Hair care with birch leaves and mock orange blossoms

Björklöv-bI’ve been looking for organic alternatives to traditional shampoo, more out of curiosity than anything else. I learned that you can wash your hair with leaves from birch and mock orange blossoms, which was a perfect fit for me since both can be found in my garden.

Birch leaves are supposed to be rich in saponins in the beginning of the summer. You can dry the leaves from both the birch and the mock orange blossoms and use them all year round.

Let a few leaves soak in water in a jar with a lid for about one hour. Shake the jar to make it lather, use instead of shampoo and rinse out with water.

I’ve only tried washing my hair like this once so far, so I can’t really review the effects. I have to admit though that I’m a skeptic at heart. 🙂 I sometimes use washing nuts instead of detergent when I wash clothes, but I think that modern washing machines are pretty effective even with just water. Still, I like the feeling of not polluting the water I use. So why not swap shampoo and detergent for ecological alternatives every once in a while?

B&W: Alone on the beach

The beach-bHaving the beach to yourself is a rare thing in mid-july. But when you time it perfectly, ariving just as the rain and thunder has passed, there’s a few moments of complete peace and stillness to catch before people start to find their way back.

Dramatic clouds, ruffled water. Perfectly melancholy, captured in black and white.

The best of berry season

Blåbär-b

Berry picking season is here and I’m determined not to miss it. There’s an abundance of blueberries in the forest across the street. Today, we made a blueberry pie and had some extra berries to put in the fridge for winter as well. The kind of treasure that makes me feel rich for real. 🙂

Pannacotta-bWe’ve got a raspberry thicket in our garden. It’s so nice to be able to walk outside barefoot in the morning in the dewy grass and pick som berries for the breakfast yogurt.

I made pannacotta yesterday and decorated it with a handfull of fresh berries. Pannacotta is a really easy dessert to make – you just have to start in time since it needs about three hours in the fridge to set. 

Summer camping

Sommarcamping-bI sort of got lost in summer, vacation and a kitchen and dining room renovation that has been going on for the last couple of weeks. We’ve balanced compact living in a messy house with excursions close to home. We spent a lovely weekend camping with some friends, enjoying hot and sunny weather and lots of swimming in the lake. Looking forward to four more weeks of vacation.

B&W: Dark clouds, white umbrella

Before the rainWell, how can you resist to take a picture of someone with a white umbrella when you’re shooting in b&w? 🙂 The location is the old town in Eskilstuna, Sweden, by the stream that runs through the city. I was sneaking up on this lady while she was talking on the phone.

The rain is pouring outside at the moment. I’m not a big fan of heat so I really don’t mind, and it’s a good thing for the forest and the garden. One more week to go before vacation-mode kicks in – can’t wait.

Peeling paint and doors to nowhere

The painter-b

I have to share a few more photos from our visit to the old ironworks. This is my colorful kid, taking a photo with my phone. She noticed that I thought the paint splash on the wall was interesting, so she wanted to capture it in her own way. 🙂 I love those little spots of orange breaking up all the grey in the image.

Door to nowhere-b

This old door probably used to lead to a staircase at some point but is now left haning in mid-air. Or maybe part of the building has been demolished years and years ago? Peeling paint and rust make for wonderful textures in photos.

Empty chair1-bAn empty chair leaning against the rough wall emphasizes the feeling of abandonement.

Still, I’m happy to admit that this site actually isn’t as derelict as it might seem when you look at these photos. Parts of the old ironworks is home to a museum, a restaurant, a dairy and a theater. Luckily though, large parts of the old ironworks has been left to decay in it’s own beautiful way, making it a very special place to visit.

Blackout poetry: Do and do

Blackout Do and do1-l

Do and do.
One life is all. One body. Do.

Ironically, this blackout poetry took me weeks to finish, if not months… 🙂 I wasn’t happy with the way the top part of it turned out, and I kind of gave up on blackout poetry completely for a long time. Creative confidence has been hard to find this spring.

Then, I decided to do it anyways, because finishing it seemed to be the best way to move on and free space and energy to make something new. To start over.

So I did. And I’m happy I did, even though it’s still not a piece that I’m completetly satisfied with.

Making blackout poetry l

The challenge of blackout poetry is that mistakes can sometimes be impossible to mend. One line drawn in the wrong place can destroy the intended poem, for example. Maybe I have to get better at letting things go when it doesn’t work out? Still, I find it hard to leave things unfinished.

Blackout Do and do inv l

I managed to invert the image in Photoshop, totally by accident. This could be a cool thing to try when making blackout poetry though, since it highlights a completely different version on the piece. Making you see your work in a different light can be helpful.

Playful creativity with hama beads

Hama bead cakes 3-l

I’ve been at home this week with my son who has been feeling ill. We both got a bit bored and that meant that we had to access the playful side of our creativity. This is swedish fika, the hama bead way!

My son has done loads of pixel Pokemon with hama beads, but making cakes was new to both of us.

Hama bead cakes2-lThe key is to make multiple layers, iron them and then glue the layers together. They look much more like the real deal when they’re three-dimensional.

My sister-in-law has made some amazing street art using hama beads – I just have to share one of her creations:

Mononoke Piff-lIf you’re a fan of studio Ghibli like me, you’ll probably recognise these faces. It’s from the anime movie Princess Mononoke.

The work of my sister-in-law is inspiring. I’ve asked her if she has any knowledge to share on how to iron large bead pegboards, and apparently there’s rolls and rolls of masking tape involved…

Foraging in the forest – spruce tips

Granskott1-l

I usually end up missing the spruce shoot season, but this year was an exception. Spring can be such a hectic time of year, but the spread of the Corona virus slowed everything down. Staying at home more also meant that I took more walks in the woods across the street.

Granskott2-l

So this year, I timed it perfectly and picked a big jar of light green spruce tips at their finest. Of course, you can eat them directly of the branch if you want to.

Granskott3-l

My goal was to try out a few different recipes. I dried some of them, pickled some and tried to make spruce tip syrup. Making syrup was the biggest challenge. I now realise why you mostly see pictures like the one above – spruce tips mixed with solid sugar. The next step is to leave the jar in a sunny window for something like two weeks. It’s not really a pretty sight when the sugar is melting and the spruce tips fade into a brownish color…

The sugar never really melted fully for me, so I finally decided to cheat and put the jar in a pot of boiling water. After filtering away the spruce tips, I ended up with a small amount of syrup. It’s a nice addition to a cup of tea instead of honey and you can definitly taste the fir.

Granskott4-lI mixed spruce tips with peel from an ecological orange and some home grown mint and let it all dry in room temperature to make a tea/fusion. Easy to make and with a nice fruity forest flavour.