Eclectic ramblings

Bunad purse and silver
20th May


17th May saw National Constitutional Day in Norway and I was not to be left out, there may not have been a National Holiday here in the UK, but I baked my cake and wore my bunad (national costume).  Outside of Norway the largest parade for 17 May takes place every year in London and despite the fact that I could not attend this year, I streamed live both to the London and Oslo parades.  A girl wants to feel part of the party after all! 

To see more about this day and how to make kransekake pop along to my previous post... here

Traditional Norwegian celebration cake: kransekake

Exams begin with tradition

As with many other households across the UK we are at the beginning of exam fervour.  A tradition has been set up and whoa betide us if we now do not follow it, so in true eclectic home style we had waffles for breakfast as a good luck feast before heading off into the hall in silence, with a see through pencil case, you know what I'm talking about right...

Breakfast waffles

 Sewing for the first time this year
The Great British Sewing Bee began this week and as in previous years I sat glued to the TV, not being a great TV watcher, this is somewhat unusual for me to actually even know when a programme is starting, but I was there in front of the goggle box with a few seconds to spare.  AND it got me to thinking when did I last dust off the old sewing machine and make something?  The following day out it came and from my chaotic craft cupboard, that everything falls out of when you open it because it is crammed full of 'this might come in handy' random stuff, I found very suitable material and a funky chunky red zip.  I had the beginnings of a skirt... 

No pattern, so I had to wing it...

Really happy with the material and red combo

It's so hard to photograph yourself!

I'm not entirely happy with it as the waistband is a little large, so really I need to un pick it and trim it all in but I was running out of time and now I wonder if I will ever get round to it *sigh*

Teaching & Learning

My day job hours are always reduced in mid May every year and this is my frantic time to make, bake, craft, learn and teach.  It began in earnest this year.  Crochet class number 3 began, (actually the first  course of this year)  Still being a tad nervous at teaching crochet I try and dot my 'i's' and cross my 't's' so to speak for days before checking I know exactly what to do and how to go about it.  I think the first class went well, it was on National Day, so the ladies were treated to kransekake, that seemed to wash down well with the refreshments, what to bake for next week?  Any suggestions?  I like to bake something new for each class...

Beginning to set out for the course

And this is week 5 of the Scheepjes CAL, I'm loving it and learning new crochet tit bits all the time.  Ester's videos are totally brilliant, just love it.  To find out more, see this post here

Watching Ester on the video, although with
 the crib sheet and crocheting at the same
time, multi tasking indeed and loving it
Hard to see in the photograph, but this
week we made seagull prints on the sand!
You have to look very closely...


What weather!!! you would think we were in April still.  What is right to wear, I seem to get it wrong every day.  I'm either freezing cold or too hot.  Here's what it looks like in my village and garden right now...

Clematis montana in beautiful sunshine. 
Can you spot an animal shape?

Then came the rain.  Leaf of honeysuckle

The wild flowers are literally having a
 field day with the rain and sun

Buttercups in the centre of our village

Such cheery wildflowers

Everyone's wisteria is in full bloom, ours every
 year is behind by a few weeks, odd!

Simply stunning

Sharing with you my five moments from my week and joining in with  Amy
  Have a glorious week end 

Massive apologies and I have been trying to remember to say this for some weeks, but for some inexplicable reason I cannot leave comments on WordPress.  I write them, click on publish and vamoosh, they disappear, gone into thin air.  I then often try again but to no avail, after now having tried again on two different WordPress blogs I know not what to do to rectify this solution. 
Anyone, can you help?

Celebrations Norwegian style

Traditional celebration cake for Constitutional Day
in Norway today
17 mai ~ 17th May

Hip hip hurrah for i dag er det 17 mai!

Today is Norwegian Constitutional Day, the day Norway became independent and began with their own royal family in 1814.

It's a national holiday and parades through out each town and village across the whole country takes place today.  From early morning brass bands march and celebrational breakfasts are eaten.  Norwegians party all day long with friends and family.

Gathering all the decorations the night before is
somewhat of a late night tradition in our household
One of the 'must' have on the food list is the celebration cake known as kransekake, I have written about it several times before but it is so special, I thought you would not mind indulging me again this year.

You will need:
500g almonds with skin on , you can bought ready ground
500g icing sugar
3-4 egg whites
butter for melting
semolina or fine breadcrumbs
icing sugar for decoration

Grind the almonds

Mix with the icing sugar and add egg whites
one at a time, do not make the
dough overly sticky, be careful

It should be a consistency between
crumbly and slightly sticky

Melt butter and brush over rings, add
semolina or breadcrumbs, this helps
 to avoid dough sticking to the rings

Pipe or hand roll (to about a finger width)
mixture to fill the rings

Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes
at 180 degrees Celsius

Gently remove from rings, this can be quite
precarious and build up into a tower stack

You can either pipe icing sugar on individual rings
before completing the stack or you can drizzle
icing sugar over the tower once formed

Decorating the tower really brings it alive

Decorate with celebratory paraphernalia

I must confess to not creating the perfect kransekake this year, I was too impatient this morning, having meant to make it last night but was not feeling well.  I awoke early this morning to make it.  Taking it out of the oven too early and stacking it before it had cooled properly it began to collapse with the weight of the top rings once I had turned my back on it.  So how to save the day... I simply removed the lower rings, iced them as normal and just laid them around the edge of the now much shorter kransekake.  Do you think anyone will notice?

All ready to party

After having baked the kransekake, I tuned in on live streaming and watched a little of the children's parade in Oslo and saw the royal family waving from their palace balcony, I may not be in Norway but I can still join, the wonders of the internet.

Norwegian royal family watching the parades in Oslo today

Each area of Norway has it's own traditional dress and you can place people by the costume they wear, mine comes from Vest Telemark, where I hail from, I love it and am very proud of it.  It is hand embroidered and was made to measure for me in 1988.  When bought for a young girl it is made with excess material to accommodate the ever changing shape of a woman... (thank goodness)

The hemline of the dress is 3 meters, think of all
that embroidery, it took 6 months to make


The accompanying purse which hangs from the hand woven belt
 has the date of make embroidered on it.  Here you also
 see some of the silver jewellery that belongs to such an outfit.

   Gratulerer med dagen til dere alle  

Dancing in the rain

Friday 13th May
(I won't be walking under any ladders today!?!!?)

Crocheted flower brooch from Amy
A creative being... what a lovely phrase and one that many of us who follow crochet blogs will be familiar with, it is the name of the very popular blog that used to be written by Marinke, or as she preferred to be called Wink.  Wink was a source of inspiration and was always happy to communicate and talk about all things creative but especially crochet.  She also suffered from depression.  Her last post on her blog back in June explained to us all that she was in a very dark place and that crochet was literally saving her life but she was not in a position to continue blogging but hoped to return 'sporadically'.  It was not meant to be as a couple of weeks later the depression took hold and her life ended.  

Why do I write about her now?

She touched many lives in this blogging family we belong to and the strange thing is and I am sure you are aware yourself but when you follow a blog you are allowed into someone's life and we touch each other, initially as strangers but this online community grows and flourishes.  The week after she died many many of us all over the world wore flowers in our hair to remember her.  I thought it a
fitting tribute to wear flowers that our wonderful host of Five on Friday, Amy made for me.  It was a beautiful crochet flower brooch that I transformed for the day into a hair slide.  Flowers from one blogger to another worn in memory of a fellow blogger too.

Back to why I am writing about Wink today.  Again all over the world and we believe there are over 35 000 people (men and women) who are making a crochet blanket in her memory.  She was a highly skilled published crochet designer who was in the middle of completing her second crochet a long (CAL) for the Dutch yarn company Schjeepes.   After her death her family and friends along with the yarn company decided to finished the design of the CAL aided by her notes and what her friends thought she would like and 12 individual squares form the basis of a 48 square blanket, called Last Dance on the Beach.  There are three colour options each with their own special beach name: Last dance in the sea, Last dance in the rain and Last dance under the stars.  Despite having more on my plate than is healthy I could not resist joining in with this CAL and being a part of a community coming together to acknowledge that life is tough and some of us struggle on a day to day basis, but that there is hope and love out there.

A link to Wink's blog and where her sister updates the latest on the CAL and this week the feature of a Belgium newspaper writing all about the CAL:  A creative being

So my five today must be all about Wink's CAL:

The beginning:

Colours for the basic kit were as follows, I could not entertain the more expensive merino wool option as much as I was tempted...

Each kit that is sold gives two Euros to the organisation  MIND, whose strap line is "We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect."

For more information about the kits available:  Last Dance on the Beach

The kit arrives in a smart box

With a little about the background of the CAL and about Marinke

I chose the Last Dance in the Rain

First we had to make up a swatch gauge,
I confess to never quite completing it

Week 1:

Eagerly awaiting the first week, we had to wait till the Wednesday and from here on in each Wednesday becomes a fizz of excitement to see what is in store for that week.  The new pattern is released on line,  the full written instructions how to make the square.  Each week four squares of the same pattern need to be made.  Ester, one of the designers from the CAL has also at great time consumption produced a video each week to show how to make the square.  I admit these have been a real god send as I may have struggled otherwise and her voice is so very soothing and calming. 

Pop corn stitch, was really fun to do
and relatively quick to make

Checking the size as each square needs to be the same

Week 2:

Having used star stitch before I thought I would have no trouble in week 2, how wrong I was.  I had to keep frogging as I could not make the gauge correct and in the end had to increase hook size by 2 sizes.  I was not alone in needing to do this and eventually I was really thrilled with these four squares.
Star stitch

Week 3:

After the phaff of week 2, I confess to being a tad nervous for week 3, but I need not have worried.  The sun and waves on these squares proved to be fun to crochet and having not crocheted into front post for some time nor making what looks like cables made me feel I was learning as I was crocheting.   Loved this week.

Week 4:

As with Week 2, this week has proved a bit of a challenge and some frogging and muttering has taken place, three are so far completed two days post being issued on line and I intend to complete the last one today.  My sizing leaves a little to be desired but as I have yet to block all the squares, I am hoping my mistakes will be erased away so to speak.

Waves on the gravel in the drive,
made me think of waves on a stone beach...
 The four different designs so far:

Hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest crochet and if you are tempted, it is never to late to join in, the patterns will stay up on the website and Ester's marvellous videos will be there to guide you.
Joining in with Amy sharing five moments from the CAL with you,
do pop over and see what others are sharing.

  Hoping that all is well with you