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Bags

I have been on a roll lately, making bags.

I was inspired by a super easy tutorial on Pink Penguin’s blog, and suddenly I had made seven small bags. Six of them can be seen below, – I lengthened the handles a bit, and changed the shape of the bottom compared to the original.

Four of them have been sold or given away already.

 

Then I wanted to try computer printing on linen, and made a couple of designs  that fitted on a large sheet. The result can be seen below. I like longer handles so I can carry the bag on my shoulder, even if the bag itself is not very large. The black fabric is furniture suede, the others are linen and cotton.

The Norwegian text says: “If only the best bird were allowed to sing, the woods will become very quiet”, and: “Sing with the beak you have got”

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

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The Yakut Wedding

As I said in my two previous posts here and here, there was a lot going on on the day of the Quilted Field.

One of the posts on the entertainment program, was a demonstration of Yakut wedding customs, especially on how to dress the bride.

 

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It all started with a small procession of the participants entering the field and the stage. First came the groom..

…then various family members and a shaman (…I think..).

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One person was at the microphone explaining what was happening, but only in Russian. We could guess quite a lot from what we saw happening on stage, but we probably missed out on a lot of interesting details.

The bride came on stage already with the pink dress on, but there was a lot more to be added, both clothes, jewellery, belt, handbag, hat and mittens, – all of this in beautifully made traditional style clothing.

Everything was done with slow, ceremonial movements while some haunting songs, reminiscent of sami joik, but not quite, were played in the background, occasionally interrupted by the storyteller explaining something.

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When the bride was ready, the groom came and led her to the other side of the stage, both holding on to opposite ends of what looked like a big tassel.

Afterwards there was some kind of ceremony, and then some serious gift giving, – everything in slow motion:

 

In the end they danced some sort of line dance, – again with very slow motions and sombre faces, – very dignified. No hoopla or laughter.

 

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No wedding is without food and drink, of course, and they had brought some of their traditional foods and drink on to the stage. After the ceremony and dancing, they came around and offered the audience tastes of both food and drink, served in carved wooden vessels.

The food was waffles and some small pancakes, – very good, – and the drink was white and had a sour-ish taste. After reading up on Yakut wedding traditions on the web, we think that it must have been fermented mare’s milk. Nobody got sick or died as far as we know,  😉 even though everyone drank from the same cup.

This also gave us a chance of a closer glimpse of their wonderful attire, – all beautifully made with lots of details to admire. I should have liked to examine them all more closely and in person, but the photos will have to do. There was a lot of fur, as would be expected on traditional clothing from the coldest place on earth, but there was also woolen fabric and what looked like silk brocade on some of the coats. There was also lots of silver jewellery, some of which reminded me of the designs from Juhl’s Silver Gallery in Kautokeino, who has got their inspiration from the tundra and the people living there.

Yakutia, or the Sakha republic as it is also called, is the largest republic in Russia, and is almost as far east and north as you can come in that country. This group had travelled 8-9 hours by plane to get to the festival, – all inland, which is telling of just how large this country is.

——-

The organizers had better cameras than mine, so the photos on their website have some more close ups and details from this event.

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Here is a Youtube video of a Dressing-the-bride ceremony at a big event in 2012.

(It stops rather abruptly, before they are quite finished, I think.)

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In my next post, we will take a closer look at some of their quilts.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

Lagre

Ukrainian Folk Costumes II

We have just celebrated the 200 year anniversary of our Constitution on 17th May, and as usual on the National Day, everybody who own a national costume, wore it to the festivities.

While I was enjoying myself looking at different dresses with a myriad of interesting details, I was reminded of the rest of the photos of the Ukrainian costumes that have been sitting in my computer for some time, waiting to make their way into this post.

Well, here they are at last.

The first one here is a costume from the  Transcarpathian flatlands. We are still in the era of the sewing machine, as can be seen on the vest. It has colourful ruffles made from a very thin fabric, which have frayed a bit over time. The shirt has fantastic smocking and embroideries on the cuffs. The photo of the skirt is sadly out of focus, but shows the multiple colours of the ruffle border.

I have been studying the belt, but cannot quite decide on the construction technique. I have been wondering if it might be made in the old braiding technique called “sprang”, but I am not sure. Maybe someone reading this will know. As I wrote in the first post, there was no information on the individual costumes other than the region they came from.

The costume above comes from the Lemko area. Again, the amount of detailed work is amazing. I like the dense embroidery of the head dress, which is also repeated on the cuffs, and I love the large pearl collar, – and not just because quilters are partial to hexagons.

When studying the embroidery on the skirt, you will notice that each motif is perfectly aligned with the pressed folds of the skirt.

I wonder how many pearls would be used for a dress like this.

Then we move on to Bukovyna, and here they had costumes for both men and women on display. The one above is for males, and it looks like they were not averse to wearing flowery decorations embroidered in many colours, – including hot pink.

The detailed work done on leather is impressive, and I love the woven belt. Also, I was surprised to see that the bottom of the trousers has a border of drawn thread embroidery. They show very little wear, so these trousers  must have been for very best use.

Above is the female costume, which, as a whole, appears less colourful than the male counterpart. The most impressive parts are the sleeves, which look unusually long, by the way, – and all covered in embroidery in three very different patterns. The edging on the vest with alternating dark and light fur, must have taken quite some time to accomplish. The belt has a similar pattern and colours as in the male costume, but seems to be narrower.

 

Now, this one from the Pokuttia region has everything: embroidery, fringes, pearls, handmade cords, – you name it, – and then some detailed leather work to blow your mind.

First, I love the head dress with the colourful borders. To wrap it around the head and make it sit correctly must be an art in itself. The shirt sleeves are also heavily embroidered.

But the most impressive part is the vest. I have no knowledge of leather work, so can only guess at how these things are done, but even to an untrained eye, there is no denying that a lot of work has gone into this piece. Just look at all those small pom-poms, – they look like they are felted. Anyway, each and every one of them have been fastened, – probably sewn, – to the leather along with an accompanying dark triangular leather piece.

The narrow checkered borders on both sides of the the front looks like narrow dark leather bands have been woven into slits in the light leather background. Then there is some cross stitch embroidery, and red and yellow twisted cords are couched on both sides.

The alternating pieces of dark and light fur on the edges of the vest, are even narrower than on the vest we looked at above, and there are also lots of small triangular leather pieces, looking like praerie points, on top of the fur pieces.

 

This women’s dress from the Hutsulian area is also rich in details, and colours.

The head dress is interesting, consisting largely of pearls, – but I wondered about the tinsel. I guess it must have been highly valued at some point to be displayed so prominently.

I love the pattern in the pearl necklace, – although there are repeats, it appears quite irregular.

The upper part of the shirt sleeves has a very dense, colourful embroidery.

The vest has similar decoration details as the one above, but they are arranged a bit differently. Lots of couched cords, and the edges of the dark triangular pieces are also couched in dark thread, – so much so the leather almost disappears. Lots of eyelets are also used as pure decoration. It also has a colourful embroidered border at the bottom, in style with the shirt embroidery.

Here it is obvious that the base leather is sheepskin, which I also suspect is the case of the vests in the photos further above.

In addition to a woven belt, there is also a woven band adorned with pom-poms wrapped across one shoulder, reminiscent of a ceremonial sash, some times used at weddings. Now, if this is a wedding outfit, maybe that would explain the tinsel, – just guessing here.

 

The corresponding men’s costume from the Hutsulian area is even more adorned than its female counterpart, minus the pearls.

The shirt front is richly embroidered in many colours and patterns, including numbers which indicate it was made in 1961.  The woven belt is quite wide and has stronger colours in it than the one on the women’s dress, – maybe it is newer and less faded.

The vest has similar decor elements and placement as the one above, minus the embroidered border at the bottom. This one has larger, dark triangles, and they are adorned with lots of eyelets and have their edges couched with green cord. The checkerboard strips are wider and have three bands woven into them.

The footwear is also similar between the two costumes.

This is a woolen cape from the same area as above. It has some embroidered decor around the neck, down the back, and along the seams.

The tip protruding at the back looks like it could be a hood, but  I have not been able to detect an opening for the head. It is a mystery to me why it looks like this, unless it is meant to cover a load carried on the back.

The last two costumes that were on display, are from the Podillia area. The men’s costume has a long shirt, with a wide embroidered border around the opening at the front. Stitches around this opening also serve as a strengthening of the fabric, which can easliy tear at the bottom of the split.

The decorative leather work on the west is more similar to the ones from the Bukovyna area than to the two shown directly above. This also goes for the belt, which seems to be woven in a jacquard technique.

The most prominent feature of the women’s costume from Podillia, is the strong decor on the sleeves. With two heavy, black and red pieces at the top, – not sure whether they are embroidered or sewn in fabrics, – and a wide, black zig zag ribbon sewn in a spiraling pattern around the sleeves, they sort of define the whole costume. The red colour is also repeated in a many stranded pearl necklace.

The vest is decorated in similar technique as the one above.

——————

Seeing this exhibition, and then studying the individual photos afterwards, has been like a journey, – very interesting. People everywhere like to dress up, and being well dressed is always a way to show off either wealth or status.

A lot of these costumes has been very time consuming in making, showing that these people had time on their hands, and material, to spend on other things than just scraping a living.

—————–

The first post about the exhibition can be seen here.

 

🙂

Eldrid

Ukranian Folk Costumes

During the recent Olympic Games in Sochi, quilters everywhere admired the Games’ patchwork theme, which I wrote about back in May 2011.

The fact that the patchwork bits were inspired by different traditional crafts, including embroidery,  reminded me of some photos I took not very long ago, and which I intended to show you here.

The museum at Maihaugen, Lillehammer cooperated with the Museum of Folk Architecture and Customs of Lviv, Ukraine,  to show part of their collection of Ukrainian folk costumes at Lillehammer last summer.  We travelled through the area at that time, so we planned a stop at Lillehammer to visit the exhibition.

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I have spent some time during the last week or so, sorting through the photos I took there. Meanwhile, the political situation in Ukraine has escalated, and is still unresolved and threatening as I write this.

Amidst all the turmoil, maybe it is fitting in this situation to also have a look at the beauty that has been created in this region. One term that comes to mind after studying these dresses is: “Flower Power” 🙂

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As the small poster accompanying the exhibition tells us, the costumes are from late 19th century and first half of 20th century, during which time the sewing machine came into use. The poster explains how the shape of the costumes changed after the introduction of the sewing machine. (Click on the photo to enlarge).

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At the exhibition, the costumes were divided into two groups: before and after the introduction of sewing machines. The latter group, above, has costumes with sewn waists, while the group below has the older long shirts with woven belts.

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Here I will post some photos of the youngest costumes, and will have to make a new post with the older ones later.

(Click on the small photos above to see the full version of the photos.)

Like we do with quilts, I find it interesting to study how things were done, and to sometimes wonder why. The joyful red colour of the embroidery above (which seems to have been colourfast, by the way) is very prominent on the white background, and would certainly stand out in a crowd. The shirt is very well made with lots of detail and even stitches, and the edges of both the collar and the cuffs are beautifully finished off with embroidery stitches. From a distance the waistcoat is the most eye-catching piece, with the larger flower embroideries.

However, when looking closely, one can see that there is a difference in workmanship between the shirt and the waistcoat, and also in the waistcoat itself, namely between the embroidery and the general construction, including the machine stitching. It looks as if more than one person has been involved in the making, or perhaps some older item with embroideries still intact, has been remade into a waistcoat. Lots of questions pop up when you start looking closely.  The buttonholes, for example, puzzled me especially, – why buttonholes (and not very well made at that) and no buttons? At least the maker took care to cut them in between the flowers so as not to ruin, or unravel, any embroidery stitches.

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The “make-do”- phenomenon, which we often see in quilting, is also present here. The maker seems to have run out of the flowery ribbon and had to use some yellowish ribbon instead on top of the left front piece (to the right on the photos). It goes both vertically and horizontally at the top, but in the corresponding horizontal space on the other front piece, there is no ribbon at all. Again the question pops up: why?

The skirt raises similar questions. It  looks like hand embroidery, but the border patterns do not fit at the seams, at least not all of them. Why go to all that work and not have the pattern fit?

But let me assure you: none of these questions entered my head while walking through the exhibition. At the time I was just impressed with the gorgeousness of it all, and had no time to contemplate the details. It is when I look at the photos afterwards that I start noticing things.  So, any young or older woman wearing this costume, would just look beautiful, I think.

Below are more costumes, and similar questions could be asked about a few of them. There is always something to wonder about when you are curious, but I will try to not repeat myself too much.

This one was quite restricted colour-wise, – only “a few” coloured flowers and leaves on the vest, –  but the blackwork on the shirt is to die for. You can also see that the machine stitching in black is very well done. The distance between the two parallel seams is so even that one might suspect a twin needle has been used.

There was no written information about the individual costumes beyond the general information on the poster at the top, except for the name of the region the costume came from. The two above, and the next two below are all from the Lviv Region.

The costumes were behind ropes, and the lighting was a bit varied. I had to zoom in on some details where I could not reach close enough with the camera, so not all my photos came out great. I could only use the flash sparingly, so on some of the darker costumes, the details do not show up very well, or they are a bit out of focus. Still, I chose to post some of the lesser photos anyway.

Here the flowers are blooming in a riot of colours. The shirt has lots of flowers arranged in orderly borders. It is interesting to observe the arrangement of the decorative elements on the shoulder pieces. Also, I love the creative use of colours in the embroidery on the vest.

This costume strikes me as a celebration of earthly gifts: golden wheat fields with poppies in them, and an abundance of grapes. And then the flowers on the apron. The amount of work to make a dress like this is awe-inspiring.

The pattern of the necklace could be an inspiration to any quilter.

This costume is from the Polissya region. The flowers have been left behind, except for the cuffs. Also notice that the embroidered pattern on the collar is widely different from the one on the cuffs, – and then the shoulders and sleeves have yet another pattern, which is a bit similar to the woven pattern on the skirt.

I found this costume especially interesting as it was the only one with sewing that resembled quilting on the waistcoat, – or maybe the term machine embroidery could be used.

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Also, we can deduce that at one point the owner must have put on weight, or the dress has been passed on to a new owner and needed to be fitted.  As you can see, some of the buttons have been moved.  The old positions are still visible for the two buttons at the bottom. With the buttons in the old positions, the quilted leaves forming a zig-zag pattern, would have fitted nicely at the front, so this was well planned from the beginning.

When looking closely, you may also notice that the red fabric in the waist border is a twill fabric, while both the red and black fabrics above are satin weave.  The two red colours are so similar that the difference is not noticeable, except when looking very closely.  With so many different elements coming together, one could almost call this a patchwork project 🙂

The last costume for now comes from the Boiko area, and is almost solemn compared to the riot of colours displayed on most of the previous ones. As with the  rest of the costumes, the shirt does not lack decor, particularly on the shoulder pieces. I also love the smocking on top of the sleeves.

This was it for now.

I will start sorting through the rest of the photos, and eventually write another post showing you the older costumes.

🙂

Eldrid

Craft and Design Fair in Reykjavik

Iceland is famous for having many excellent designers, and I was hoping to look up as many as I could find during our stay. Then, a few days before we left home, an Icelandic Facebook friend who runs Islenska Butasaumssidan posted about the event “Handverk og Hönnun” (craft and design) which were to take place in Reykjavik.

It was to open in the Town Hall a couple of days before we were due home.

Now, how lucky is that!

Instead of racing all over town and country to see designers’ products, they would all be gathered in one spot, – or many of them would be, in any case. A date was immediately fixed on our schedule.

The Town Hall is situated on the edge of the city pond, and halfway into it.

We chose to arrive there on Friday morning, on the second day, avoiding the crowds on the opening day. The welcome banners were flying outside the entrance, so it was easy to find the way.

We were not the first to arrive, though, – far from it.

After scanning the area from above, we descended on the show floor and started the tour from booth to booth.

Almost the first stand we hit upon was this one with the hand bags.

They are made by Helena Sólbrá, and she uses a lot of fish skin for part of, or the whole of, her bags.

She buys the fish skins from someone in the north of Iceland, who prepares skin from many kinds of fish. They are very well done, as the fish smell is totally absent, – they smell only of ordinary leather. Some are also dyed.

I had been hoping to find something like this, and since I had some birthday money to spend, one of these beauties came home with me.

Next we stopped at Thorunn Simónadottir from Gallery hjá Totu. It is a mother and daughter company where they make many things textile, including quilts, according to their home page.

At the fair, they were mostly showing their beautiful hats.

Thorunn showed us the branch from a tree which they had to cut down recently on their farm. She brought the branch, which had big yellow-green buds on it, to hang the yellowish hats on, – it was a lovely sight. Sadly, the colours do not show up very well in the photos I took.

Trees are not abundant in Iceland, so felling a big one is not an easy decision to make, but this one had to go, as its roots were ruining their underground pipes, she informed us.

Then the booth of Gudrún Bjarnadóttir of Hespa caught my eye.

She had a table full of hand dyed Lopi yarn, dyed only with natural colours.

She also had knitted items for sale.

I could not pass on this, so a few skeins of beautiful Lopi went into my bag, – they were dyed twice with cochenille and indigo.

The next booth, Amanda & Svava Rvk, made me almost sorry that none of us are expecting, as they had the cutest baby boots made of, – you probably guessed it already: – fish skin.

Hugrún Ívarsdóttir had beautiful table runners and aprons for sale. They are made from her own design, inspired by the patterns on the traditional Icelandic bread “Laufabraud” (leafbread), and on the traditional Norwegian “krumkaker”.

She has studied design in Denmark, has relations in Oslo and speaks beautifully Norwegian, and she has her textile designs woven in Finland.  A truly Nordic experience.

I always make “krumkaker” for Christmas, and next Christmas we will have a table runner with krumkake-design on our table. 🙂

On her website you can see more of her designs.

The shoes above are the design and make of Halldora Eydis Jonsdottir. In addition to raw materials like leather from lamb and horse, she also uses fish skin….

… horse hair..

… and unique lava crystals taken from 200 meters underground of the Lake Myvatn area.

An amazing collection of shoes.

Fish skin seemed to be the really big thing at this fair, – or maybe it was just me noticing it.

Here it is used for brooches and other decor at the Volcanic-Iceland booth.

The variety of products was large. I had to stop and admire these beautiful knives made by Stefan Haukur Erlingsson.

They were beautiful.

There were also booths which showed different kinds of clothes, ceramics, and jewellery of almost every imaginable kind.

Last, I am showing some jewellery from Mariacarmen:

Would you have guessed that the roses are made from lemon rind?

After walking the floor for some time, it felt good to sit down in the nearby cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee while gazing out of the large windows ….

… which gave a splendid view of the life on the pond.

I wish we could have spent more time there, but we were on to other things in the afternoon.

However, on this page there is a list of all the booth holders, and you can click on their names for a description, contact information, and websites. I have enjoyed re-visiting a lot of them after I got home.

🙂 Eldrid

A Weekend of Inspiration

Last weekend was the Annual General Meeting of the Norwegian Quilt Association (Norsk Quilteforbund). It is a few years since the last time I had the opportunity to attend, so I was happy to learn that this years meeting was to be held in Bergen, which is not so very far, and also the communications to our island are very convenient.

In addition to the AGM itself, there were a lot of classes, talks, forums for discussion, quilt competitions and exhibitions, and of course the ever tempting shops:

Since I had not signed up for any classes, I had plenty of time to let the tempations get to me, – and a few fabrics made their way into my suitcase.

I was also able to spend time to study the quilts at the exhibitions.

Saturday was a bit crowded, but on Sunday there was more space and better opportunities for photographing…..

…. although it was not as empty as it may seem from the two photos above.

The prize winners of the competition themed “Ocean” are presented on NQF’s webpages here. I will not show the same quilts in this post, except a detail from the winning quilt in the traditional class:

I really liked the quilting on Marit Lauve’s storm-at-sea blocks.

Magnhild Tautra had made this interesting piece for the competition.

The log cabin blocks were really small, and I loved the small fish and the fish net.

Kari Østengen had made this one called “Rain and Bad Weather”.

You can almost get soaked looking at this.

Another interesting piece was this one by Greta Husebø called “Arctic Ocean”. I spent a long time here studying the various ways she created texture on the quilt.

She has also made the one below:

Lots of interesting details in this one as well:

I guess that since we were in Bergen, a reminder of the local Oleana design would be in order:

This lovely quilt was made by Edna Marie Nylén.

Last time I was in Bergen, in December, I wrote a blog post showing you this:

I was delighted to find it turned into a quilt, made by Margun Vatshelle:

The manhole covers in the streets of Bergen are called “Bekkalokk”, and that is also the title of the quilt.

I loved it.

I was also happy to see the quilt below at the exhibition:

It is one of a series quilts by Kirsti Hovland where she explores how written signs have evolved from the earliest petroglyphs to the modern day computers. The series is an amazing body of work ,and very well executed.

The quilt below hung in a corner somewhat by itself. If I had been in a hurry, I would probably have overlooked it, as it did not “shout” to me with “loud” colours like some of its neighbours did.

And if I had not stopped, I would have missed seeing the exquisite detailed work that Karin Kristiansen put into this wall hanging.

I cannot imagine how many hours this would have taken.

Grete Lund had a couple of entries in the exhibition, and I fell for this one.

It has a pleasing repetitive pattern, and interesting details for when you go nearer.

I also liked Brit Standnes’ quilt below:

The title is “Ocean in the North”

I liked the tonal fabrics she used at the top…

…. and there were lots of details to explore.

The last two quilts I will be showing you here, were made by Bente Klingsheim.

This one is called “Angel”

“Polar Night” was too big to get a straight shot of because of the narrow aisle.

I’ll compensate by showing a few details instead. The colours are a bit off as my camera did not handle the light conditions in this dark corner very well, and the flash made the quilt look too flat.

I loved the mixture of different fabric qualities, – some matte and some very shiny ones.

The above is just a few examples of all the beautiful quilts that were on show. I really enjoyed walking through several times.

When travelling to an event like this, it is fun to be going in a group, or at least with a friend.

However, I am often surprised at how much fun I have when travelling alone. At almost every corner I tend to meet up with someone I know, or who knows me, and we get talking, often remembering the last time we met.

But the most exciting part is to get to know new people, which is bound to happen during the dinner, if not before. Since I am on my own, and each table seats ten, there is a big chance I will be seated with one or more persons I do not know beforehand. And then we get talking, and discovers we have mutual friends or relations, or have common aquaintances in faraway parts of the world, – that’s when the theory of the six degrees of separation is confirmed once more. And of course we all have one big common interest, which is discussed at length, – and usually I, or someone else, will have some new insight before the evening is out.

So it is not only new fabric that come with me when I pack my suitcase to go home….

… but also a lot of inspiration and good memories.

🙂 Eldrid

A Sunday Trip

…. to this place was a vey nice experience.

This is Hakallegarden,  – a small farm at a 20 minute drive, a ferry ride, and another 60 minute drive, from home.

So, what is special about this farm, which I do not find on the next-door farms at home?

One thing is the variety of animals, – and many of them not penned up, but were ambling back and forth in the yard, mixing with children and grown ups as the most natural thing in the world, – no skittishness at all.

Only the sheep kept their distance, – or maybe they just liked the grass on the other side of the fence….

.. and this one just lazed under a tree, ignoring the fact that a very, very tired “Irene” was doing her level best to drench all and sundry with her showers of rain during the day.

This is also one of very few farms where they raise alpacas, and also sell alpaca wool and yarn for knitting.

The farm is open to the public at weekends, and the children love to come here to ride on horseback or in the tractor wagon, to feed the animals, to cuddle the kittens, and everything else you can do on a small farm.

After theese cuties had had their fill of hay, they walked around the corner, – very slowly, so there was no problem in following them.

Then they disappeared into the lower part of the barn, – and a very special barn it is.

This is almost like a sitting room; – brightly coloured, paintings on the walls, lovely lamp shades, and a bird in a cage on top of the chest of drawers. If animals are the least bit like people, I think they would like it very much in here.

The upstairs part of the barn has been converted to a small shop, with lots of colourful mugs, cups, plates and bowls, and clothes made from alpaca and silk.

There are also tables and chairs so you can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and freshly made “svele” or waffles, hot from the iron. While enjoying the coffee (or tea), you have time to look around and see if there is anything you fancy. I admit to fancying some cups and a mug from Pip Studio, – can’t help it, I’m afraid, – they were too cute to not come home with me.

Outside in the yard there are all kinds of stuff placed along the walls all around. I am still pondering what exactly makes the difference between junk and art, but I am not sure there is an answer.

Here it was definitely artsy, and every small detail added to the atmoshere.

I especially liked the pink bed looking out over the sea and islands below the farm.

The day after we were there, we heard on the news that the owners had received a special prize for the way they are running the farm and taking care of the landscape.

I hope this means they will not have to close their doors anytime soon.

Eldrid