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Life on the other side

Happy Birthday Silja!

Happy Birthday Silja!

It has been five years since I lay in the hospital with construction workers outside the window, a Swedish midwife I struggled understanding and thought I would die. Then all of a sudden there she was. My sweet little Silja! I remembered crying of joy over the fact that I was alive and that she was alive and looked healthy. I had been warned that I might not feel love for my kid right away but I did. Wild intense love and pride. Mistakenly the doctor must have assumed our relief and happiness meant that we were happy with the birth experience and wrote that in my journal. Something that has caused me trouble later but that is a story for another day.

Everything changes when you get a kid. I remember the intense feeling that I had simply been cut out of my old world and glued somewhere else. It is a world that nobody without kids can comprehend. At first you might try to pretend to your friends that you haven’t passed onto the other side. At some point you can no longer be bothered and you just stop trying. It is not worth it really. Why not just enjoy the life you are living. You excuse it by simply saying to yourself: they will understand when they get kids themselves.

Being a parent is hard. I had quite realistic expectations at first with one exception. I wasn’t quite ready for how light headed and confused I was feeling. They call it “ammetåke” (breastfeeing fog) in Norway and while there might be some oxytocin hormones involved I think it is more that you need to be on the alert every single second of the day. Even if they are a sleep (and even you are sleeping) you still need to listen for sounds all the time. If you are somewhere and talking to someone you must constantly be listening and watching them. This is probably the biggest drain of parenthood.

Then there are birthdays, another big drain on your energy (and wallet). It is Silja’s fifth birthday today but we celebrated yesterday with Kintergarden and family. Truth be told I have used most of my free time for the last week preparing and this year I kept it simple. I might add here that I have very little free time due to the fact that my little boy only sleeps 25 minutes at a time during daytime. Couple of simple cakes, pinata (the ugliest unicorn creature I have ever seen), candy bags, pony ears and some decorations. The party had a My Little Pony theme and we used the Princess Cadence colors for decorations in case you are wondering… My eyes still hurt a bit :) . A 5 year old has quite set ideas of what they want for their birthday. Today we even had to get up and make her breakfast in bed.

With her Princess Cadence crown

With her Princess Cadence crown


The beauty and the beast

The beauty and the beast

Ponny Ears

Ponny Ears

My little pony theme

My little pony theme

It was all worth it! She was genuinely happy over everything we did and she had a really good time. Nothing beats making your kids happy!

I also made her a dress that wasn’t initially intended as a birthday dress but ended up becoming one. It is the Verona dress from Jennuine Design. I wanted to make this dress for a while but struggled finding the right fabric. Many of the samples I have seen feel very stiff with that type of collar. The Escapade Voile felt perfect as it was light and playful and the triangles there matched the collar corners softening them out a bit. The nice people at Hawthorne threads helped me find a matching fabric for the undershirt. This is Cirrus Solid in Coral. The pattern was quite well made and the only complaint I have is that I felt it could have been a bit more decisive. It had a lot of options and didn’t always clearly recommend one way.

field

Here are some photos. I have really been struggling getting good photos with the strong sun and a little lady that doesn’t have time to stand still. So this is a random collection.

Awww

Awww

cobblestoneback

lake

Birthday girl gives her little brother a hug

Birthday girl gives her little brother a hug

Split in sleeve

Split in sleeve


30 Perfect Days

My #30perfectdays experiment is over. I am sure many of my Facebook friends are happy (if they haven’t already blocked me) but I really miss it.

The experiment was to post some highlights from my life every single day for 30 days. To find something positive, something that made me smile, or something that I accomplished. This to try to move the focus away from what is hard right now and to remind myself that there are plenty of positive things in my life. We are going through a rough period because our little boy has reflux and is often in quite a lot of pain and struggles sleeping. As a result of that we are sleep deprived, stressed and at times exhausted.

I really didn’t think I would manage to post something every day when I started. To my big surprise there were days I had too many things to post and I found myself trying to just pick out few. There were other days where I didn’t have an awful lot to post but there was always something positive.

I am convinced that this little effort of mine really saved our vacation from being a disaster. We can now look back on lots of photos from what we did. We will remember the play and beauty and not the crying and the sleep deprivation. I must admit that the photos didn’t always help me on the days when there was crying and frustration but they always made me look back on the previous day in a much more positive light.

It is hard to evaluate how my photo stream looked to others. I am however pretty sure I would have gotten a bit jealous of myself had I been watching it as an observer. The lesson I am trying to teach myself is that happy photos don’t automatically equate to a perfect life. A kid might have gotten a tantrum right after the most idealistic photo. A nice island trip might have been a bit colder than planned because someone forgot to pack the warm water for the cocoa but instead remembered to pack themselves a beer… You get the picture 😉 .

Another observation from this experiment of mine is that my kids are an infinite source of joy for me despite them draining me at times. It is wonderful to observe my four-year-old imagination and to see how much joy they are already getting from each other. The glorious smiles I get from my little boy when he is not in pain (or overtired) are worth gold. The excessive posting of kids photos probably drove some of my Facebook friends insane but I will consider that I was doing them a favor by giving them something to bitch about. Lets just be honest about it, we all have couple of Facebook friend which annoy us beyond means with their posts yet we don’t remove them because we secretly like to bitch about them.

So if you are ever going through a rough patch of some sort and worry that your vacation might suffer, give this experiment a try. Post something positive and look back at it the day after and see if it made the previous day look better. If so continue! The only warning of advice is not to get to hung up on getting likes. It is easy to get addicted and put too much focus on that.

All my photos and some of the stories behind them are below but are better viewed on my Instagram feed. I even managed to post some selfies! I think I posted twice as many photos with myself in these 30 days as I have done in my entire Instagram lifetime. Scary stuff! Who knows maybe I will one day be posting selfies with pouty lips…

Did you know that more knowledge sometimes makes you more ignorant? When you have learned something it becomes difficult to understand how others don’t know the same things as you. There is really no way to unlearn things that have been imprinted in us. You might be able to forget some facts but there are certain things that will stick no matter what and you need to make a mental effort to put yourself in the shoes of someone that doesn’t know these things. You are probably not aware of many of these no matter how understanding you believe you are.

I grew up in a place where your knowledge automatically had some boundaries because of the homogenous nature of the population, scarcity of other living creatures, and the isolation of the country. Pretty much everyone was white and Lutheran. Farm animals types you could count on your fingers, there were approx 6 wild animals and only approx. 85 regular bird species. The occasional appearances of samples outside of that range were exotic and rare. Everyone celebrated Christmas and everyone ate their hot dogs according to the same formula. My world was small and clearly defined. I find that many of the things I learned as a kid are the things that are most difficult to break free of as being the only “right” thing. I am still secretly annoyed that hot dogs in other countries don’t follow the same formula as they do in Iceland…

When I lived in Tulsa I went to a State Fair where they had some animals together with roller coasters and disgusting corn dogs that certainly didn’t abide to my approved way of eating hot dogs. I was walking around some sheep when a guy with what sounded like an Indian accent asked me: Is this a sheep? I was dumbstruck that someone even asked that question. I mumbled yes and ran off to my friends to make fun of that guy that didn’t even know what a sheep was. It took me years to understand that not everyone might grow up with sheep being among the first six animals you are ever exposed to.

islensku_dyrin

I have at least partially learned my lesson now. After having been exposed to people from many cultures I have a much bigger understanding of the diversity of the world we live in. However this knowledge again makes me ignorant. Ignorant towards the lack of this knowledge among other people that have not been exposed to this diversity. I get annoyed and make fun of them for not realizing that their limited world might not be the only “right”. I have even caught myself getting annoyed at people from Iceland that are shocked that hots are not served the same way as there… yeah that is screwed up :) .

It is almost impossible to unlearn something or understand how someone might not know something. We however might get a slightly more peaceful world if we all made an effort to understand why people think a certain way before lashing out at them for their ignorance. We would at least get more peaceful and respectful online forums. Don’t treat ignorance with ignorance!

Before I made the following body suit and t-shirt I had no idea there was an animal called Elk. The fabric I used was a knit called Elk Grove by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Organic Fabrics. Bought at FabricWorm. In Norwegian you use the word elg for a moose and I just assumed it was an alias. For some reason I googled it. Turns out there is a large American animal called elk. I was a bit annoyed as I thought I was making my kids moose clothing. I thought long and hard if I should tell my four year old that this was a different animal. An animal with a Norwegian name (wapiti) I have never even heard. I figured I would just let her believe it was a moose but I am secretly annoyed every time I look at it and am unable to forget the facts here. Maybe I will one day be shocked that someone doesn’t know what an elk is…

In any case, I made a body suit for my little boy in size 80 from Ottobre 01/2012. I modified the opening to be on the side as I did here but this time I got it right. This will be my go to body suit pattern from now on because the fit is nice. I had initially only planned on making the body suit but my little girl wanted a matching t-shirt. How could I say no? The t-shirt is from Ottobre 3/2012. This time the sleeves fit and all was well. I modified the neckline to be round in the front instead of the V-shaped in the pattern. Simple sewing project but I think I have had it with t-shirts and straightforward body suits for now.

We had planned taking photos of the “moose” clothes in the woods but it was too wet. So we went back to the beach where we took the pirate photos and my little monkeys fooled around a bit. Jónatan is now strong enough to be lifted by his sister and she is finding it really fun carrying him around. He really loves his sister and thinks it is really fun when she is playing with him.

We even managed to get one image of the three of us where we are mostly normal so that I can finally update my two year old Facebook photo with both kids. We just needed to pretend we were the powerpuff girls to get this one.

Little man dancing in the sand

Little man dancing in the sand

Finally we are all somewhat normal

Finally we are all somewhat normal

The ones that know me well know that I enjoy sad and dark books. There is something refreshing about reading a story that drills into your soul and makes you weep. I think the beauty is that you can simply close the book and be back to your own life that all of a sudden isn’t all that bad. Some people like jumping into an icy cold ocean, some like diving into a dark and mind-shattering books. I think we all need something that shakes us up once in a while.

All my life I have made stories in my head. This is how I fall asleep. It might be a sign that my stories are boring but it is nice to lull yourself into sleep by escaping somewhere else. I struggle falling asleep when I am too exhausted to make up stories in my head. My nighttime stories are mostly of happy nature but there is a certain dark element that haunts them. Ever since I was a kid I have been convinced that nothing that I imagine can come true…

When I saw the house in the photos below my mind went crazy. The house oozes of sadness and loneliness. I immediately started picturing all the sad stories that could have happened there. That old lady that lived there and that nobody ever saw except when she went out at night and walked around the island with an empty baby stroller. Those two little boys in rags that nobody knew who were but could be seen standing outside the house on a moonlit night. Or the old man that…

In any case I am pretty sure this house has some stories to tell. It is on Skogsøya the same island we took the pirate photos on. It is simply beautiful despite it being so worn and about to fall apart.

I made a dress for my daughter before we left on vacation. A purple dress, which happened to match the flowers surrounding the house perfectly. As nobody is living there I figured we could sneak up to the house and take some photos. The doors on the back where a little bonus we discovered. Beautiful!

The dress is made from the Antalya pattern. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have picked this fabric myself but my little girl’s favorite color these days is purple. Surprisingly there isn’t a large selection of purple fabric but we found Lizzy House, Butterflies, Chasing Butterflies in Grape Fizz at Hawthorne Threads which we could both accept. The white fabric is some old Stoff og Stil cotton I had with tiny little white dots. I love the shape of this dress and it feels quite unique. I however struggled a bit with the pattern. The illustrations don’t seem proportionate to the actual pattern pieces (might be size dependent) and the description for the opening on the back wasn’t quite clear to me. Otherwise it was a rather straightforward pattern.

Better check the other door as well

Better check the other door as well

What do you do when life is a bit hard and it is vacation time? You head off to an almost deserted island and play pirates!

We decided it wouldn’t be worth it to pay for an expensive trip anywhere this summer. We needed to go somewhere where we would be forced to relax and not be able to do things all the time. North of Norway was the obvious choice since my fiancés family has a house there on an island called Skogsøya. Already on the first day I could feel some of the tension I have been feeling leave my body. There is something freeing about being disconnected from stores, restaurants, museums, and amusement parks. Instead you have flowers, mountains, walking paths, red beautiful boat houses, worn houses and beautiful beaches with breathtaking views (unfortunately with very cold water). There is plentiful of #30perfectdays opportunities and so far I feel like that project of mine is really helping me see the positive in life despite there still being plenty of difficulties.

Going to a remote island might not be quite as exciting to an active four year old as it is for two tired grown-ups so I have been trying to spice it up a bit for her. We drew some pictures for a little bucket list book we are gonna fill with photos afterward of things we are planning to do. One of the items I strategically placed there was playing pirates. Technically more for me than her but who cares. Before vacation I made a pirate t-shirt for my little boy and my little girl wanted one as well. I got the idea to make them bandanas based on the pattern of the fabric and do a little photo shoot with them. There is one certainty when it comes to kids. You cannot plan a thing, you just have to go along as it happens and make the best of it for everyone.

So we took the boat a short trip to a white beach and took some photos and played pirates. I might not have gotten perfectly styled pirate photos but we had fun and the four year old really wants to do it again.

The two t-shirt pattern I used were from Ottobre. Unfortunately both patterns I used were flawed. The sleeves didn’t fit the armholes so I had to cut off a bit of the sides making both t-shirts a bit too tight. The patterns I used were Young Designers from 03/2011 and Frogs Egga from 03/2011. The latter one was ridiculously long as well so I don’t really recommend any of these patterns. I have now tried three patterns from Ottobre that has a problem with the sleeves and this has started making me a bit annoyed (and wonder if there is some important detail I am missing). The fabric was from Uglemor and it was a real pity the patterns were flawed because it is a really lovely fabric. The bandana fabric was some old Stoff og Stil fabric I had in my stash. Most likely some kind of rayon.

One scary pirate and one eating his socks... Then there is this stowaway....

One scary pirate and one eating his socks… Then there is this stowaway….

Knife to my head? I will keep chewing on my sock

Knife to my head? I will keep chewing on my sock

That eye patch is annoying

That eye patch is annoying

To hell with this bandana!!

To hell with this bandana!!

Pirates, be scary!

Pirates, be scary!

Then the big pirate went off and changed her outfit

Then the big pirate went off and changed her outfit

And went looking for star fish

And went looking for star fish

Pirates need to eat

Pirates need to eat

Oh no, they are coming, lets hide the treasure

Oh no, they are coming, lets hide the treasure

Let's fool them! Lets make a mark and make them think we buried the treasure here

Let’s fool them! Lets make a mark and make them think we buried the treasure here

In the mean time this little pirate just hung out and ate… sand…

Eating sands makes pirates tough?

Eating sands makes pirates tough?

What do you do when life is hard, hectic and kind of sucks? You give yourself a little challenge!

While I normally don’t let people’s idealistic photos on social media and blogs fool me into thinking their life is perfect I have fallen into that trap a lot lately. I feel like I have done nothing but struggling for a long time now. First it was a miserable pregnancy that left me on crutches. Then there was colic and while the worst passed it never quite ended. Our little boy seemed to be in pain and had problems sleeping. It took us a long time to figure out but we are now pretty sure it is silent reflux. Now we just need to find the right medicine and hopefully this intense uphill walk is over.

All of this has left me in an eternal state of feeling like I get nothing done ever. I feel like a wreck from not sleeping and I am quite exhausted from carrying around a cranky 10 kg baby day and night. If I actually have the time to do something I am usually too exhausted to be efficient and that frustrates me.

The trap I fell into was subscribing to few blogs and specifically blogs where the bloggers had kids around the same time as I do. While these have perfect make-up, post numerous blog posts a day, participate in TV shows and go to parties and events I pretty much sit at home in my pyjamas trying to get my baby to sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. My make-up is drying up in its containers and complete strangers feel the need to point out that I look really tired at times when I actually get out of the house. I am a pitiful mess and right now my only ambition is just to make sure I am not wearing my clothes inside out when I leave the house…

I try to remind myself that these bloggers are just posting the highlights of their life. The problem is that I cannot stop myself from analyzing and digging. Even it if is just glimpses of their life they do manage quite a lot. Not only do they need to do all the things they are posting (or stage them) but they need to prepare, edit photos, write about it etc.

It becomes especially frustrating considering the fact that one of them is a single mom with two kids. Then there is the American lady with five kids thereof one infant. She is homeschooling them, writes great blog posts and sews beautiful clothes for her kids. All of this makes me feel like a complete failure not getting anything done. I have yet to find a high profile blogger with a colic kid that I could relate to. For some reason these kids seem immune.

All of this has started digging a serious hole into my self-esteem. My self-esteem that is heavily dependent on me watering it with “getting things done”. I should of course count taking care of my kids as one of those things but that is extremely difficult to quantify.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of just focusing on the difficult things and overlook lots of nice moments. Moments that would make my life look a bit more exciting on Facebook and Instagram. So the challenge I am giving myself is to flood my social media feeds with those nice moments for 30 days. When there is a moment that makes me smile, when I get something done, when I do something nice. Basically something that makes me happy even if only for a brief moment. This will hopefully inspire me to do more nice things and realize that I have lots of things to be happy about. Maybe I can even fool someone that my life is a bit more glamorous that it actually is?

I will be posting this experiment on Instagram/Facebook under the hashtag #30perfectdays. I will be keeping it as real as possible. Don’t expect me to start posting selfies in expensive designer clothes or attending parties. It will be normal life and probably a heavy dose of my two kids. Anyone want to join me as an inspiration to catch the magic of this summer?

Here is the first moment that made my heart melt. Just look at these two sweethearts holding hands on the way to Kindergarten. My little girl is carrying flower for a party they are having today. We took a walk through the forest yesterday to pick them. Another moment worth remembering!

I remember us having a tiny little apple tree when I was growing up. It was no more than few centimeters and I can’t remember that it ever growing any bigger. It had been planted underneath our red currant bush that wasn’t particularly big either. This is the thing about Iceland, trees (and plants in general) don’t grow that easily and very slowly if they grow at all. I think it must have been one of my older sisters that planted that apple tree. It was planted under the red currant bush to be protected from the harsh weather. The bush was partially surrounded by our rhubarb patch as well which gave it additional protection. It took me thirty something years to finally realize that its placement was kind of odd. What would have happened had it actually grown? Would we have cut down red currant bush? It is a bit sacrilegious to cut down bushes and trees in Iceland since it takes so long to grow them so I am pretty sure this would have become a dilemma. I guess everyone must have just assumed that it would never survive. I have to ask them about this one day :) .

It was the craziness of my garden that got me thinking about this little apple tree I had had forgotten. Having a garden in Norway is something completely different from having a garden in Iceland. Here you must trim trees and bushes and weed constantly. I think I ripped up three red currant bushes that had spread themselves during my last weeding round. It is a bit difficult to get used when you come from a place like Iceland but I am becoming more brutal every day.

We don’t have a apple tree in our garden but our neighbour has one. It is absolutely beautiful every spring when it blossoms and reminds me of my childhood dreams of having fruit trees. I am fine with it being my neighbours as I have grown allergic to apples in my older years but I am tempted to plant my own and see how fast it grows.

It is finally summer time and I have been in dress making mood. I feel like I must make them before my little girl grows too old for cute little dresses. This is the first one out of the Hanami dress by Straight Grain. I really like the fit of this dress and I think it is really cute with its flutter sleeves and a low waste. Size 5T fit perfectly and it was nice to get a pattern with European measurements for a change. The pattern instructions were straightforward with the exception of the zipper placement instructions being a bit confusing (or at least to me). The fabric I bought long time ago and was the part of the first fabric line I completely fell in love with and HAD TO HAVE. It is the Fiji from the Happy Mochi Yum Yum line by Monica Solorio. I made this dress from the same line couple of years ago. I lined the sleeves with grey cotton from Stoff og Stil, added piping to the waist to get some contrast and made a little bow. I am quite happy with the result but then again I love anything yellow!

Hanami is according to Wikipedia the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of (cherry blossom) flowers. It felt fitting to “steal” the neighbours apple tree that was in bloom for a little photo session.

Now lets dance

Now lets dance

Breastfeeding in Norway is dictated by something that reminds you of the North Korean regime. You better believe in it, try your best to adhere to it, and never speak negatively about it. At least not amongst people you don’t trust. If you fail you better weep and show your sorrow. The punishment for not following these rules is thankfully not quite as harsh as in North Korea but there are a lot of true believers here that will frown upon you if you don’t.

You are simply expected to breastfeed here and this is carefully imprinted in you during your pregnancy with midwife sessions, brochures and posters. Breast is best is a popular slogan used and there is even a propaganda film with that name.

There is a whole army of nurses at the hospital that make sure you try your best right after your baby is born. You immediately get interrogated if you intend to breastfeed and while you might think that a yes is enough to get them to leave you alone you are wrong, they will keep pushing and nagging as long as you are there. Your hospital journal carefully documents if you are trying to breastfeed or not. Sadly there seems to be more focus on documenting your breastfeeding attempts than your birth. The nagging is so intense that I actually found myself wanting to stop breastfeeding just to annoy them.

Breastfeeding is expected to come above all your needs. While I was at the hospital after my boy’s birth I rang the bell to get some help to go to the bathroom. I had some issues with low blood pressure before and after my caesarean and didn’t want to risk fainting while getting my baby back to his crib. The lady came and the first thing she asked why I wasn’t breastfeeding as my little one was crying a little. I said I had just done that and needed to go to the bathroom. She ignored my request for help and just grabbed my boob and stuck it in my kids mouth and swiftly left the room.

This really sums it up though. Forget about your own needs and just focus on breastfeeding. Older kids better be able to feed and fend for themselves as none of the advices you get take into consideration that you need to take care of them as well. Looking at the website Ammehjelpen which is a voluntary support organization for breastfeeding the advice for a baby that is dissatisfied is just to let the baby breastfeed all the time. This might be possible with your first child but with the second one it isn’t quite doable.

Women that can’t or don’t want to breastfeed will always give a little speech how sad they are and how hard they tried. I don’t doubt that many of them are sad because of all the pressure to breastfeed but I am willing to bet an arm that there are quite a few that just give that speech to get rid of the judgment. You are expected to grief just like in North-Korea.

There is plenty of judgment if you don’t breastfeed. The propaganda has resulted in lots and lots of true believers that try to preach and belittle people that struggle or don’t want to do it at all. Search anywhere online for someone asking for advice that their baby wants to eat all the time and you will find a lot of harsh critics that tell them it is normal and that they are selfish for wanting to give them formula or baby cereal. Women that struggle producing enough milk get thrown in their face that everyone can produce enough if they just try hard enough. In general, you are flogged publically if you dare to question the true belief.

The queen bee of it all is Gro Nylander. The oracle on breastfeeding that has strong opinions and know-it-all attitude. She is the one the media goes to for all articles written on breastfeeding. In a recent article about decline in breastfeeding she went as far as saying it will take lives. She was referring to increase in breast cancer for women that do not breast feed but I feel like she could have presented that as a benefit and not as a threat.

I also believe women should be met with understanding when things are hard and not just “try harder” and “it is intended to hurt” attitude. Searching on the Ammehjelpen website you will find the following phrase as assistance for painful letdown:

If you feel the pain is insufferable then just remember that pain from milk letdown is not dangerous and will go away eventually.

Just what you want to hear when you feel like someone is dragging barbed wire through your milk ducts!

Let it be noted that I have breastfeed both my children and am still doing so with my baby. I do it because I can and it seems like a natural way. While the benefits of breastfeeding have been debated there is still no evidence that it is not good for your baby (as long as your baby doesn’t have allergies). Let it be noted that I felt like I had to write this to avoid public flogging and this is exactly what I strongly despise. Being bullied into breastfeeding. I would rather be presented with more research and a more human-friendly attitude. You shouldn’t be made feel like a criminal for supplementing with formula when needed or dropping breastfeeding if you choose to do so. Our lives, needs, and bodies are all different and what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for others and we should all keep that in mind. I really don’t think people should be bullied into breastfeeding!

Another religion in Norway is wool (more on that some other day) and it is recommended that you use breast feeding pads out of wool as it doesn’t get as cold when wet as other fabrics. They might keep you warm when you leak but they don’t soak up the milk so you end up with embarrassing stains on your clothes. They are also quite expensive ranging from 11 t0 20 euros for a pair. I found a cheaper solution to both the cost and leaking problem and thought I would share a little tutorial.

What you need is some scraps of wool (I used merino wool from Janus). Thread, paper, scissors, something to measure and something to draw a circle unless you feel like free-handing it. I used an overlock machine but you can of course just use your regular machine.

Get your commercial breastfeeding pads of choice and find something circular that is slightly larger then them. I used an Ikea plastic bowl for my Natusan pads. You need approx 2 cm extra on the edge (1 cm for seam allowance and 1 cm padding so it is easy to insert the breastfeeding pad).

Draw two circles on paper and cut them out.

Fold one of the pieces in half and measure 2 cm from the middle.

Draw a line and cut the piece. Throw away the smaller piece as you will only be using the larger one.

Cut four pieces of the half circle piece. I recommend cutting it on the grain as it is easier to overlock it this way.

Then cut two large circles as well.

Overlock the straight edges of the smaller pieces.

Now pin the smaller pieces on top of the circles having one of the smaller pieces overlap the other one.

Overlock around the edges and fasten threads.

Now the commercial pads can be inserted into the wool pad and you have the best of both worlds. As the Natusan pads are form shaped these tend to sit in place much better than store bought wool pads.

Would love to hear if anyone tries this :) !

I just realized why I don’t live in Iceland. I really, really hate having my hair all over the place tickling my nose and blocking my vision. I am amazed that some people have long hair there. It is not the only problem either. There are times when you need to walk next to your stroller to make sure that it doesn’t blow away. I immediately started designing a sideways handle for my stroller when I struggled keeping it on the road. Pity Iceland is such a small market or I would be on my way to be a billionaire…

Then there is sand that you find everywhere. Despite my little one having a hat and being inside a rain-cover in his stroller he still managed to get sand in his ear. Wind, wind, wind is what I warn everyone about in Iceland and yet I had managed to forget how annoying it is. At least I got to sit in the car and snicker at some poor tourist that was cycling in the wind because that is what we Icelanders do. Laugh at the poor people that think a biking trip in Iceland is a good idea.

You can’t see from the photo that it was windy but let me tell you that the car was shaking at times.

We just spent two weeks in Iceland visiting my family and playing tourists for few days in Reykjavik. Quite hetic with a little 5 month old that still seems to have some colic tendencies and an active 4 year old. There wasn’t much relaxation but we got to meet some nice people there and spend some time in warm outdoor pools.

It has been an unusually cold spring in Iceland. Thankfully I had made my daughter some new wool pants before we left. She isn’t really a fan of pants. Actually she seems to hate them and getting her dressed into something warm during winter time is often a real struggle. She would wear a summer dress all the time if she was allowed. As I am stubborn as well and refuse to give in, I have started a new project trying to find patterns and types of clothes which she can tolerate and that have anti-meltdown properties. This is the first one out and it seems to have been a success.

It is a Ottobre pattern from Ottobre 6/2010.
The fabric is wool terry cloth from Janus and I used Merino wool in the same color for ribbing. I made tiny little embellishment with a button and a ribbon and I think the combination of that and the fact that they are soft and loose were a success. It is possible to adjust the length a bit without being too thick or clumpy and it was easy to wear extra pair of stockings under on a particularly cold day. There is nothing spectacular about those pants hence they needed the giant glass bowl monument to spice up the photo shoot. That upside down glass bowl on top of giant hot water storage tanks is Perlan in Iceland.

Unfortunately she managed to fall so there is a hole on them already. She wears her clothes out pretty quickly these days but I think I might be able to repair that.

Here is my little Viking wearing her pants!

In front of Perlan

In front of Perlan

Playing out some imaginary scene

Playing out some imaginary scene

Silja and Leifur Eiríksson

Silja and Leifur Eiríksson

Decoration

Decoration

For more photos from Iceland, visit my Instagram feed.

Alternative drugs

Ironically the word for fabric in Norwegian (stoff) is the same word you use for drugs. It quickly becomes just that after you start sewing. You become severely addicted and you want more more more!

There are many similarities between fabric addiction and drug addiction. You tend to downplay the amounts you are buying and there are times when you just have to have some NOW! I have yet to start trying to sneak them into the house without my fiancé knowing but my gut feeling tells me this might happen eventually. The reason being that you tend to hoard fabrics. This might be the biggest difference between those two addictions or I at least doubt that drug addicts are able to hoard drugs.

Hoarding is in my genes. I have some serious hoarding issues that I try to fight every day. I collected numerous things when I was younger and while I am no longer an active collector I still have serious issues trying to limit the amounts of stuff I keep and bring home. Another problem I have is that I tend to save things forever. I don’t know how many times I have kept some treasured food item for so long that I have had to throw it away. I want to do the same with my precious fabrics, I want to treasure them forever and make sure I use them for the perfect thing. One might think fabric never go out of date but they actually do if you buy fabric for your children.

This particular fabric was something that I just HAD to get and no matter how hard I tried to forget about it I kept going back to the online store to check if it was close to being sold out. It is an GOTS organic jersey by Andrea Lauren. Eventually I just caved in and bought some. I really wanted to make the perfect thing out of it. I just think it is incredibly stylish fabric with the pattern on the bears. I am generally not a big fan of fabric with animals on them for anything other than pyjamas but this one felt destined for something more. I forced myself to use it now but did a trial run to make sure I didn’t waste it on a failure.

This time I used the body suit pattern from Ottobre 01/2012 but changed the opening to be on the shoulder instead of on the front. The fit of that pattern is quite good on my little guy or actually the best I have found so far. I made the “brun bukse” pattern from Heilt Spesiell og Jubel with a slightly wider rib around the waist than on the previous attempt. I freehanded the pattern on the pocket to “match” the bear pattern. I was even brave enough to attempt doing some contrast color of the thread on the binding. The fabric for the pants is jeans jersey from Olivias. The bear fabric is from there as well.

Back pocket

Back pocket

Contrast color on binding

Contrast color on binding

Pocket

Pocket

I am off

I am off

Haha I just messed up your background!

Haha I just messed up your background!

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