Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I like from time to time to read my old blog posts, from the very beginning of my blogging past or from several months ago, because I can see what was happening to me at that time and what changed and how I changed overtime.

Recently I've been looking for something in my January 2007 posts and I stumbled upon these words (24th Jan 2007):

I've been having an urge recently to create something. A piece of art. Not like Picasso piece of art, of course, not something big that will sell immediately and will be remembered forever *^v^*, but the art as opposed to something useful.
A bag I sew is an useful item, a skirt, a choker, a knitted scarf - these are all items to be used. And I enjoy making them, I always have and I always will.

But I suddenly I felt I'd like to make something totally un-useful (but not useless... ^^), something that you don't use, you just hang it on the wall or put it on the mantlepiece, and occasionally enjoy while passing the room running your errands. (Some may say art has its use, more spiritual than physical, appealing to our senses and emotions and in this way making us feel better. And I would absolutely agree.)

I fight with myself because one part of me says that it's a waste of time to make something that cannot be physically used. But on the other hand I would like to just sit for an hour or two, over the piece of paper, with a pencil and paints, (yes, that's something I more or less can do - draw), switch off my mind and let the fingers do the work. Or maybe do something with pieces of fabrics, turn them into a quilt-picture?
Maybe I should just give it a try, who knows what I can create? *^v^*

And today, almost exactly one year later, I'm creating paintings, I'm filling my second art journal, I made my first paper doll and ATC cards, I even sold two of my paintings to complete strangers who liked them and decided to have them in their homes! *^v^*

How about that? =^v^=

I also changed my way of thinking about the products I create for the galleries - I used to think about them in a categories: "they will/won't sell, they're potentially profitable". Now I am more inclined to think "I enjoy making these items, they're cute, I like them so others may like them as well and buy them".

Apparently I don't know anything about colour theory and how to apply colour combinations...
I started my Tiffany mittens and when I reached the palm I chose dark blue and maroon.

How come those two colours look so beautiful when placed side by side in skeins, but they look so awful mixed in this intricate pattern?
Okay, at least to me they do. I knitted several rows and then started to have doubts, stopped and thought about it, and frogged!
I decided to replace the maroon with light brown and the difference is clear! Now it works! *^v^*

I'll try to take better pictures when they're finished, but now I'm much happier with the result. I changed the design a bit because I had to work on 55 stitches, not 60 as in the pattern. For the first time I made the cute turned out cuff like this and I love it! I hope it won't curl up after blocking. ^^

Have a happy Wednesday, I'm definitely going to have fun tonight because I'm meeting Anna and we are going to a Hot Chocolate Cafe, yikes! *^v^*

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New mittens and the movie

Wow, I received the "You Make My Day" Award from Sharon for my paper doll! *^v^*
I'm thinking about making more of them and maybe even a small wooden theater for them. I wanted to create a doll theater for our medieval events, but I found out that such puppet shows were much later invention, like XVII c. or something...

Anyway, today I want to show you my latest knitting FO and recommend a movie.

First, a new pair of Fair Isle mittens:
Pattern: I combined two charts from the book Hokuou no knit komonotachi / 北欧のニットこものたち (大型本)by Toshiyuki Shimada, the overall shape is my idea.
When I looked at the photos I realized that I made a mistake in one mitten... I omitted one maroon row in the middle, but I won't be correcting this. Maybe I should but I don't want to. Call me lazy. ^^ In this way they are a bit different and they have their own personalities! *^v^*
Needles: 3 mm.
Yarn: different wools from the stash.

They have already found a new home because they are a bit too tight for my hands but they fit my friend Sylwia perfectly so I gave them to her. *^v^*

This one has been taken against the window and you can see the weather outside - windy and wet, where's my Winter snow?...

What's on my needles now?
A secret project I cannot show you yet, but I will, I promise, probably next week, and of course a new pair of mittens - tonight I'm casting on for the Tiffany mittens. Plus, Robert decided on the cardigan pattern - it will be Durrow with slight modifications. Tomorrow I'm going to order the yarn for it. *^v^*

Next, the movie.
Last night we watched one of the most visually interesting films I've ever seen - "The Mirrormask" by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. It's a must for all the painters and art journalists, because it's full of inspirations on many levels!

I love everything what Gaiman does, I love "Good Omen" and "Coraline" books, I love "Stardust" movie. Now, I also found my new favourite artist, Dave McKean, who created one of the most amazing visual side of this movie.

For me, it is a story about a girl and her drawings, and she very much reminds me of myself when I was 15, 16, 17 and my pencil drawings were very similar to hers. When I looked at my drawings I always wondered what was there behind that building, at the end of that road, behind the forest, to the left where the paper finished and I couldn't draw more.

Helena found out all of this, but I won't tell you more because I don't want to spoil the fun! *^v^*
But the combination Gaiman/McKean is a very successful one, that's for sure, and I know I'll be coming back to this movie!

Now, some interaction with my great readers, thank you all for visiting my blog! ^^
Lobstah, I agree that we need to have that balance between criticism and loving ourselves, but usually we tend to be more critical, so it's a good practice to be only loving for a day and say ourselves compliments and praise ourselves for the good things! ^^
Bluejude, thank you for the nice words about my art, please visit again, I love to "meet" new readers! ^^
PJ, in fact it could be a great journal prompt - create a page with the words "I am a master of...", I must give it a deeper thought! ^^
Krissie, you are right, faworki are also called chrust (I never met the plural version chrusty, only "chrust" in general, like the English "fruit", but I think you absolutely can say that, it won't be a mistake, maybe it just wasn't used in my family tradition). For those who don't know the word, chrust is small pieces of sticks that you start your fire with, and these cakes are called like this because they are very crunchy.
Mariposa, I absolutely agree, everything is better with just a little tea! ^^
Myriam, it wasn't difficult to paint on that leather because I have a good acrylic paints that can be used on almost every surface (Multi by Lefranc & Bourgeois).

Happy Sunday, everyone! *^v^*

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I am a master of...

Last night I had another meeting with my Women Circle, and we continued the topic of the First Clan Mother - "Talks With Relations". We had two very nice exercises, one of which was to say out loud "I am a master of..." but it had to be something positive. And it wasn't easy at all!

First things that came to my mind were:
"I am a master of not finishing what I started."
"I am a master of withdrawal."
"I am a master of procrastination."
And I saw that other girls also struggled with chasing away the first negative thoughts that came to their minds.

Why is it so hard to think good things about ourselves? Isn't it enough that all the others are so very critical about us and we have to add this inner critic as well? Why are we afraid to find nice positive features in ourselves? Are we scared to be regarded as boastful? Why, even if we eventually say something nice about ourselves, we immediately counterweight it with some "but..." which scales down our achievements so they would seem small and insignificant? Who taught us so?

Think about the answers to those questions as I will.

For all of you - a piece of Polish tradition: carnival cakes called faworki (one cake = faworek). You can find the description in my post from last year.
Smacznego! *^v^*

BTW, The International Pajama Day is coming (3rd Feb)! *^v^*

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And journal again

My page for the LIST prompt by d'Blogala.
I think I must get braver with lettering, I'm a bit stuck with one kind of writing and cannot go beyond that.


This is my spread for two prompts: d'Blogala's STATE OF MIND and Inspire Me Thursday's BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE.

Monday, January 21, 2008


The Girl says "hi!" and thanks you for the compliments! *^v^*
Still without a name, she boldly jumps all over my art journal pages and accompanies me wherever I go.
, frankly speaking I have no idea what she symbolizes - as I wrote before, maybe she is my muse? or my inner child? or my future child? or my guide?
She just started to appear on my art journal pages at the beginning of 2008 and so far existed on every page I created. When I get a prompt, an idea for the spread, she is there as if it was only natural that she should be there. Intriguing, right? *^v^*

100 Day Challenge - day 63

One of my goals was to be inspired everyday to create something new and interesting, and life goes along the strange paths sometimes. I had in mind my paintings and my journal pages, and I couldn't ask for more inspiration in those two areas, but what also surprisingly "took off" was my art merchandise productivity.
I sell things at some on-line galleries and to be frank I haven't done any updates in a long time... I just didn't feel inspired, motivated, I felt lazy and couldn't bring myself to sit at the sewing machine... But with the beginning of 2008 I suddenly followed some of my ideas and realized them!

I prepared a new batch of pincushions, created the "sleep goggles" out of fabric scraps

and, what I'm most proud of, I made a whole batch of leather painted bracelets!

More to see (and buy) here:

What's more, I already started the next batch of bracelets and also new products for Easter (but more about it when it's finished, I'm even happy to share the pattern, so please come back! ^^).

Somebody, stop me! =^v^=

Tomorrow I'm meeting Anna for an art evening together and I'm making faworki - the traditional Polish cookies for the carnival season. Stay tuned! *^v^*

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paper doll

First, I've never made a single paper doll in my life. Yes, I know it's strange, but when I was a little girl I never played with any dolls - I played with teddy bears and Lego. ^^
Second, I never made a single ATC - I enjoyed them all over the blogs but never tried my hand in it.

So, today, after a hectic week of finishing and taking photos of my new products for the folk gallery (pictures tomorrow), I just slowed down, got inspired by the wonderful creation of Sharon's from All Norah's Art and made my ATC paper doll! *^v^*

You may know her from my art journal because she suddenly appeared on the pages at the beginning of this year. She hasn't told me her name yet, so I'm still waiting for this.

She consists of two ATCs, head, a pair of legs and and pair of hands split in the elbows.
Next time I would change one thing - I would choose harder paper for the legs because they bend too much, but on the whole I'm happy with how she looks.

On Tuesday I'm meeting my best friend Anna for the journaling and painting session, maybe I can talk her into making a paper doll herself as well! *^v^*

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Red Barszcz

Have you ever tried one of the great Polish dishes called beetroot soup, or red barszcz?

Traditionally it's rather complicated, because first you have to prepare something called zakwas, which is a mixture of sliced beetroots, vinegar and spices, let it sit for some time (for several days) and later you add water and cook the soup itself. My father makes red barszcz this way, although I must confess I buy the ready made one... ^^

You usually eat red barszcz with a small type of pierogi (ravioli), called uszka (little ears). They can have different stuffing but the most traditional are with meat or cabbage and wild mushrooms. The ones in the picture were made by myself last night! *^v^*

Because I noticed that many foreigners pronounce the name of this soup in a Russian way (borshch), let me teach you the correct Polish pronunciation of the word "barszcz" - you start with the sound of long [a:], like in a word "bar", then you follow with two consonant sounds [sh] and [ch], but harder than you usually say it.
Barszcz = ['ba:rshch]


I'm finishing the third pair of wristwarmers, this time inspired by two charts from the book by Toshiyuki Shimada with Norwegian patterns. They may go into the "next Christmas presents" drawer, because these are not really my colours and they are a bit tight in the thumb part, so they need somebody with smaller hands, like my aunt, for example! *^v^*

Next time - it will definitely be mittens or gloves!
In addition to pattern links sent to me by Helene I also received a great source of Latvian mittens from Michelle (bardzo dziękuje!!!), check this out: Latvian mittens! I was speechless when I looked through this site, there are no charts but knitted items, a real feast for the eye!

Art Journaling
Last, but not least, my finished journal pages. I'm very busy nowadays finishing some new products for the on-line gallery so I don't work in my art journal as often as I'd like to (not to mention painting, it must change!), so only two new spreads, but new ones are coming! *^v^*

This is the page for the prompt by d'Blogala from the previous Friday, Wishes & Dreams.

This one is an old IF prompt - Horizon.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! *^v^*

Friday, January 11, 2008

Composed Mitts finished!

Second FO of 2008! *^v^*

Composed Mitts from IK Fall
Yarn: from stash, no labels
Needles: 3 mm

Today I'm working on my journal pages and choosing the next mitten pattern, yikes! *^v^*

Thursday, January 10, 2008


First of all, thank you for the compliments on my wrist warmers, I'm finishing the next pair today so photos tomorrow! And Helene, you totally rock! Thank you for all the links, especially the one to the Latvian patterns, I had it somewhere in my old links and couldn't find it.
Which reminded me that I had a whole scanned book of Ukrainian cross-stitch patterns that can be easily adapted to the fair Isle knitted patterns, yikes! *^v^* I can share it with you, if anyone's interested.

I got mail yesterday!
And not just any mail, but the Knitscene magazine from Myriam, with a hand written letter! Now, seriously, when was the last time you got a handwritten letter from somebody?... Well? I haven't for ages! (not counting the previous letter from Myriam in her first parcel she sent me! *^v^*)
Darling, thank you very much, I'm going to write back to you in the same form so please expect some snail mail from me soon! =^v^=

There are some interesting patterns there that already got me thinking about Spring (although I'm so deep in the wrist warmers and mittens plans pile! ^^).

I wish Robert liked the last sweater... But he probably won't. Anyway, he vaguely told me what kind of a cardigan he would like to have, so I may start some designing work soon (ribbing and cables, in short ^^)

Last night we had our first meeting in our Women Circle and we talked about the first Clan Mother,
"Talks With Relations"
Her Teaching: Learn the Truth.
"Talks With Relations" is the Mother of nature and Keeper of the weather and seasons.
She is the Guardian of nature's quiet language and the
language of stones, trees and all creatures.
She teaches us to honour all life and all nature's rhythms.

I learned that maybe I should pay more attention to the objects we normally regard as inanimate, like trees or stones, because they may have some messages for us. In fact, I have quite close relationships with stones, I often buy different semi-precious stones at the Stones and Minerals Fairs, I even brought two big boulders we dug out of the Swedish freezing fjord waters! ^^ Stones are fascinating, because they have interesting rough surfaces and you know me - I'm crazy for textures!
I think I will try to talk to my stones and listen to what they have to say to me, they are very old so there may be some wisdom in them!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

First FO of 2008

Let me proudly present my first knitting FO of 2008 - DROPS wristwarmers:

The light is terrible these days so you cannot fully appreciate the colours, but I like them very much! These were knitted from the yarn in my stash, no labels, and I have plenty left so last Saturday I started another pair - the Composed Mitts from the Fall IK.

The first one is almost done, apart from the thumb (I'm knitting it longer than in the pattern) and millions of ends to weave in. I omitted the bobbles at the very beginning of a mitten because I couldn't really handle four needles and making bobbles at the same time...
I feel tempted to knit the other one in a slightly different colour scheme, I mean replace the khaki with blue, and the other way around, what do you think? *^v^*

After these ones I want to knit some proper mittens or gloves, with fingers, ect - if you know any free pattern for some Norwegian, Turkish or Latvian mittens and gloves, send me a link! ^^

We've been ill for the past few days (Robert 's worse and he even got a sick leave), so I don't have any new paintings to show you - it's impossible to paint and sleep at the same time..., so I'll leave you with some pages from my Yuletime Journal, only a few pages left to fill! ^^

I would also like to say that I'm very happy with some new people visiting my blog and leaving comments (and the old readers, too, of course! ^^), I appreciate your input so please come back for more! *^v^*

Friday, January 04, 2008

Clan Mothers

I haven't written anything about my 100 Day Challenge, but the project is still up and running! Today is day 46 of my 100 days and I can feel that my desired manifestations are starting to come alive. One of my goals was to "attract into my life people who will inspire me, support me and help me with what I'm doing. Mentors, friends, teachers, both in real life and via the Internet, both in person and through their works (books, paintings, music, ect)."

I "checked" the boxes next to some of my new year's resolutions last night. *^v^*

I was brave to follow my instinct and the need to become a member of some Women Circle, to go out and meet new people.
I found such circle just before Christmas and acted at once - I sent an email to the woman who is the leader of the circle and last night I attended the first meeting.
I stopped thinking about all the cons and obstacles, and even ignored the terrible headache I had, and just went to the first meeting.
And I really enjoyed the meeting, so I'm going there next Wednesday! *^v^*

I became a part of the Women Circle that is going to work on the book by Jamie Sams "The 13 Original Clan Mothers" (more details about the book and the idea behind it here.) Our leader is a wonderful warm and smiling all the time 62 year old lady called Maria Lewanska, who reminds me a bit of my grandmother. She took some shamanic teachings over the years both from Polish and foreign teachers and at some point she got into contact with American Indians' traditions and read the book about the Clan Mothers, which later became the basis for the circles she created.

We are going to meet 13 times and work upon the 13 Clan Mothers - their aspects and teachings.
Last night we had an introductory meeting where we talked about ourselves, why we came and what we expected to learn. Girls had different reasons for being there, and my reason was that I felt recently I no longer want to be the leader for my friends (we had meetings every Wednesday for the past 1,5 year and I was teaching them medieval crafts), I wanted to become a part of the group as a pupil, with some older wise leader.

Then Maria showed us 13 pages with different Clan Mothers in the circle on the floor and told us to choose the ones we sat in front of (of course the choice was absolutely random, we just entered the room and chose this or that pillow on the floor, not paying any attention to the pictures in the middle).
Here is the Mother I chose:

Clan Mother: Storyteller
Her Teaching:
how to speak the truth
Guardian of traditional stories and Keeper of humour.

She speaks from personal experience and teaches without judging others.
She teaches us how to be a student as well as teacher of truth.
She carries life lessons in her stories and remembers the wisdom that comes from experience.

How about that? *^v^*

I didn't mention that my friend Anna has also joined the circle and I'm glad because I hope to spend more time with her and to get to know her better. ^^

I'm also getting braver with my journal - it's no longer a one or two colour page with words in black marker - it's textures, colours, stamps, images,... *^v^*
I'm no longer scared of layers - I admired them in the past in other people's journals but somehow couldn't bring myself to some experiments with multiple layers. This year - it seems I can! =^v^=

And the girl is also there (she already occupied the third spread too, not finished yet... ^^), she speaks on my behalf, is she me? my muse? my soul? my daughter-to-be? I don't know yet, maybe one day I will find out.

And I feel new paintings coming, the canvases are waiting so expect new pieces soon!
(Most of the old ones are still available on my Etsy.)

The girl says: "Silence".

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why, oh why?!...

As of Jan 1st BBC Prime stopped broadcasting to Poland.
It was one of two tv channels I've watched (the other is a Polish cooking channel, Kuchnia TV).
I loved all the old comedies, "The Good Life", "Yes, Minister", "Keeping Up Appearances", gardening and interior design series, not to mention the famous "Eastenders".

I will miss you dearly...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


This year I decided to go for something simple and general, but applicable to many spheres of my life. Here is my first page of my 2008 journal:

As you can see, my huge art journal is impossible to fit into my scanner so I had to take a photo of it.

My resolutions for 2008 are:
1. breath
2. one thing at a time
3. be brave
4. act at once
5. stop
6. enjoy

You can read about them in details on the page. Although it would be easier to have a proper to-achieve list, this time I wanted to have some universal ideas that I can interpret in different ways. Flexibility is good! ^^

I also want to pay more attention to my new art journal, work more with textures, colours and patterns, practice "my style", experiment, be more disciplined with working on prompts to train my hand and my imagination.

Good luck with your new year's resolutions! *^v^*

Books in 2008

Here is my list of the books read in 2008. They are graded from O to 6.
1. Zadie Smith - On Beauty 3
2. Carlos Luis Zafon - The Shadow of the Wind 6
3. Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska "Nie żyłam samotnie" 5
4. Alejo Carpentier "Podróż do źródeł czasu" - 5
5. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni "Tłumaczka znów" - 4
6. Audrey Niffenegger "Time Traveller's Wife" - 3
7. Patrick White - "Węzeł" 4
8. Nadżib Mahfuz "Opowieści starego Kairu" 6

Robert's list:
1. Kirino Natsuo "Out" 6
2. Haruki Murakami "A Wild Sheep Chase" 4
3. Neal Stephenson "The Confusion - Bonanza" 6
4. Neal Stephenson "The Confusion - The Juncto" 5
5. Neal Stephenson "The System of the World - Solomon's Gold" 4
6. Arthur C. Clarke "2001: A Space Odyssey" 4
7. Arthur C. Clarke "2010: Odyssey Two" 4
8. Arthur C. Clarke - 2061: Odyssey Three - 3
9. Arthur C. Clarke - 3001: The Final Odyssey - 3
10. Isaac Asimov - Foundation - 4
11. Isaac Asimov - Foundation and Empire - 4
12. Isaac Asimov - Second Foundation - 3
13. Isaac Asimov - Foundation's Edge - 4
14. Isaac Aimov - Foundation and Earth - 3
Roger Zelazny - Damnation Alley - 4
16. William Gibson - Idoru - 5
17. William Gibson - Virtual Light - 5
18."Gorzka chwała" - J. Watt - 4
19. "Nebula '92" - 3
20. "Amerykańscy bogowie" - N. Gaiman - 5
21. "Kraina Chichów" - J. Caroll - 5
22. "Dym i lustra" - N. Gaiman - 4
23. "Poniedziałek zaczyna się w sobotę" - A. i B. Strugaccy - 6
24. "Czarnoksiężnik z Archipelagu" - U. Le Guin - 4
25. "Obcy 8 pasażer Nostromo" - A. D. Foster - 2
26. "Eden" - S. Lem - 5
27. "Poza ciszą" - J. Caroll - 3
28. "Muzeum Psów" - J. Caroll - 4
29. "Człowiek, który był czwartkiem" - G. K. Chesterton - 4
30. "Nigdziebądź" - N. Gaiman - 4
31. "Cyberiada" - S. Lem - 6