September 2017
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I hear those sleighbells

Ok, maybe not literally. Anyway, wishlist time again.

Dear Santa,

I think I’ve been pretty good this year, at least compared to a lot of other people. On the other hand, quite a lot of people have been quite as good as me and need Christmas presents more, hence see point 1 and 2.

1. Peace on earth.

2. Anything from Gaver med mening (Flyktningehjelpen) or Verdensgaver (Unicef) (look, you can buy “me” schoolbooks!) and similar sites.

3. Flash/lighting stand, something like this. Needs to be able to hold the Aurora Firefly (I haven’t done my research, and I think it’s a standard bracket, but it might be a good idea to check with the shop).

4. Non-stop. A little, at least.

5. The Sandman books, vol. 6 onwards.

6. Books in general. Not that we need any more, but on the other hand: One will always need another book.

Who am I to eschew tradition?

Dear Santa,

this year I am having a hard time coming up with wishes. Well, other than the regular first wish of peace on earth, that’s a given as we’re not – really – quite there yet. I’d still like an overlock, other than that I seem to have practically everything I need (or have room for). Technically I’m only supposed to wish for money this year, anyway, since I already bought myself a Christmas present. You see, I was in Oslo for three days recently and the camera started behaving oddly on the first night, but I didn’t think any more about it until the next day, when I realised the lens was making rattling noises. So I traipsed off to FotoVideo to hand it in for service and was faced with 36 or so hours without a working camera (I hadn’t brought a spare lens). Well, I really couldn’t have that, so I trundled on upstairs and purchased a wide angle lens. Which was, it should be said, next on the list of “photography gadgets to get”, but not at all on the budget for the next few months. So. I need money to pay for that. Other than that, well, life is pretty good. But here we go:

1. Peace on earth.

2. Health and longevity for my nearest and dearest and for the following authors/artists (and any others I may have forgotten): Robin Hobb, J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, Jo Nesbø, Ole Paus, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Alanis Morisette, Michael Wiehe, Michael Parkinson, Håkon Gullvåg, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Neil Gaiman, Bill Bryson, India Knight, Kate Atkinson, Bob Dylan, Jasper Fforde and the Top Gear guys.

3. Anything from Gaver med mening, Gaver som forandrer verden, Oxfam unwrapped (look, you can buy “me” schoolbooks!) and similar sites.

4. The Sandman books, vol. 3 onwards.

5. An Overlock. Like this one. Or one of the Husqvarna Huskylocks they have here.

6. Non Stop (though not a lot, since the littlest lass seems to react badly to her mum’s sugar intake, so as long as I’m nursing I need to keep my consumption to a minimum).

All I want for Christmas is… Uhm… What, really?

Well, I’ve certainly started thinking about Christmas, so I guess it’s about time.

Dear Santa,

Well, I got presents last year despite the fact that we told the lass you don’t exist and so on. In fact, she got presents too, so I’m guessing you’re ok with that, then? With the amount of attention you get it might just be refreshing for someone to ignore you, I guess, and considering the number of homes you need to visit in one night I guess being able to drop things off early and not give a personal appearance is probably a bit of a relief. Anyway, you know the drill:

1. Peace on earth.

2. A laminating machine that takes A3 format. Preferably a decent quality one that handles a bit of thickness.

3. Health and longevity for my nearest and dearest and for the following authors/artists (and any others I may have forgotten): Robin Hobb, J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, Jo Nesbø, Ole Paus, Michael Wiehe, Michael Parkinson, Håkon Gullvåg, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Neil Gaiman, Bill Bryson, India Knight, Kate Atkinson, Bob Dylan, Jasper Fforde, Robin Laing, Mads Eriksen, Frode Øverli, Lise Myhre, Richard Russo, Alexander McCall Smith, Nick Hornby and the Top Gear guys. Oh, and Jeffrey Archer, but dear, dear Santa, please make him stick to writing books rather than involving in politics (or, the horror, another groundless libel case).

4. An Overlock. Like this one. Or one of the Husqvarna Huskylocks they have here.

5. Anything from Gaver med mening, Gaver som forandrer verden, Oxfam unwrapped (look, you can buy “me” schoolbooks!) and similar sites.

6. Non-stop.

7. The Sandman books.

8. A Roomba, or other robotic vacuum.

9. Books. Not that we need any more, but on the other hand: One will always need another book.

And then I honestly can’t think of anything else. I think life must be pretty good, actually.

List for the lass to follow.

Nissekjole

Before Christmas, on the 16th to be precise, I realised that there was to be a “nissefest” at the lass’ daycare the next day and that the only red garment she had was a pair of red tights, and those technically outgrown to boot.

A note on the concept “nisse”. Well, a Norwegian word of the day, if you will. Nisse is a noun, and can mean Santa Claus, but is as likely to mean something akin to gnome. That is, in the Scandinavian tradition, the nisse would live on the farm, unseen, and if treated well would care for animals and people, but if treated badly could really make trouble. Even those nisse that were treated well were fond of pranks, though. One of the things you should absolutely on no account fail to do if you wanted to keep your nisse happy was to leave out a portion of rice porridge on Christmas eve. These nisse are traditionally depicted with red hats, but normally wear a greyish knitted sweather and felted wool pants rather than the whole red get-up.

So when daycare have a “nissefest” the idea is that the kids dress up as little nisse, but they will also, most likely receive a visit from Santa Claus, so it’s all rather mixed up. Anyway, some sort of appropriate dress was expected, and I didn’t even have any idea where our red Christmas hats are (we have at least two, somewhere).

While searching for the hats, though, I found a long sleeved t-shirt that the husband got to wear at work last Christmas. Plenty of material in that, I thought and got to it:

I forgot to take a before picture, but here I've cut out the body of the dress (top left) using a top that fits the lass as a template.

I forgot to take a before picture, but here I've cut out the body of the dress (top left) using a top that fits the lass as a template.

Cutting the arms, still using the top as a template.

Cutting the arms, still using the top as a template.

Notice with the arm that I’m reusing the hem at the bottom of the original shirt, I also reused the neckline rib-finish in the neck of the dress. The less seams I have to sew, the better, especially when it’s a last minute rescue mission sort of project.

The result was pretty good, even if I do say so myself:

Yes, her face is blurred.

Yes, I've blurred her face.

The skirt is made from the bottom of the shirt, which I simply pinned on in four places with the same amount of fabric between them and pleated while sewing (also stretching the top part to create some natural pleats). The ribbon is there to hide the name om my husband’s employers which was printed on the front. On the back is printed “Merry Christmas” in quite large letters, which I left as is, it’s supposed to be a Christmas dress, after all.

Og julefreden senket seg

Jeg har brukt opp ferien min i år. Det vil si, jeg hadde en feriedag igjen når julen kom. I tillegg jobber jeg for en sånn arbeidsgiver som gir en dag fri i romjula, så jeg kan ha fri den dagen vi skal på slektstreffjuletrefest, noe som er praktisk. Jeg diskuterte litt med meg selv hvilken dag jeg skulle bruke feriedagen på og endte med lille julaften. Og det er jeg glad for, for på grunn av litt vel mye forkjølelse og andre uhumskheter i familien har vi liksom kommet litt på etterkantmed de juleforberedelsene vi hadde planlagt. Lille julaften fri gav meg tid til å pakke inn de siste presangene, og jeg og snuppa fikk lagd en ekstra presang til besteforeldre og annen familie, en idé jeg fant på The Folding Chair nå i juleinnspurten:

Julekuler med snømenn, laget av fingertrykk fra snuppa med hatt, øyne og nese malt av meg. Det er slikt man kaller teamwork.

Julekuler med snømenn, laget av fingertrykk fra snuppa med hatt, øyne og nese malt av meg. Det er slikt man kaller teamwork.

Og så fikk vi pyntet pepperkaker:

Man kan fortsatt se pepperkaken, altså er den ikke helt full av pynt.

Man kan fortsatt se pepperkaken, altså er den ikke helt full av pynt.

Neste år har jeg planer om å ha litt flere fridager igjen når vi kommer til desember, men vi får se. Det funker på denne måten også.

Oh, yes

I remembered one thing…

Last year I read about the Salvation Army in the lokal paper, how they were collecting Christmas gifts for people who lacked the resources to buy them and how people were actually wrapping up junk to donate. People are weird.

Well, it was the first time the fact that this sort of collection was taking place had penetrated my mind, and I filed it away for future reference. However, I had forgotten all about it until Deer Darling posted about their plans for donating gifts. But then I got my act together. We had various odds and ends about the house that were screaming for a more appreciative home. A children’s book I managed to buy in duplicate for the lass, one of the many Duplo boxes we purchased at 1/2 price and that has yet to be opened and that she really doesn’t need, the rather expesive pair of shoes I bought last winter that really didn’t work for my feet but which I had worn just long enough (about a week) to make bringing back to the shop not an option, so I’d considered selling them on finn.no, but not gotten roun to it. And so on. Yesterday morning we wrapped it all up properly and wrote appropriate gift tags. For good measure I added post-its with accurate descriptions of the contents, I figure it will help the organisers distribute and then they can easily remove the post-its them before actually giving the gift to a recipient.

And then we got the bus to town and handed the gifts to the Salvation Army.

Here in Trondheim they accept donations at the Christmas tree in the town square. Apparently the same is true for Bergen, and in Oslo it is rumoured that you can hand your gifts in at Fattighuset. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any information about the collection online, and I think I might send them an email and suggest they add it – it would be useful to know just where in other towns and guidelines for how to wrap, what to give, how to mark and so on.

In any case, I plan on making it a yearly tradition with us. So much of the charity we contribute to over the course of year is pretty intangible and “just stuff on tv”, but even now, at almost four, I think the lass got some of the point of this. And it seems particularly important to remember how lucky we are at a time of year when overspending is urged from every available advertising space.

I julemodus

Christmas in da house

Technically, I don’t get the Christmas decorations out before the 23rd. Well, except the advent star (which is up) and a wreath for the front door (which is not up, no idea where it is, actually), but I’ve been shopping legos lately (and how) and some of them are Christmas-related. So I started building the wintery sets. I’m planning on demolishing them and packing it all away after Christmas and taking it out each year to rebuild, eventually the lass will hopefully be able to help. This is the Winter Toy Shop set, and I’ve also got the Winter Village Bakery waiting to be started.

20101207_lego1

I adore the train in the window

I adore the train in the window

20101207_lego3I need to work on my Lego photography, though. Better lighting would help – and perhaps it would be a good idea to create some sort of set background for these? At the very least a white backdrop, but perhaps a bit of night sky or something would look good?

Oh, and I found a place to hang my beloved snowflake fairy lights, because somehow I don’t think we’re going to get around to putting curtains up in the hallway for some time yet:

20101207_lyskjede

Beginning to consider Christmas

I know it’s only October, but since I like to plan Christmas presents some time ahead, I like giving others the opportunity to do the same. So in the proud tradition, here we go:

Dear Santa,

I realise you may be a bit miffed that we’re teaching the lass that you don’t really exist, explaining that all the Santas she sees around are just people in costume and that her presents actually come from family and friends, but I hope you’ll forgive me and se your way to fix us up with some of the following anyway:

1. Peace on earth.

2. A Kindle. Preferably, I think, a Kindle DX, as one of the reasons for wanting one is to be able to read pdfs, and according to this review, the larger screen is a pretty good idea for that sort of use. However, the Kindle 3 with just wi-fi would also rock my socks. Other major benefits that I see immediately are A. downloading books from the Gutenberg project, in Kindle format, no less, for example Iphigenia which I really need to read after seeing the show at Trøndelag Teater on Saturday and B. reading in the rain by simple expedient of a cover (you could put a cover on a “real” book, too, but turning the page becomes complicated).

3. Health and longevity for my nearest and dearest and for the following authors/artists (and any others I may have forgotten): Robin Hobb, J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, Jo Nesbø, Ole Paus, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Alanis Morisette, Michael Wiehe, Michael Parkinson, Håkon Gullvåg, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Neil Gaiman, Bill Bryson, India Knight, Kate Atkinson, Bob Dylan, Jasper Fforde and the Top Gear guys.

4. A ten-litre pot that works on induction stove-tops.

5. An Overlock. Like this one. Or one of the Husqvarna Huskylocks they have here.

6. Anything from Gaver med mening, Gaver som forandrer verden, Oxfam unwrapped (look, you can buy “me” schoolbooks!) and similar sites.

7. Non-stop.

8. The Sandman books.

9. A Fuji Instax mini – and film – available from Photojojo amongst others. Other thingamabobs from Photojojo that make me drool a little: SLR pinhole body cap and The white balance lens cap. And pretty much everything else they sell, to be honest.

10. Dishes with the Moomins on them. We have a collection of cups (mostly from “giving blood-rewards”), but I’d love to have the deep dishes, too, then we could really use the set for coffee and dessert.

11. A Roomba!

12. Moomin casserole and saucepan and Moomin spoons – all from Hackman.

And for the lass, who really has been good, her own list:

1. “Solveig og Kosinus-sangen” – that is, the song from the tv-show. Seems to only exist as a single so far, a whole CD would be better.

2. A Queen CD all of her own containing “We Will Rock You”.

3. Toy Story figures, especially Jesse “livesize”. Also Toy Story lego.

4. Pretend food of all kinds.

My additions:

1. Pyjamas in size 116 or 122. Fleece pants and/or tops in size 116.

2. Good books (but check with us first, we have quite a few – understatement of the year).

3. DVDs: Disney, old children’s tv shows and newer ones (check what we already have).

4. Listen and read combination things – those books with the story on CD – if they still exist?

5. Doll’s clothes (pretty much any size doll) – hand made if you do that sort of thing.

6. Jigsaw puzzles of 30 pieces and upwards (the sky’s the limit, she’ll grow into them eventually).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Well, it’s getting closer, anyway. So here we go:

Dear Santa,

2009 has been pretty good. The shrub is no longer the leader of the (western?) world and I’m pretty happy with the way the elections turned out over here as well. Still, we’re hardly living in an ideal world yet, so there are a few things you may consider putting some effort into in the run-up to Christmas (and if you have to make it next Christmas, don’t worry, I realise there aren’t that many shopping days left before this one). As for me, well, I think I’ve been pretty good. But I’ll work on doing better, too, don’t worry. Anyway, here are a few things that would make my eyes sparkle (and who doesn’t like sparkly eyes?) this Christmas:

1. Peace on earth.

2. Any or all of the gadgets I’m drooling over at the moment: A new laptop, a mini laptop (Eee or similar), a Kindle.

3. An Overlock. Like this one. Or one of the Husqvarna Huskylocks they have here.

4. Health and longevity for my nearest and dearest and for the following authors/artists (and any others I may have forgotten): Robin Hobb, J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, Jo Nesbø, Ole Paus, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Alanis Morisette, Michael Wiehe, Michael Parkinson, Håkon Gullvåg, Lillebjørn Nilsen, Neil Gaiman, Bill Bryson, India Knight, Kate Atkinson, Bob Dylan, Jasper Fforde and the Top Gear guys. 

5. Accessories for the MUM6.

6. Anything from Gaver med mening, Gaver som forandrer verden, Oxfam unwrapped (look, you can buy “me” schoolbooks!) and similar sites. 

7. Non-stop (though perhaps not quite as many as last year…).

8. Some energy and wherewithall to start the house-selling-buying-moving process.

9. The Sandman books

 And for the lass, who really has been good, not just pretty:

1. Jigsaw puzzles of 8 pieces and upwards (the sky’s the limit, she’ll grow into them eventually).

2. Good books (but check with us first, we have quite a few – understatement of the year).

3. DVDs: Disney, old children’s tv shows and newer ones like Tony Ross’ Little Princess, Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank Engine, Kipper and others of the same ilk (check what we already have).

4. Listen and read combination things – those books with the story on CD – if they still exist?

5. Doll’s clothes (pretty much any size doll) – hand made if you do that sort of thing.

 (For reference, previous years: 2002 2003 2005 2006  2007 2008)