Saturday

A conversation, with Panda_mr


There are so many women that inspires me in their own unique way and through these conversation posts you and i get the pleasure of getting to know a bit more about them. About those ordinary but interesting things like for example what it is that inspires them, what a typical day in their life looks like, where they find beauty...  
This time it is the lovely panda_mr that has sat down and answered my questions.

  

 




V: First i want to thank you for saying yes to do this conversation together with me! Ever since i first came across you on Instagram i have been "hooked" on your pictures, they both inspire me and make me feel happy.....your sense and taste for colors and patterns hugely appeal to me....*smiling*.
I thought it would be nice if you could start with sharing a bit about yourself?

P: First of all, thank you so much for your kind words, and for asking me to have this conversation! I live in Oslo, Norway, with my husband and two kids aged 8 months and 3 years.  When I was pregnant with my first born I suddenly felt the need to learn to crochet, because I wanted to make a baby blanket for her. From that moment on I have been hooked on yarn! Two years ago I decided it was time to refresh my knitting skills (hadn`t knitted since childhood), and after that I have been knitting a whole lot for my kids. I am currently on maternity leave, and I guess the extra time I`ve had on my hands since the arrival of my second daughter is the reason for me starting to post pictures from my everyday life on Instagram.  I feel that my creativity is really blooming, there is so much I want to make and learn, both when it comes to photography, home crafts and other things. There is just not enough time!


V: 5 words that you would choose to describe yourself?
P: Mom, knitter, music listener, walker and coffee drinker.


V: What inspires you..where do you find inspiration?
P: I find inspiration from so many places, from music, literature, movies, fashion, internet, and on Ravelry.com. These days I must say that I find a lot of inspiration on Instagram, both when it comes to handicrafts and other things! Also, I find a lot of inspiration from my own childhood. Thinking back, I remember things that used to fascinate me, like toys, and clothes that I myself liked to wear as a kid. I guess you can call me a nostalgic. My daughters’ bookshelf is filled with the books I loved growing up.






V: I am hugely in love with everything you knit and sew...all the beautiful childrens clothing makes me wish that i was 3 and not 39!!. I am curious to know if you prefer one of these crafts above the other? And if so, why?
P: I am definitely a knitter, not a seamstress. For me, knitting is so many different things. It can be a time out, where I forget my worries and focus on what I am doing in that exact moment. It can also be challenging, but it feels fulfilling when I master whatever it is that has proven difficult for me. Sometimes knitting is something I can do while watching TV or talking (I guess it depends on what exactly is being knitted!). Sewing is something I recently started doing, mostly because I just wanted to see if I could. I love Danish children’s wear, but some of it can be rather expensive. So I decided to use the same kind of fabric, but make something of my own. For me, sewing is demanding, not something "cozy" or relaxing like knitting. But I must say it is fun to try for a change! 


V: Have you grown up in a crafty family?
P: Yes, I guess you could say that. One of my grandfathers was both a painter and photographer, and my father was into photography as well. On my mothers side there has been a lot of handicraft, but mostly for the purpose of making things that were needed in the household. I feel that while I mostly knit with the purpose of challenging myself and experience some kind of mastery, they mostly knitted because of the need of it.

  
V: What is your first knitting memory and who learned you to knit? And what about sewing?
P: I don`t remember an exact first experience with knitting, but I do remember that my grandmother, and her sister, almost always sat with their knitting while we were having afternoon coffee when I was a child. Also, I remember there was a lot of talk about knitting, different patterns, yarns etc. My grandmother is so fast, she knits a mitten in an evening. I also remember it was very boring to try on half made clothes, that they wanted to see if fit. I didn`t understand or appreciate at the time, all the hard work and love they put into their works! I think both my mother and grandmother helped me learn how to knit, but it was also part of education at school. As a grown up, I had to use YouTube to refresh my memory!  






V: What is currently on the top of your want-to-knit list? And when it comes to sewing?
P: There are so many things I want to knit! I want to knit shorts for both of my girls that they can use during spring and summer. I also want to make another Immie tee and a Bloomsbury sweater. I am contemplating whether to knit a Korrigan jacket or another jacket for my eldest daughter. Also, I have started on a blanket called Umaro, but don`t know if I ever will have the time to finish it. I have not knitted anything from Amimono, but want to buy the Little Nordic Collection, with patterns inspired by the world of Astrid Lindgren. I also plan to knit the "Clara" dress. When it comes to sewing I don`t have any plans, I guess I will sew something to match new knitted pieces if i find the motivation! 


V: Either it is your knittings or sewing i hugely like the colors and patterns you pick! I am curious to know what your favourite colors are, and color combinations? Also if this is something that often is in change? For example because of the different seasons and also because of new trends?
P:  I don`t think I have any favorite color, but I think that I have periods where I am really into either a color nuance or a color combination. For instance, lately I have been into pink, but not ordinary pink, rather powdery pink, peach-pink or dusty pink. I also have had a period where I have tended to pick greens; teal, sea green, apple green. Right now different kind of pastels, mostly in somewhat uncommon combinations, is what I like! Today, for instance I`m thinking lavender and apple green. Would`ve loved to have a shorts and jacket for my baby in those colors, with a matching blouse in a flower print! 
 Yes, I definitely think that both changing of seasons and trends influence both the colors, type of yarns, patterns and the structures of what I make! For instance, during autumn I tend to choose colors like aubergine, mustard yellow and navy blue.


V: Can you share your favourite brands when it comes to yarn and fabric with us?
P: I really like trying out new types of yarns and color palettes! Right now I must say that Quince & co yarn is a favorite, both because of the colors and nuances they make and because of the quality and feel of the yarn. I think that Quince offers some qualities that I haven't yet found among the available yarns in Norway. And of course, because it is difficult to come by here, it feels luxurious and rare, and that is always a plus ;-) When it comes to Norwegian yarns, I often go back to Du Store Alpakka, and their types of yarn called Babysilk and Fin. Both are soft to touch, they have several colors I like (although I often long for even more exciting array of colors) and to me they seem to be of good quality. I also like yarn from pickles.no, mostly because of their more playful take on colors. Sometimes I can get "hung up" on a type of yarn for a while, and want to experiment with it. Most recently I have really liked Pickles.no Abuelita 4 ply yarn, and used it to make a vest of my own design, a Bloomsbury sweater and a Columbine Hoodie. When it comes to fabric, I don`t have a lot of experience with purchasing them, but I tend to buy Liberty of London, because I really like their takes on patterns and colors. 


Petra Dress


Petra Dress

V: Among all the clothes that you have knitted could you share your absolute favourites with us?
P: I think the "Petra dress" from charlottpettersen.no`s blog is one of my favorites. I like the design, which is from an old Norwegian pattern. The dress has a retro feel, which I like a lot, and also it took a lot of discipline to make it (small needles, really wide skirt….). More recently I am happy with the Icelandic sweater "Frost", because knitting with several colors is hard for me. I have also made a cardigan with a lot of cables for my eldest daughter, the pattern is from a book called "Labour of Love". That took a lot of work!


V: Do you also sew and knit for yourself or only for your kids? 
P: I must admit, I am rather inpatient. It is so much more rewarding to make things for my kids, and it takes a lot less time. I have knitted my self the occasional sweater, but nothing to write home about!


V: Your favourite blogs and sites and also what you especially enjoy about them?
P: Actually, I do not have that many blogs and sites that I regularly visit, lately Instagram has taken more of my time… But I really like maddermade.com, and her previous blog swatchdiaries.blogspot.com. I love her sense of color combinations! I also like the pickles blog. Ravelry.com is another favorite, both for finding patterns and for yarn suggestions. 


 




V: What kind of value and importance does creativity have in your life?
P: I guess I would say that it means a lot, but also that it varies a bit depending on where I am in life. I think photography is the form of creativity that has been with me most of my life, it has sort of always been present, more or less. The camera has both been a tool for capturing moments, as a means to make "scenes", or like now; like a set of "second eyes" to see my knittings with. I am thinking about starting a blog, but I don`t know if I have the guts for it. 


V: If you were to explore/learn a new craft, what would that be and why?
P: I am not sure, actually. I guess I would focus on getting better at sewing or photography. Right now I find it so fun to knit, that I mostly just want to use my sparetime on that (or browsing the web for yarn suggestions or new patterns ;-) )






V: Other interests/things you enjoy using your time on?
P: Obviously it is my family! Two small kids is a lot of work AND fun! I am also very fond of traveling, and seeing the world. But right now, my priorities is my everyday life with my man and kids!


V: We are soon heading into spring here in Norway now, a season that is very dear to my heart.
What do you especially enjoy about this season?

P: So many things! I think it is the best of all seasons. I really enjoy the days getting longer. The winters can be quite dark and long where I live, and so more light is always a plus. Also, seeing plants grow to life, and the gras and trees getting greener; nothing can compare to that! From feeling sort of grayish, life gets filled with color.


V: As a closing i want to ask you about what you are most grateful and happy about in your life right now?
I also want to thank you for this lovely and inspiring conversation!...*smiling*...
P: That must be my two daughters, that constantly reminds me of what is important in life, and that sometimes makes me see life from a child’s perspective again.  
 Thank you so much for asking me! This has certainly been a new and exiting experience for me. Thank you so much, 





Wednesday







The last days have been rainy here. We have gone to sleep at night to the sound of raindrops against our bedroom window and woken up to the very same sound. The birds doesn't seem to mind the wet and grey weather.......they sing and eat from the feeders all day long. Yesterday i heard a "new" bird singing outside again, this one actually sounded like the ringing of a telephone. I have NO idea which type of bird that was but it would be quite fun to find out.
Rain is perfect weather for doing some knitting.....actually i consider EVERY kind of weather as being good knitting weather...*smiling*... I have just taken a break now after discovering that i had done something wrong and need to unravel 10 cm......grrrrr...
For my birthday i got a bag of some tiny but oooooo SO delicious organic orange- and chocolate eggs........i ate the last two today. I was thinking about saving them for easter but that didn't happen....*laughing*...  
The seeds that i planted in pots inside last week have started to show their green shootings now. Looking at them every morning makes me happy, such an ordinary thing seeing something grow but it always carries with it a feeling of magic for me...!



"Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems."
-Rainer Maria Rilke


Sunday

Gratitude sunday


"I pick GRATITUDE as my focus "word" for this new year....closely followed by SIMPLICITY. For me the experience of getting physically sick some years back, has certainly been (and still is) a schooling in finding the gratitudes in my daily life. AND to be able to focus on them when i am having all those bad days when my body is failing me. Doing a gratitude prayer at the end of each day has been such a good help to me. Other ways to practise gratitude can be things like writing them down in a notebook, to photograph, draw or paint your gratitudes. Another nice way too is to
make a gratitude post on your blog/site together with Taryn and a lot of other bloggers that are linking with to Taryn's Gratitude Sunday post."






Lately i have been grateful for:

-All the daylight that fills the days, so wonderful
-Sunshine 
-Increasing birdsong
-Spotting "new" birds at the feeders in our garden
-Knitting time
-Humble people, people that don't act as if they have all the right answers to everything
-Finding lovely snail mails and gifts in my letter box
-Friends time
-Colors
-Yarn
-Laughter
-Spending more time outside
-Reading time
-That my kitchen bench is full of pots that are containing newly planted seeds
-Seeing signs of growth in my garden, it is awakening to life again
-Finding out that it is two stores in Oslo that offers Fairtrade clothes and shoes
-Good music
-My tea times
-Being asked by a lovely and inspiring lady if she could do a little interview with me for her wonderful blog....*smiling*.. 




Wednesday

A cup of tea with Melody

I am quite passionate about tea and because i hugely enjoy both drinking it and talking about it i have "sat down" together with some lovely tea drinking ladies and asked them a few questions about their relationship with tea. This time it is the lovely Melody and i who are having our tea-time together....*smiling*..






V: When did you first start drinking tea?
M: As a kid I never liked to drink tea or infusions. I really thought that tea was such a "boring" and tasteless beverage. But I really changed my mind when I arrived in China. I discovered that tea was more that a tasteless tea bag in hot water.



V: Tea times, they are my very favourite moments of the day. It is so much more than just the taste and the smell of the tea that makes it so special to me. It also has something to do with the ritual of preparing the tea (i almost always use loose tea), the slowness of it...it fills me with a sense of peace. What does these tea breaks mean to you Melody?
M: I enjoy tea in so many different ways. When I'm alone, I usually like to have some "tea breaks" in my kitchen, enjoy the silence and the view outside, and gather my ideas in a notebook. When I have friends coming over, I always love to set the table, and get ready for a little "tea ceremony". We usually drink different teas when we meet.


V: Do you prefer loose tea or tea bags?
M:  I like to use both. When I'm more busy, I usually drop a tea bag in my mug, and when I want to relax a bit more I prepare my chinese teapot for some loose tea.


V: Your favourite teas?
M: My all time favourite tea is Oolong. The taste of this tea is just incredible. It's sweet and so flavourful at the same time. But it's almost impossible to get good one here.
I could definitely say that my favourite teas are natural ones: sencha, tieguanying, puer, dahongpao... But I also like mixed teas, especially Monk tea from Palais des thés. And before going to bed I always drink a cup of Yogi tea or clipper infusions.









V: Where do you mostly buy your tea?
M: My first answer would be China, but that's not true anymore! I had to search nice place for a long time! Now, I exclusively buy tea in organic shops.


V: Are there a good tea selection where you live?
M:  I don't think that people in Latvia drink a lot of tea. However they really like to drink dry herb and fruits mixes. But they love kombucha! I don't really know if I could categorize it with teas though..


V: Favourite things to eat together with your tea?
M:  Chocolate and fruits! But any home baked treat would be fine with me. Oh and fruit leather!


V: Most times, do you do something while having your tea?
M: Yes. If I'm drinking my "working tea", I"ll probably be knitting something. And if it's my "tea break" time, I'll be gathering idea in a notebook or I'll make lists.







V: Do you often drink tea together with friends and/or family?
M: Most of the time I drink my tea alone. But when my sweetheart's around, we always try to have a cuppa together. And when friends come over, we usually have tea parties!


V: Which tea cup of the day do enjoy the most and why?
M: The one that I enjoy the most is when everything is quiet and still outside. Sometimes, I bring a thermostat with me in the woods, and I enjoy a hot beverage alone in the nature.


V: Do you have a favourite tea cup/mug?
M: My favourite one is a simple white mug that has a traditional pattern on it. I also love to drink my teas in jars with mug cosies around.


Links:
Blog and Etsy.