of time now when I’m out of work, I decided to pick as much berries as I could. In the end of July I started to pick bilberries (European Bluberry), here in Sweden we call them blueberry.

Bilberries can be used for so much. I make juice and jam and I bake pies and make blueberry pancakes. They are also delicious to put frozen on yoghurt.

The most delicious berry you can pick is cloudberries. They can be found on peatlands and this year we found lots of them. I have never seen so many cloudberries and it was so fun to pick. Cloudberry jam is delicious served with waffles or pancakes.

The last wild berry to pick is the lingonberry or cowberry. They are troublesome for the body to pick because one has to bend down so deeply. I went out yesterday to pick lingonberry and today everything is hurting, ha ha. I make jam from these and serve it for example together with meatballs and fried chicken liver.

In total I have picked:

28 kg bilberries
7 kg cloudberries
10 kg lingonberries

In my garden there are also lots of berries that I have picked this summer. There are strawberries, red currants, raspberries and sour cherries. I’m also waiting for the apples (not so many, the tree is young), the plums and the wine to ripen. I hope the plums and the wine (newly planted) will ripen this year. They have started to change colour from green to blue so I’m hopeful. The plum tree is so full of plums and this is the first year there would be a real harvest if they would ripen.

The hardest thing about picking so much berries is that I have to find space for most of them in the freezer. It’s hard, very hard!

I feel blessed with such great access to the delicacy from the forest and the garden.

/Monica

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Garden bench

Some years ago i bought a mould for casting bench legs. Since I didn’t know how to attach the top planks, I never got around to use it.

Now I wanted to do something about this. I bought some angle brackets that I was going to cast into the bench legs. I also needed to make a support for the brackets to get them in the right position when casting. I used some left over materials for this.

I casted four bench legs and it went just fine. Now to the fun part, the assembling of the bench! For this I had bought some pressure impregnated wood for the top and cut it into the dimensions I wanted.

Before I screwed the top part on the legs, I mounted a reinforcement between them. Here it is up side down so I could put the screws in.

And here is the two finished garden benches. Aren’t they gorgeous!

I think I will make more of these next summer!

/Monica

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Concrete flower ball

The flower ball latex mould is finally ready and I have casted some balls with really good result. To make it easier when casting, I also made a support for the mould.

I don’t know if I will paint the balls because I kinda like the colour of raw concrete. Look how nice they are!

/Monica

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Daylight around the clock

This time of year is the best! I like the daylight around the clock because you can be active outside until bedtime. At summer solstice the sun sets at 00.04 and rise again at 01.04. It never gets dark and it’s wonderful!

I was out in the garden taking pictures at midnight. The lilacs are blooming and the fragrance is overwhelming.

I was amazed that there where no mosquitoes because they are usually very active at night. Here are some more pictures.

/Monica

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Garden decorations, flower balls

I got a new idea to make latex moulds to cast concrete flower balls. They hopefully will look fantastic as garden decorations. I hope they will turn out great, and if so, I will make more of them!

I have bought a bunch of resin flatback flowers to use for this. I also bought some big styrofoam balls in different sizes and some modelling clay (that does not dry). The biggest ball is 14 cm in diameter. I cut a bit off from the styrofoam balls to have a flat bottom for my balls to stand on. Then I put on a thin layer of clay and then gently pressed the flowers into the clay. I filled the gaps between the flowers with small half round pearl beads.

This is the first ball I’m working on. I will make more of them (different designs) if this turn out as good as I think it will do.

Now the long process starts to make the latex mould. The ball has to be covered with liquid latex in several layers. I can put on two layers a day. It will take about two weeks to finish. It is very important to remove all trapped bubbles when putting the latex on. I use a straw to blow the bubbles away. Here I have just put on the third layer of latex.

I really long to cast this flower ball!

/Monica

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Waiting for warmer weather

This spring has been so fricking cold! We have had snow showers each and every day.

Some days ago I spent the whole day cleaning the pond so I could start the pumps to get the water and the fountain running. The water is freezing cold and the last ice melted about a week ago. It’s a struggle each spring to fix the pond but this year I had bought a special vacuum cleaner for it. It took just as long to clean the pond but it wasn’t as back breaking as it usually is. Now I’m prepared for summer!

I also put down my pond monster. My hands hurt from the cold water although it just took a minute to get him there! Isn’t he cute? Everyone needs a monster in their pond! 😉

The first spring flowers

There is not much greenery yet but we have some early spring flowers that are blooming. I fear that many perennials have died this winter because we have had so much snow alternated with thaw so there has been a lot of ice this winter. We will see!

/Monica

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More ducks!

Now I have painted all the small ducks. They are so cute! These are the last ones:

The work on the big duck mold is progressing. I have finished the latex mold and have made a support for it using plaster bandage. I have made it in two halves to make it easy to remove it. On the first half I made a small ridge about 10 mm in from the edge so the other half gets good support. When it had hardened I trimmed it with my dremel so it looks nice.

When the two halves was finished I needed something to keep them together when casting. I used a strap for this but needed something more to hold it in the right position. I filled a small plastic jar with plaster and put the head down in it. I had put a thin plastic film on the head so it didn’t got stuck in the plaster.

Now I was ready to try it out! The mold and the support worked very well. It was easy to cast and everything went well. When I removed the mold, I saw that the beak was a little too thick in the upper part because I hadn’t put in a support for the beak in the two halves.

Now I have fixed this and I hope the next big duck will be perfect!

/Monica

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I’m back again!

After a very long break from writing here, I’m back again! I hope to continue with regular updates from now on. I recently lost my job, (not because of the Corona pandemic), and therefore I have plenty of time to do my hobbies.

I have been quite busy with making molds for garden decorations. My funniest project is to make small ducks to have around my pond. It will look silly and so nice! I have made latex moulds on different rubber ducks and now I have casted more than 100 small ducks to put in the garden.

I’m still working on a bigger duck mold and hopefully it will be ready for casting within a week or so.

To paint all the ducks is very painful for my shoulders so I can only paint about 15 ducks a day. I use Inka Gold when painting and it looks so good!

/Monica

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I’m sorry for the lack of updates

It has been more than a year since my last update! I’m quite embarrassed over this. I hope you can forgive me! I really have no excuse other than that I have been lacking inspiration to write something.

I’m still doing a lot of stuff but I have not made any new cutting designs. Right now, I spend most of my time making diamond paintings. They are so fun to make but I think I soon have to stop because I have too many of them, I just don’t have enough walls to hang them on. This is the one I’m working on right now:

And here are some of my finished ones:

Last winter we got a record amount of snow, the total snowfall was more than three meters (10 ft). I can say that I was deadly tired of shovelling snow. Last summer was the warmest summer ever. To work in the garden was a pain, and all the concreting I wanted to do was not an option. However, I did read a lots of books, sitting in the shadow. We also had lots of wildfires. This winter we got more snow than last winter. I wonder how this summer will be…

The snow is thawing rapidly now. Today I shovelled a path to the greenhouse. My plan is to move out my seedlings during next weekend. The daylight is back and I feel that the energy to do things returns.

/Monica

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March, and still no sign of spring!

This winter we have had a record breaking amount of snow. I can’t remember that we have had a winter like this before. In November and December we got loads of snow and then a couple of thaws. After Christmas it has been cold weather and almost constant snowing. No thawing at all! At least we have had some nice days lately with sunshine and some dripping from the roof in mid days. There are so much snow on the roof now and it’s heavy!

As usual this time of year I have started to sow. My tomato plants are about 6 inches tall and a bunch of flower seedlings needs to be replanted. Of course, I didn’t remember to bring some smaller pots in from the greenhouse before winter. Oh my! I really need them!

It was hard work to dig through all the snow to get to the greenhouse! I measured the snow depth and it’s about one meter of snow on the ground!

It’s hard to believe that I am moving my plants in to the greenhouse in about five to six weeks from now.

This is a picture from today and a picture from last year, two weeks earlier than now.

/Monica

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In memory of my Mother

This is my beloved Mother. She passed away the 5th of August 2017. We knew that her end of life wasn’t that far away because of her illness, but we were not prepared that her death would come so suddenly. But who can be prepared for this anyway?

My Mother loved to paint and she was a real artist, but she very seldom wanted to show off her art. She kept all her paintings in huge stacks in her painting workshop. Even when she got sick she continued to paint and she kept painting until the end of her life.

She also lowed needle work and knitting and were very productive during her life. Now I have several big boxes full of the most beautiful tablecloths and table runners that she has made.

After her death I gathered all the paintings she had made and brought them home so I could take a photo of each and every one. It took so many hours of work to digitize them and to adjust the colours so they would look as near the original painting as possible.

I hope you will enjoy her paintings as much as we do.

Monica

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Watercolours

Most of the time my Mum painted pictures from the nature around their summer cottage. She loved to stay there and they spent much time there even during winters. The deep woods and the marshlands inspired her.

There are more than 200 watercolour paintings. I have grouped them by size. The size is the paper size, not always the size of the painting.

~23x30cm (~9×12″)

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Acrylics

There are about 140 acrylic paintings. These are painted on white canvas board. My Mother often used a plain credit card as a brush. Here she played a lot with colours and shapes, so many of the paintings are very abstract. In some of them you have to be very observant to notice everything that she hid in them.

18x24cm (7×9,5″)

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Diamond Painting – I love it!

I have to confess. I’m addicted to this new hobby. It is so restful to sit and put all the tiny resin diamonds on the canvas. Especially now that my mind always seems to go to the memory of my Mother.

It take a lot of time but it’s all worth it. The best of all is that contrary to what I thought, my shoulders doesn’t complain at all even though I sometimes work with this for hours.

These are the three paintings I finished before summer and just recently made frames for so I could hang them on the wall.

Now I’m working on another big painting, 60×80 cm. Right now I have it up side down because it’s easier to reach. I have also bought a light pad to put beneath the canvas to lighten up the pattern. What a big difference! So much easier to see now, especially when working in the darker areas on the painting. The next diamond painting will be one with a Christmas scene. I so much want to start with it right now because it’s so beautiful, but I have to finish this first.

Diamond painting is a quite new hobby. You place tiny resin diamonds on a adhesive canvas with a printed design on. Each color has it’s own symbol printed so it’s easy to see where to put the diamonds. The diamonds are just 2,5 mm in square. The paintings can be bought from Aliexpress, eBay, Wish and many other places. I prefer to buy from Aliexpress because it’s easier to filter the search there to find the designs I want.

There are two types of paintings and two types of diamonds.

The painting can either be filled totally with diamonds or partial. For the partial ones the whole design is printed but the glue and the grid is only where the diamonds are to be put. I have never tried a partial one because I think the full ones looks better.

The diamonds can be either round or squared. The round ones doesn’t cover the design totally because they are just round. The squared fills the design totally and you can’t see anything from the canvas when finished. Some people likes the round ones more because they are easier to work with, but I like the squared ones better. The partial designs are mostly made using round diamonds. The full ones can be either round or squared.

Everything you need is included when you buy a kit. You get a printed canvas, all the diamonds needed, a picking pen, a tweezers, a tray and some wax to fill the tip on the picking pen. Often you also get a list on the colors and how many bags of each color there should be in the kit. It’s important to check so no bag is missing when you have got your kit. Sometimes bags are missing, but if you contact the seller they usually send the missing bags. This has happened to me several times but I have always got the missing bags in the end. The only thing is that you have to wait several weeks extra for them to arrive.

/Monica

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Life goes on

It has been a long time since I updated my website. I usually take a summer break because I have so much other things to do during summer. This summer the break became extra long because sometimes things happens in life that you never can prepare for. My dear mother passed away in beginning of August. We knew that she soon wouldn’t be with us because of her illness, but we where completely unprepared that she would pass away so suddenly. Life goes on, but it is hard to get used to the fact that she is not with us anymore.

Because my father soon will move to a flat, we are fully occupied to clean out all the buildings on the family estate. We want to finish the clean out before snow comes because the property will be sold somewhere during next spring. It is so sad, the property has been in the family for over a hundred years.

Later on I will make a memorial page about my mother. There I will show most of all the paintings (more than 350) she made during her life and also some of the huge amount of embroideries she created. It will take a lot of time and work to prepare this because she was so productive. I have already taken photos of all her paintings, but I have to find time to put all this together.

I know you will understand that I will not do so many new cut files for a while!

Monica

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The snow has melted at last.

Now we are only waiting for the trees to turn green. Spring is so late this year! Only some early spring flowers have started to bloom, but not yet the daffodils. Today has been quite warm and I have cleaned the pond and put down the pump and the filter. I love to hear the water splashing again, it’s so peaceful. Tomorrow I will rest in the sun reading a book and listening for the birds singing and the water splashing. Maybe I also will plant the seven dwarf lilac bushes that I bought a week ago. First I have to check that the ground frost is gone in the place where I plan to plant them.

 

 

All my plants are growing well in the greenhouse. Today I brought out my cucumber plants that I have been growing indoors. Hopefully it’s not too cold for them in the greenhouse now.

 

Our last remaining snow is on the north side of our house. I hope it will melt tomorrow so I can clean up the flower bed there.

/Monica

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Spring seems to have forgotten us…

Spring is late this year. The first of May we usually have just smaller piles of snow left in the more shadow areas. Yesterday we got about 3 inches more of this white fluff that seems never to disappear. Today the sun is shining and almost all of the snow that came yesterday has melted. The only thing is that we still have loads of the old snow left!

Today I will spend most of the time in the greenhouse. I just brought all my small plants there and they need bigger pots now. This year I will not grow as many plants as I use to do. I always grow too many but now I’m afraid I will get too few, we will see. 🙂

/Monica

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Winter wonderland

  

This time of year the winter days are really lovely when the sun is shining. We have lots of snow and it’s quite cold at nights. This morning when I woke up, I stayed in bed for a minute and just listened for the traffic noise from the high way that are not far from our house. I could hear that it was quite cold outside! When I looked at the thermometer it said -18 degrees C. The noise from the traffic gets much higher and sharper when it is cold outside!

I have started to sow a lot of flower seeds but this year I will try to not grow as many plants as I’m used to. Every summer after planting out all the flowers I need, I always have loads of plants left over. I usually give them away to family and friends but this year I will try to just grow what I need and not so much more. Wish me luck with that task! 😉

 

A new hobby

One day some weeks ago, when I was surfing on the net I found something that really caught my eye, diamond embroidery!

You place tiny resin diamonds on a adhesive canvas with a printed design on. The diamonds are just 2,5 mm in square. I bought one from Aliexpress, just to try. The design is a picture of a fractal. Of course I had to choose a large one, 60x60cm. This means about 57 000 tiny diamonds to put in the right place on the canvas. Ha-ha!

When I got the package and opened it, I started wondering what I got myself into. This will take for ever, I thought. I started to work with it and it’s so fun!

Now I have spent less than a week, a couple of hours a day and almost a quarter of it is already finished. I will certainly buy another one when I have finished this!

Monica

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Some new lattice designs

lattice_48 lattice_49 lattice_50

Here are three new lattice designs. You can use them as a background on a LO or maybe cut them out in a plastic sheet and use them as stencils.

You can find the new designs here.

/Monica

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New cards

24-25

Here are two new cards. I have used the same designs as earlier but in a new way! 🙂

You can find the cards here!

Monica

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Flowers and leaves

leaves_and_flowers

This is the parts I have used lately to make some more complex designs. I hope someone may be interested in using them as they are. 🙂

The file can be found here.

Monica

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At last I have made some new designs

This time of year the days are getting shorter and shorter and it darkens quite early in the evenings. The lack of daylight make you feel more tired and you don’t have the same inspiration as before. The winter is almost here! The pond has frozen and we have got a tiny amount of snow on the ground. The temperature is constantly below zero so the snow will not melt, at least not for days.

We have prepared everything in the garden for the winter and nothing more is to be done outside. Now I can focus on work that can be done indoors!

p1040842 p1040843

During the past months I have been busy making lots of concrete flowers. I’m still working on them but not as much as before. It will be fun to paint some of them.

It feels as it was a long time since I drew something new. Earlier I made some designs with flowers and leaves on and I wanted to use them to make something new. So here we go, the first one is a lattice design.

You can find the new file here.

lattice_47

/Monica

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