Friday & four skirts (and some numbers)

What have I been wearing this week?

Skirts, and some of my fave one it should be mentioned. The leather skirts are both second-hand. One I bought in Copenhagen and the other in a second-hand shop here. Good stuff, very versatile. I rub them with leather balm when they seem to need it. The first one is cognac colored, the second is black (as you can see in the not great photos). The third and fourth skirts are both made by me, almost ten years ago, in fabric that was a gift from Ecuador. They are a sort of wool-blend and very comfy in winter. Both of them are starting to show signs of decay, threads and piling but given how much I have used these over the years that is no surprise. They have served me well. All of these skirts have been worn with the simplest of sweaters this week, and honestly every other week too. I like cashmere sweaters. A lot. That black one is my ride or die sweater. Especially now that my cardigan has basically fallen to pieces again. Will patch it up during the weekend.

So I counted and I have 42 skirts all in all. The moratorium I issued the other day really wasn’t a bad idea. It should be noted that of my skirts nothing remains unused for long, and it is not clothes that anyone else would really like to use. If I break it down, these are the stats;

  • 29 made of old clothes or material I’ve been given. Nine was made out of old garments, I count curtains and tablecloth as material pure and simple. A lot of stained fabric that I have taken the best bits of. I have been making clothes on and off since I was fourteen and been pretty much the same size.
  • 6 bought second-hand
  • 4 made in fabric I bought myself (i.e. new).
  • 3 inherited (from my mum).

I think about five of my skirts are one the verge of falling apart. Maybe one or two needs a couple of stitches. I’m trying to be systematic about using them so that I can take pics but also to notice which ones could actually need a little TLC. Might also have found a solution to the problem with tights but I’ll get back to you on that one.

Have a great weekend!

-Suss

 

 

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Thursday&The fifth season

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThe Fifth season by N.K Jemisin is much hyped. At least I think so. I get my information from bookstagram and judging by that e-books barely exists and very few people read Dan Brown. I’m very happy being out of the loop on these things however, I read according to my own fancy and I’m happier for it. (Not throwing shade on either e-books or Dan Brown, they are just not for me).

What is for me are fantasy books. As much as my heart skips a beat at the thought of a good non-fiction book and the opportunity to learn something, I’m equally excited about the prospect of loosing myself completely in between the covers of a book that contains a different world.

Jemisin has created such a world, the Stillness. Nature is different there; violent and harsh, and thus society is organized to deal with that. A fifth season is what happens after an earthquake or a volcanic eruption; like in 1816 when the eruption of Mount Tambora lead to weather changes all over the world, but much more intensely and on a bigger scale. (BTW: there is an episode about that eruption from In our time, it aired in 2016; scroll in the feed). In the society that we encounter there are a kind of people who can control earth and stone (and more), but they are also despised because of it; feared and excluded. Occupation and abilities are the way that people are classified, and being able to set of an earth quake is seen as a potential danger and filled with shame.

I don’t want to say too much, I don’t want to spoil it. There were a few things in the beginning that were like “what?!” but then in the end it all comes together, and rather elegantly so. I did get attached to some characters and very engaged in some of the plot lines (there are several plot lines unfolding). One of the highest compliments I can pay any books is to say that I lost track of time when reading it and that I didn’t mind train delays in the least bit; those are things that very much fit when describing how intensely I read this book.

It is an amazing world Jemisin has created, and characters to fill it. It is well written; both the storytelling as such and the language and definitions created and used as building blocks in the explaining to the reader the world that all of this takes place in. i say this is suitable for people that want a step up from the Hnger games as this s a book for adults that contains sex, we get the full spectrum of human emotions.

I’ve read more than one comment saying that they had a hard time getting into the book. I did not have that experience but I do understand how some might; this story hits the ground running and you have to work to catch up with it for the first 100 pages or so. I was less than happy about the little snippets of “stonelore” or legal text  that  concluded every chapter. I can live with it but it didn’t add much for me.

Now the question is ; will I continue the series? I want to but other books call my name. I have a hard time committing to a series, so if I dn’t read the second book it that does not reflect poorly on this one.

-Suss

 

Wednesday&What the future brings?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend “Boken2018”, an annual event for Swedish booksellers and publishers. I have no place there really but was invited, I guess, because I had been an August-prize ambassador (Swedish publishers aren’t really impressed by my IG presence I gather; foreign publishers seems to be more keen to send me books).

So for a few hours of the afternoon I got to listen to presentations about book shopping, the potential and problems of e-books and the state of book selling in Sweden. I learned a bit, have thoughts on a few things and I do wonder about the future.

What needs to be mentioned here is that I zoned out during the conversation about e-books. Audiobooks I like just fine, but having to invest in more technology to read books, and the problems that ensue is not for me (by that I refer to the idea of avoiding technology (all of it) for like an hour or two before bed. I do that as much as I can). I’m sure it was all very relevant and informed. Supposedly they are the future or something.

There was also a long presentation about how brands now are required to be more transparent and take environmental issues seriously but no one seems to question the increased consumption of goods and what all this internet shopping might do to emissions (unless we find an alternative source to fossil fuels). Will algorithms replace the good advice that staff in bookshops provide? I doubt it (but others think so). But then again, I’ve known bookshop staff give bad advice more than once, especially in bigger chains. If I look at my own shopping it is indie or online, and the latter much due to wanting books that no one seems to have heard of (and it has been like that my whole reading life). So I am not the average consumer. There was no discussion about how books are marketed. Influencers were not mentioned even though there was talk about the need for “curation”. it was suggested that bookshops should be more exciting. I don’t know about that, I think that I’,m not alone in wanting cosy bookshops. But sure, individuality is probably a good thing (John Sandoe books is #goals) and trying to have smaller stores, and then possibly a bigger warehouse or books in the basement. High rent is a problem from a budget point of view.  That was a fair argument. I’ve had  discussions at other times about the potential in niche bookstores, which I guess can be tied to the future of the physical bookshop now that online sales are such a big part the market here (it can be mentioned that the biggest online seller has started to open actual shops even if they have a limited selection and that one of the biggest chains also have a big online presence and has announced they will go into streaming).

I’m not gonna go in-depth about the data, although I did find it very interesting. The difference between which books sell and which books bring in money, they are not always the same. There is a discussion about pricing that is valid; very much linked to the question about how to make money in the current media climate.

I have answers to none of these questions, and I don’t work with these issues so I do not possess the same knowledge to begin with. In fact, very little of this post makes any sense. But if you have any thought about the future of books and book shops I’d love to hear it. What do you miss in the current market? What do you think is a fair price for  book? What do you find most annoying with book shopping as it is?

-Suss

 

Tuesday&Trousers to skirt(again)

Let me first of all announce that there is a “skirt making/buying moratorium” in this house. I love making skirts and I love wearing skirts, but in the end there is a limit to how many I need. My usual caveats is that several of my skirts are old, and on the verge of falling apart (which is true), but maybe let a few of them get retired before I make or buy new ones? And let us not forget that becoming a skirt is usually the second coming for all of my dresses when armpits and necklines are ruined so I won’t run out of materials any time soon.

That said, there are a few kind of skirts that I do long for; I only have one pleated skirt at the moment (my kilt)(which is not an actual kilt but you know what I mean) but it is the kind of thing I love and wear until it fall a part. A basic black skirt would also be an asset in my closet, and what I made this weekend is close enough even though its future is unclear.

Let me provide some background here: I have had the sewing machine out on the table all last week so I do a little every day and that adds up. This is also the kind of project that lends itself to be made in installments. The fabric is one pair of worn out black jeans and a pair of black trousers in some kind of synthetic that I bought in a panic last spring. In just a few weeks later they started to fall to pieces. The zipper broke and I accidentally caused more damage when I tried to open the zipper and get out of the trousers (it was a mess). Neither of those items could be much use on its own. The idea came from my denim skirt in blue made according to this simple patchwork principle, one that I use often. I love patchwork, I just do.

IMG_7581I did not apply myself 100% (the lines do not all align), but the sewing was to some degree hard and fast as I am worried that the fabric won’t hold up all that well. This still feels like a better idea as not much else can be done with it; I’m trying to prolong “the wearage”. From experience I know that using old fabrics or materials that are not the best quality for my clothes can make me feel like an idiot, if I spend hours and hours sewing according to protocol and then have it fall to pieces. That’s the thing with poor quality, it is unpredictable. With good cotton/wool/silk you can have an idea how it will behave. Synthetics or cheap blends? Not so much.

So this is what we have ended up with; a simple straight skirt in two shades of black, no fuss. Worn here with a white shirt and the tights from the ERDEMxHM collab. I used a pair of booties during the day, these heels are just for show (it is 2 inches of snow outside).

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-Suss

Monday, Menus & Missed photo opportunities

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The calm before the storm, and the loveliest tulips.

So the “Red dinner” happened last night, and happy memories and a hangover is all I have to show for it. I didn’t take any photos, and even if I had tried they would have been awful as the lighting was insufficient.  The theme was inspired by a thing in one of notebooks (the one I use as a journal) and I did use that as a starting point but didn’t follow it exactly.

It said nothing about an aperitif in my journal. I decided to treat my guests to a Negroni before dinner, and a bowl of crisps. The crisps were, sadly, not red as I had hoped. I thought they would at least be tinged with red or have red flecks as they were seasoned with smoked paprika.

The suggested menu had cherry soup as the entrée; to the best of my knowledge that is a dessert. And when I refer too “my knowledge” I mean that I googled and all that came up was a recipe for a Hungarian dessert. Cherry soup with dumplings does seem very tasty and I just might make it at some point but now was not the time. I had first thought of making a tomato and roast pepper soup but made a last-minute switch to lobster soup. I declare that a fail actually; the lobster soup was more orange than red and more importantly I remember that I don’t like lobster soup all that much. In fact, not at all. My guests liked it though so maybe not a complete fail.

The main course was roast beef with roast peppers, tomatoes, beets and red onions. That was largely based on the original menu, and a delight to both make and eat. I like the kind of food that almost cooks itself and on a grey February afternoon it is like getting a vitamin injection to stand in the kitchen and chopping up brightly colored vegetables. To that I made couscous in tomato sauce (which didn’t turn out as red as I had hoped) and I had the day before reduced a bottle of red wine with some shallots, celeriac, herbs and stock to a sauce. It does feel like you are getting robbed, as a bottle of wine yields very little sauce seen to the amount but it is packing some flavor for sure.

Dessert-wise I ran into practical problems and ethical dilemmas. The menu called for fresh strawberries and raspberry sherbet. Well, finding fresh or frozen strawberries just a few days after valentine’s day was difficult and the few ones I saw were too expensive to think about. Looking at the market offerings, there seems to be a huge demand for raspberry sherbet as I couldn’t find any at all ( or there is no demand at all until May and thus no production). Vanilla ice cream all the way basically. I did find what was called a “frozen smoothie” which was based on bananas and berries. It had this whole “no sugar, no dairy la la la healthy dessert” gospel on it. I was skeptical as I believe that people who talk about healthy desserts are either a) fooling  themselves or  b) are completely missing the point about dessert. Either way, I was prepared for it to be a complete failure and I could go “Ha! It is impossible to make a tasty dessert without sugar” but it tasted just fine. I guess I just want people who like chia pudding to be a little less smug about it and stop pretending they know everything about what is healthy. So I ended up having that frozen smoothie, frozen raspberries and pomegranate seeds in my basket, and in fear of having guests leave the table hungry and disappointed I added meringues and cream too. Ingredients that were not red but that made it more interesting to eat. And what do you know, I ended up making a version of Eton Mess yet again. It was very good, but not entirely red so another F I guess.

Having a colour themed dinner was fun; I didn’t go all in with the table setting but red napkins, candles or flowers would have added a nice touch. I did in fact have red tulips but they didn’t fit on the table in the end.

In the end I failed in that all the foods were not red, but I gave it a good effort. Everything tasted fine (if you like lobster soup), no-one went to bed hungry and I have the most excellent left overs for my lunch boxes for a few days ahead. And it was nice to sit down with friends, talk and enjoy good food and wine, which I guess was the most important thing.

-Suss

7 things to (possibly) ward off demons this weekend..

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The Chinese New Year is upon us, and we are entering the year of the dog. The color red is much connected to this holiday, and I have been taught that red supposedly wards of devils and demons. We could all use that in our lives I guess, but also? A dash of color in the grey of February is much needed. These are seven things in red that can light up your days and nights (and possibly improve quality of life/ward of demons).

  1. Campari.A Negroni on Friday night will make sure that the weekend isn’t full of fright and plight” is not an old saying but maybe it should be? To be fair though I usually make my Negroni the size of a thimble unless I’m having company. If you make a Boulevardier or another drink with Campari I’m not gonna give you the evil eye.
  2. Tea in nice packaging (or coffee/salt/sugar). I guess red tea could be a thing but really? It isn’t read either. My point is that “Frugaluary” is over so people aren’t raving about using what they have, how much the really love chia pudding and how they feel 2018 is gonna be the year of minimalism and less stuff. Treat yourself to a few everyday luxuries in really nice packaging that can stand on the counter.
  3. Deathless by Cathrynne M Valente. I haven’t read this yet but it is very high on my list. And its cover is lovely and red, I’ll walk around with it as an accessory and defense against demons? And it is about the devil so it all comes together somehow. It is all about stoies anchored in Russian folklore right now.
  4. Red lipstick. I was always gonna included red lipstick yeah? It is something that I love and always advocate.
  5. A red necklace. I have to say that a red necklace is a great accessory in general. This one is not as good as my old one but I have to say that it completes many outfits, and just gives it that extra little things. Could be because I *like* red in general so it matches.
  6. A red top. Speaking of which. I have been reaching for this top a lot lately. Since I organized my closet, and there isn’t two items on every hanger, I see it and reach for it. With clothes it really is a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for me
  7. Red tulips. I adore tulips in general, and right now I’m going for the blue-red parrot tulips. The wilt with such charm.

-Suss

7 empties

February has become my January. Last month people decided to use what they had, finish stuff and be all around virtuous. I was deep into the work fog, but having followed my own advice when it come to Christmas presents and such, I actually had money on the account when I got paid at the end of the month. Also; being busy means not spending money on expensive things. And oddly enough it continues. Without even trying I have actually drunk all the tea I had. Like even the weird green tea that has been laying in the back of the cupboard for a long time. I’ve used up all the cinnamon. I am running low on notebooks, perfume and beauty products. According to my sources the Chinese new year starts this weekend, and I will be entering the year of the dog with very little. Not exactly a clean slate but a nicw efoundation for a new beginning (I repeat; I have run out of tea and notebooks! How is this even possible?).

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So let’s go through the used up products in the beauty department, shall we? Very few surprises. And a reminder; I am not a skin care/beauty blogger but I have skin and I care about it. Take my advice for what it is.

  1. L’Oréal Pure clay glow mask. I got this as a birthday present so I have no idea how much it costs, but it is L’oréal so I’m assuming it doesn’t break the bank. I have used a clay mask or two in my day and I really liked the one, smells nice, gets the job done I think. Easy to use, easy to wash off. I mostly use it in my T-zone so it has lasted longer than the 10 applications that it said it was supposed to last for on the box. Had it not been for the fact that I am on a mission to be more sustainable I would have bought this again.
  2. Maria Åkerberg Papaya Enzyme peel. I have found that this is a bit too much for me in the end. I need a gentler exfoliation that I can use more often.  Not gonna repurchase but that’s because of my skin, not the product.
  3. Book by Commodity. This scent is nice, and smells a bit like figs to me no matter what anyone else says, but it is a bit too heavy and only worked on the coldest days of winter. I won’t repurchase and given how hard it is to get by I probably couldn’t if I wanted to (and I rarely repurchase perfumes anyways. Same kind of scent absolutely, but rarely the exact one).
  4. Maria Nila volume shampoo. This is like the third or fourth, but not the last, bottle I go through. I have in fact already started on another bottle that I bought the other day.
  5. Bioderma Micellar water. My beloved Bioderma. I love this as a first cleanse, and some mornings I use it too. I’m trying another micellar water right now (one that is organic) and if that doesn’t work out I don’t know what to do.
  6. Apoliva cleansing foam. I’ve mentioned this before and I stand by my opinion. This is way too stripping  and my skin feels taut afterwards. It says for sensitive skin on the bottle but that should be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve used it on my body.
  7. Apoteket extra care body lotion. Winter hasn’t ended yet, but I have run out of body lotion. This is lightweight enough for me in that it absorbed quickly and I’ve used it every day and have thus avoided dry spots and itchy skin pretty well this winter.

IMG_7473A little bonus: The cire Trudon candle I got for Christmas, that was last years limited edition  (on sale) has been wonderful. Good quality, no tunneling and a truly wonderful scent. Not available anymore but I guess part of the joy of Christmas candles is the limited editions and the holiday extravaganza that they bring.  If it wasn’t so damn expensive here I might buy some of their other candles to have during the rest of the year, I have had them before (they are more expensive here than in Paris amongst other things).

 

-Suss