Follow by Email

onsdag 23. april 2014

DIY // Knitted kitchen cloths


As I mentioned in my last Happy thoughts, I love to to knit. Over the years, I've knitted a range of different things, including a big stack of kitchen cloths, using yarn bought in the sales or left-over thread from other knitting projects. I've kept the patterns really simple, using a combination of knit and purl stitches to create interesting textures.

While the cloths in the basket above don't have a crochet trim, I recommend adding this trim, as it keeps the cloths from getting stretched when you wring them out and in the washing machine. The trim also looks very pretty!

I knit on a circular needle whenever I can, as it's a lot lighter and easier to maneuver than straight needles.

Here's how to make your own cute and useful kitchen cloths:



Size:
Approx. 25 x 25 cm

Materials:
Yarn - approx. 50 grams of 100 % cotton yarn (machine washable on 60 degrees celsius) with tension of 28 sts/10 cm on needles 2,5 mm
Alternatively, use a thicker yarn and cast on fewer sts
2,5 mm medium length circular knitting needle
2,5 mm crochet hook
Measuring tape


Instructions:
Cast on 87 sts and k all sts for a total of 12 rows. Continue in pattern as follows:
Row 13: k6, *k3, p3; rep from * to last 6 sts, end k6.
Row 14: k6; k the knit sts and p the pearl sts to last 6 sts, end k6
Row 15: Repeat row 13.
Row 16: k6, *p3, k3; rep from * to last 6 sts, end k6.
Row 17: k6; k the knit sts and p the pearl sts to last 6 sts, end k6
Row 18: Repeat row 16.

Repeat these last six rows until your work measures as much in the height as in the width, when subtracting the initail 12 knit rows. End the pattern after the 3. or 6. row. K all sts on 12 rows. Cast off a bit loosely. Don't cut the thread! Use the last stitch as the starting point for making the crochet trim.


Crochet trim:
Round 1: Crochet one double crochet in each st at the top and the bottom of the square, and in every other row on each size. In each corner, crochet two double crochet in the corner stitch. End the row by joining the first st with 1 slip stitch.
Round 2: Crochet 3 chain sts, then 1 slip stitch in the first chain stitch, jump over 1 double stitch in the work, and crochet 1 double crochet. In the corners, don't skip the double crochet.
Repeat around the cloth. Once you have made the scalloped edge all the way around, join the first st on the row with a chain stitch, cut the thread and pull the thread through the stitch. Sew in the end.


Variations: 
Experiment with different patterns, for instance smaller squares over 2 sts x 2 rows or bigger squares over 4 sts x 4 rows. In the cloth above, I'm knitting tall thin squares over 1 st and 3 rows.

Great gifts:
These cloths make great gifts: Knit two in matching colours and tie together with a pretty ribbon.


Please let me know if you have any questions about the instructions! While I can easily follow an English knitting pattern (and have proofread quite a few English Dalegarn patterns back in the day), I'm not well versed in English crochet terminology.





Spicy chicken and turkey burgers


Yes, this is yet another paleo recipe (delicious mayo recipe here and yummy pad thai here), but it will be equally simple to make and delicious in flavour for any "regular" foodie! And this recipe is yet another brilliant product by Mel of theclothesmakethegirl.com.

I found the recipe for turkey and cranberry burgers (inspired by Thanksgiving) in her cookbook Well fed 2, but it is also on her website (here). I have made the burgers twice in as many weeks and the first time I made a double batch. That says something about how good these babies are.


In her book, Mel gives you recipes for fifteen - yes, 15! - different variations on burgers/sausages/meatballs, from Classic pork to Thai green curry. She also recommens variations on the meat, as well as what to serve the chosen shaped meat with. Each recipe makes four large burgers - one is enough for my dinner, 1,5 if I'm particularly hungry.


I love to serve my turkey burgers with roasted sweet potato wedges and Mel's Kickass ketchup (recipe here).


Yes, that is really its name. It's a breeze to make - I made mine while the burgers were frying - and lasts for about two weeks in the fridge. Just don't use your smoothie blender to chop the figs unless you are making a double or triple batch. It's not enough volume for the blender to do its work - you'll just end up with a terrible cleaning job...













mandag 21. april 2014

Happy thoughts



{1} New knitting project
When going through all the old stuff in my storage room, trying to downsize, I found lots of really nice knitting yarn. Nothing beats the excitement of starting a new project and watching it take shape! Check back in a couple of weeks to see my finished stripey sweater.



{2} The puppy has grown up
When visiting my mum this week, I thought back on how little her dog Nelly was when she first got her. Nelly was the most adorable, soft and cuddly puppy you can think of! She's now two years old, quite active but also the biggest softie ever - she loves to cuddle and licks you all over, if permitted. I get all soft and mushy inside when she's curled up on my lap! Here she is about six months old.



{3} Breathtaking scenery
I'm lucky to live in western Norway (when the weather is nice) - the scenery here is just breathtaking, with tall, steep mountains; long, winding fjords and lots of greenery! This is the view from my friend's balcony in Jondal. Quite amazing, right?


lørdag 19. april 2014

Blue aran sweater & white denim

Peak Performance down waistcoat (similar) // Vintage Hermes scarf (love this)
Selfmade aran sweater (Dale Garn yarn + pattern)
Rebecca Minkoff orange handbag // Gina Tricot white jeans (similar)
New Balance 420 trainers // HM olive leather gloves
Snö of Sweden earrings

As I've mentioned before, I have recently refound my love of making things by hand. One of the things that kick-started this new era, was going through my half-finished knitting projects and finding this aran sweater, less two sleeves.

Though the passing of time had made the yarn for the sleeves go walkabout, a quick trip to the Dale Garn factory outlet with my mum got me sorted out (and naturally, I found the missing skeins of yarn last week...). Both my mum and I have worked there (she in production, I as marketing manager), but only mum gets the senior discount.

It was so much fun knittin again! And this project went fast as the wind, as the Freestyle superwash wool yarn is really thick and knits on big needles!

The sleeves even have some dog love in them, as I was dog-sitting my mum's sheltie Nelly while finishing the sweater, and she's always shedding. I just hope people don't have an allergic reaction to me...

Anyway, back to the outfit. This day I played it really causal - it was sunny, but cold outside, so a sweater and down waistcoat was a safe bet. It was also safe to wear white jeans and, reminding me of warm summer days, this immediately put me in a good mood.

I finally got to wear my new vintage Hermes scarf as well, which I bought in Antibes. After quite some research, I tracked down a vintage store in Antibes, and after multiple visits I finally found it open for business. It was a real treasure trove and I became the happy owner of this gorgeous silk scarf, in addition to a couple of other treats.







Off I go to the grocery store, then, before I have a heat stroke! Ooops, better leave the camera remote at home...

fredag 18. april 2014

How to wear // Trends SS 2014 - Tribal warrior

HM tribal patterned jacket

This is a new series in which I pick one piece of clothing that matches a current trend, and show how to wear it in four different ways. I'll kick off with this black and white inka-inspired jacket from HM, which matches the tribal warrior trend (ref. Marie Claire) that's going to be big for spring/summer 2014.

While I quite liked the uniqueness of this jacket in the store, I had second thoughts when I got home, as I was in doubt as to how to style it. It's one of those pieces that require a fair bit of planning before you wear it, as it doesn't go with everything.

I'm more about style than trends myself - I love to get a few pieces each season that each are from a particular trend, but are not shouting "new season" or "fashion victim". Subtlety is my mantra. When I pair this jacket with other things in my wardrobe, I will therefore focus on creating a range of different looks, that are not so much about the tribal trend, as how to wear a tribal jacket in four different and unique ways.

This particular jacket is not available to buy online at hm.com, but it's currenlty available in my local store. I have paired it with items from my closet, some newish, others 10 or more years old. Use this post as an inspiration to play around with the contents of your own closet to come up with unique ways to wear a similar jacket or cardigan.

{1} Colour blocking

HM white cotton top // LK Bennett black leather belt
Noa Noa fuschia skirt // LK Bennett red suede shoes
Sequoia orange clutch // Hermes white H bangle
Snö of Sweden black earrings

I kept the tribal jacket and a white embellished top as neutrals and made them pop against the vibrant colours of fushia, red and orange. A very happy outfit for a party!




{2} Monochrome

HM sequinned black top // Accessorize strass necklace
Old strass bangle, ring and earrings
Botkier black handbag // Promod white trousers
Christian Louboutin black patent heels

This is a more dressed up monochrome look, where I've used different textures in all the garments to keep it interesting. The trousers are matt white, the top has black shiny sequins, the shoes are patent and the bag is leather. Since the focus here is on the monochrome, the jacket comes across as simply black and white, and less as a tribal piece. Add some shine in the jewelry, and I'm ready for a chic and formal do!



{3} Classic

Zadig & Voltaire scarf // HM fuschia top
Banana Republic black trousers
Celine leopard loafers // Belanciaga grey handbag
Warehouse mint necklace
See by Chloe cuff // Unknown brand earrings

In the classic - or more casual - outfit, I have paired the jacket with a bright long-sleeved t-shirt and black capris. To spice the outfit up, I added a mint sparkly necklace, leopard loafers and forest-coloured scarf. This is a VERY comfortable outfit that I've already worn a couple of times, when the sun was out. 




{4} Boho chic

 Zara white peasant blouse // Unknown brand necklace
Indiska black harem trousers // Zara reptile-print sandals
Gerard Darel black handbag
Warehouse reptile-print bangle // Souvenir bangle from Botswana
Arts & Crafts gold earrings

This outfit is quite similar to the one above, but by changing the shape of the trousers and adding a more rustic-looking top, handbag and jewelry, it becomes boho - while also perfect for the tribal trend itself. It would be perfect to wear this while running errands or go sightseeing on a warm spring day.



The more I've played around with this jacket, the more I've come to like it! I'm already planning when to wear the last look - waiting for a warm spring day - and I've even come up with a few extra outfit ideas that will appear on the blog very soon.

About this series //
Please let me know if there are particular trends or specific pieces of clothing you would like me to feature (currently trending or not), and I'll try and make your wish come true!

Happy Easter!


Now it's time for me to take a few days off for Easter, visiting my mum followed by a trip to see a good friend in Jondal. I will not leave you empty handed, though - posts are planned for every day except Sunday. And hopefully I will be able to bring back to you some cool photographs of the deep fjords of western Norway.

Have a great Easter together with your loved ones!

torsdag 17. april 2014

The world's best mayonnaise?


When I first started eating paleo back in January, I didn't know how to go about eating three meals per day that didn't include legumes, grains or dairy. While I've frequently been without dairy for shorter periodes of time, I then was allowed to eat grains and legumes.

Now, all these were banned, and I actually had to include a good source of animal protein in every meal. Though I've always been conscious of eating enough protein by adding lentils, quinoa, nuts and dairy to my meals, I suspect I haven't eaten enough protein in the last 20 years. This is based on the fact that I was always tired and got hungry every two-three hours. Eating paleo, I can easily go for five hours without eating, I never feel like snacking, my blood sugar is totally stable and I therefore never feel fatigue, like I did before. Add to this that my 14 days-a-month period pains, knee ache and acne have more or less vanished, and it's paleo and meat all the way for me!

Though I like to cook and love trying out new recipes, I had never actually cooked with meat before, as I became a pescetarian in my first year at university. This was my first time living on my own, not being fed by my mum, and I was inspired by my new friends, who made delicious vegetarian meals. I still don't feel very competent as a meat cook, but I improve by the week.

I've always looked down on meals that I saw as traditionally Norwegian (how my dad liked to eat) - a piece of meat, potatoes, maybe some vegetables and gravy. Now I eat like this about 50 % of the time, as every paleo meal can't take equally long to prepare: I'm dependent upon prebaked sweet potatoes and sauteed vegetables, along with grilled or baked fish and meat. Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying my "boring" meals, as I like all the ingredients and I always ensure that I have a yummy sauce to pour on top.

My favourite sauces are the sunshine sauce, made by Mel of the blog theclothesmakethegirl.com (I talked about this sauce and pad thai here) and her incredible mayonnaise.

My, oh my, is this mayo lovely! Buy the cheapest olive oil you can find (I get mine at Rema 1000 for Nok 26 per bottle) and get whisking!

Before I tried this, I was daunted just by the thought of making my own mayo. But let me tell you, mayo has got an unfair bad rep as being difficult to make. It takes about five minutes to whip it up, and the only thing you have to be conscious of is to pour the olive oil in slowly. Well, anyone can do that, so it's not hard at all! It's also useful to know that the slower you go with the mix master, the thicker the mayo. The thicker, the yummier, me thinks.

I make a batch every week so I always have it available in the fridge, ready to pour over baked sweet potatoes, vegetables or a piece of chicken. This sauce ensures that I get the required amount of fat in every meal, without having to eat nuts or avokado three times a day.

Graphic print x 2

Inwear scarf // Pebble London pod necklace (similar) // Tateossian earrings
Worn Pretty leather jacket // Warehouse sweatshirt (similar with floral print)
Miu Miu skirt (similar with b/w print) // Anya Hindmarch handbag (similar)

Inspired by all the sporty looks in the April issue of British InStyle, I have teamed my graphic Miu Miu skirt with a comfortable sweatshirt that I picked up in the Warehouse sales last week. The last time I wore this skirt I styled it more classic (see blog post here) - I let the skirt stand out by using muted purple and navy in my other garments.

In this sporty look, I am mixing prints that are of similar colours but different proportions, which creates an interesting look. The rest of the outfit is more muted in the colours, so it will not compete with the prints.

On my feet are my New Balance trainers, the most comfortable shoes I own - my toes at dancing with happiness every time I wear them! They come in a range of different colours, and considering their comfort level, it's very tempting to get another pair...




onsdag 16. april 2014

Plaid trousers & emerald lace

Mango navy/red plaid trousers (a more subtle pair here) // Warehouse emerald lace top
Zara navy cardigan (similar) // Warehouse gold/mint necklace
Coccinelle sand handbag // Michael Michael Kors gold watch (similar)
Gabor black boots (similar) // Old gold cuff

I've had these plaid trousers for quite some time, but not been happy with how I have paired them until now. I have very few garments in navy, so I decided to think outside the box and not think of what goes with plaid, but rather which colours go well with navy.

I saw these trousers on mango.no and went to the Mango store to try and track them down. I've learnt from experience to always try on trousers before I buy them, as it can be hard for me to find a pair that fit well, considering my high waist and long legs.

Unfortunately, the store didn't stock this item, but they had a similar pair in the same cut that I tried on for size. Once I had established my size, the helpful staff ordered it online for me - I paid in the store and got them shipped to my home address free of charge. Only two days later I was the happy owner of said trousers!

I love the length of these trousers. Though they probably are supposed to fit long on shortish Spanish girls, they hit me at the top of the shoes, which is a cool preppy length and great for wearing with brogues and other flat shoes. To soften the preppy style of the trousers, I paired them with an emerald lace top and a crystal necklace. To be practical for the rain outside, I chose flat boots, but they would also look great with black heels.



Yummy paleo pad thai


Since the start of the new year, I've been experimenting with a paleo diet. Having struggled with my digestion for the last 15+ year as a pescetarian, in addition to general fatigue and tiredness, I thought eating meat again was worth a try. Since I don't like additives and cook all my food from scratch anyway, paleo seemed like a good choice. I had read about the diet on several blogs and in many magazines, and the book "It starts with food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig soon found its way into my Amazon shopping basket. First I read the book from cover to cover, then I got cooking.

When it comes to recipes and cooking, I need pretty, drool-worthy photographs to feel inspired, not page up and page down with text. Unfortunately, "It starts with food" book gave me more of the latter than the former, but luckily they recommended the blog theclothesmakethegirl.com, written by food wiz Melissa. And wow, does this woman know how to cook! At first, I cooked from the recipes on her blog, then I bought her book Well fed 2 (Well fed 1 is on back order (out of print?) on Amazon).

One of the first recipes I tried were Mel's sunshine sauce, a nutty, spicy sauce that you can either use as a sauce with sweet potatoes/vegetables and e.g. a pork chop, or you can add it to a stir fry. She suggests using the sauce to create pad thai. I'd never actually heard of pad thai before, but oh my, is it yummy!

You'll find Mel's recipe for pad thai here.


I have made this recipe on numerous occasion, changing it up a bit each time. This time around, I used bits of pork and a selection of vegetables I had available - carrots, brussel sprouts, yellow onions, celery stalks, celery root and mangetout. It's also delicious with tiger prawns or pieces of chicken - use what you have hanging around in your fridge.


Traditional pad thai is made with peanuts, but since these are banned in the paleo diet, Mel suggests making the sauce using sunflower butter. I'm actually not that fussed about what kind of (non-peanut) butter I use - I take what I have available. The sauce above is made from 50 % sunflower seed butter and 50 % cashew butter. It's also yummy made from almond or hazel nut butter (have your actually tried hazelnut butter? It's one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted!).

Since I love nuts, I added a handful of cashew nuts to the pan, and garnished with another few nuts. Yummy!

I suggest you make a couple of batches of the sauce - use half for the pad thai and keep the rest in the fridge to dress up a steak or a grilled chicken breast.

Velbekomme!

tirsdag 15. april 2014

What to squeeze into a tiny handbag

Normally, I tend to wear a largish handbag that can take everything but the kitchen sink, as I'd like to be prepared for any eventuality when I'm out and about. There should, however, be a limit to how much stuff one needs to bring to the cinema, so last week when I went to see the brilliant Swedish film "The hundred-year old who climbed out of the window and disappeared (Swedish trailer here), I carried my new Givenchy clutch with my comfy outfit (blog post here). It was a challenge, but this is what I managed (with difficulty) to squeeze into this bag. My keys (car + flat) had to be carried in my jacket pocket and the brolley in my hand...

Givenchy Obsedia clutch (here in purple) // YSL spectacles
Spectacle cleaner (my right glass always gets smudged)
Coach coin and card purse (similar) // iPhone 4
Mulberry iPhone cover (discontinued; similar)
Tissues // Nuxe lipbalm (great moisture! See more French faves here)



DVF wrap dress

DVF Kira wrap dress // HM camisole (similar)
HM tights // Minelli heels (similar, similar)
Michael Michael Kors watch (similar) // See by Chloè bangle
Hermes H bangle // Snö of Sweden earrings (I also love these)
Old necklace (similar in silver)

My favourite dress shape is the wrap dress and Diane von Fürstenberg has, without doubt, the best cut and selection! A couple of weeks ago, I took advantage of a special promotion in the Matches seasonal sale and bought this leopard print version of the classic wrap dress.

I was so excited when I revealed the dress from the DHL box, that I immediately had to make an outfit with it. While many wear wrap dresses without anything underneath, I always layer with a camisole, as I otherwise would be looking at my chest all day, making sure my bra isn't on show... This time, I wore an aubergine lace trim silk camisole, as its colour was very classic and expensive-looking next to the animal print. I chose a pair of tights in the same aubergine hue, and finished off with black chunky heels and gold jewelry.

Now, I just need a good occasion to actually wear this outfit! Wanna go out for drinks, anyone?





My heels are from the French shoe chain Minelli. They have a store on Rue de Republica in Antibes, which is just around the corner from the flat I've been renting. Minelli has a great selection of leather shoes at a reasonable price point, the most expensive priced at around 200 euros, while sandals and heels are about 100 euros. While their closed toe shoes are too small for my 41,5 feet (they only run to 41), I can easily wear their open toe shoes. This pair is in size 40 and fits me perfectly.