Saturday, 4 October 2008

!!Another Treasury!!

I was placed in another treasury on Etsy. I'm starting to like this. :)

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I was Interviewed! Yeah!

I was recently interviewed by a fellow Etsian: Mea Culpa's Body and Bath Creation. The experience was great and I'm looking forward to my next interview.

1.What is your stores name and what do you sell (and anything else that you wanna share about it)?

--- My store is named Plask Design. I sell mostly cool and innovative winter wear: hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves. I do my best to use, and am experimenting more with, recycled and upcycled materials. I am knitting and crocheting more and more with textiles and plastics as well as traditional wools, cottons and silks. I have also started to encorporate printed material into my store in the form of Traditional Norwegian Recipes, as well as knitted/crocheted postcards that of course are meant to be used and sent off to friends and family. This is because I am actually educated in Creative Writing and Journalism, and am working on my first family travel book which will be entirely published by myself.

-- It is also interesting to note that 'Plask' is actually the Norwegian word for 'Splash'. I chose this as a name for my store for two reasons: 1) I love the sound of the word and feel that it resonates in any language, and 2) the west coast of Norway is one of the wettest places on earth and receives over 3 meters or 10 feet of rain a year. The perfect place to develope designs for the items I make.

2. How long have you been crafting for yourself before you decided to share your designs with other?

-- I can't remember if it was my mother or my grandmother who taught me how to crochet, but I was shown at an early age and then started flying on my own after that. When I first moved to Norway as a newly wed with my husband, money was tight while I went to school to learn the language instead of working. My mother-in-law taught me to knit and everyone that year received socks for Christmas. Once I could do both things, I spent the next 5 years or so playing with different stitches and techniques. It wasn't until I found Etsy and I became more focussed on creating finished products with a high degree of professionalism.

3. Where do you get your inspiration?

-- I actually get my inspiration for the materials I come across. How do I make a bag full of wool, each ball a different color, into a spectacular object that someone will love to have on their body? What will happen if I cut up this kitchen curtain with with gorgeous colors into one continuous strip and make a hat out of it? What can plastic be made into? How do all these different materials feel against the skin? This is the part of the journey I enjoy the most.

4. Is there a funny story where you accidentally screwed something up, but it turned out better than you planned?

-- Not really a funny story, but a long-term learning experience. In the beginning, I didn't understand that a lot of the items I made did look very good at all, until I was finally finished with the product and the decorating of it. Then about 6 months ago I met a landscape painter who was visiting a friend of mine. I saw the stages of his work (I had really seen the beginning stages of a painting) and saw that his work didn't look very good at this point either. This realization made me focus on the final vision of my product and not pay so much attention to how it appears before I get to that stage.

5. How do you see yourself down the road?

-- I really don't know where my creative journey will take me, but I'm pretty much open to anything and any type of material.

6. Do you do this for fun or for serious business?

-- A little bit of both. The economical social structure of Norway is one that I could not live off my work, pay my mortgage payments and keep my children feed. I will be continuing to work in my career (which in itself is very creative) for many years to come. But I am continually thinking of, and planning for perhaps 20 years in the future when I'll be approaching retirement. I hope to have created enough success that I can begin to cut back on my hours of work as I get older.

7. Do you ever get a creative block?

-- I am a mother of two youngsters, aged 4 and 6. I work full time and my husband also works full time shift work. Life is incredibly busy already, but we also add in weekend mountain hikes, trips to our sea-side cabin as well as skiing trips in the winter. This is of course after the house gets vaccuumed. I simply don't have time to have a creative block: there's always an etsy project that needs to be worked on or finished.

8. What is one favorite thing that you made and felt bad selling it - only because you liked it so much?

-- I absolutely love most of my gloves. They're my favorite things to make. Most of them turn out much better than I had envisioned and I always question if 'these' will be the latest pair that I will give to myself.

9. What is a normal day like for you?

-- My husband wakes up around 5am. I usually don't sleep well after that so am often up at 5.45 or so. I make myself coffee, check etsy, my team blogs, my private blog and then my email to see if I received any news from home.
-- 6.30 - 8.00: pack lunches, wake and dress the kids, feed them breakfast, dress and deliver them to the places they need to be and then head to work.
-- 4.00ish - start heading home and pick up the kids. Start dinner if I'm home first. Eat. Start kids on an activity while I do some laundry or clean up the kitchen. Spend some quality time with the kids. Get kids ready for bed, read stories, sing, kiss them goodnight.
-- 8.00ish - do a bit more laundry or one more housework job.
-- 8.30ish - the night is mine and I can work on Etsy. Do check Etsy itself, my blogs, then get to work until about 10.00 pm. Then go to sleep and start the whole thing again the next day.

10. What else interests you besides your craft?

-- Our family spends a lot of time outside. We go on mountain hikes (some are spoken about on my blog: and have a sea side cabin we often visit. Here we do a lot of fishing, as well cutting down trees and chopping firewood. During the right times of the year we harvest in a lot of blueberries, raspberries, and apples.

11. Is there something you would like to say as the end of the talk?

--- I think those who use Etsy as an area to shop and/or sell should really start realizing and understanding that they are at the very beginning of a new politican and economic part of history. I truly believe that the internet levels the feilds between big corporations and the private seller. I also believe that in the future (and hopefully during my lifetime) I will be able to see the demise of big industry and the rise of local industries of all types: manufacturing, agriculture and farming, and possibly even areas such as energy creation. Wouldn't that be cool?

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Naugty Christmas Stuff

A number of years after I discovered that Santa Claus wasn't real, it became apparent to me that I'd have to make my own Christmas cheer.

Christmas truly does begin again after the age of 30.


Saturday, 27 September 2008

Childhood Treasures from Down Under

I found this fantastic artist on Etsy when I was looking for Christmas gifts for my two neices.... aged 3 and 1. All of my family lives in Canada, while I live in Norway, so sending gifts can be a bit of a challenge. If clothes do not fit properly, they cannot be returned. We have to think of size and weight when shipping. We have to consider that items might be broken on the way... although of course there is not so much we do about that in any case.

I had considered for some time of perhaps sending these two girls art work that they could hang on their walls and look at during the quiet times of their days, namely in the morning and evenings. There is a artwork enough on Etsy geared towards children, but when I saw the work of Lloyd, who goes by the user name of TummyMountain on Etsy, I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for.

TummyMountain's work is appealing on a lot of different levels. The pictures are simple and without a lot of complicated visual details. The simple faces of the children could be *any* child. The pictures themselves are not static, but have an energy and an expectant engery that flows through them. Something is always about to happen or a new world has just been created. It's something that all of us can recognize from out own childhoods, and in the lives of our children.

And who can not smile at the full fury of a little youngster that doesn't have his or her own way? There's something precious and beautiful about even this.

And finally, the small disasters that come about from trying to be adults in a world children don't quite have access to yet. Even when we know we should be angry at them, they have our full sympathies.

I purchased two paintings for my neices, and have been informed that Lloyd and his wife have gone to the extra effort to find the perfect holiday wrapping for two small ones, who probably will only appreciate the wrapping paper at this stage of the game.. This is perhaps not so easy to do at the end of September, when the rest of the world is still getting used to the start of school and the upcoming of Halloween. They have certainly made my day and I just felt I had to share my treasure with the rest of the world.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Norwegian Fall Foliage

It has always amazed me that so many flowers and colors come a live in autumn in Norway, when the days are growing darker and darker by almost 10 minutes a day. The sun falls lower and lower in the sky. There's a constant chill in the air.

And still.... flowers open up and bow down to the light.

This is Lyng, or Heather. It is the national flower of Norway. Here it is blooming in a light lilac color.

Here you would think that it was the month of May.... not the end of September.

Here is ivy that I know was cut way back last spring.

And finally rosehips..... you always got to love the colors of these!

!!New Contest!!

This contest is now closed. The winner of this contest was
Congratulations to her and stay tuned for future contests that will
be coming soon to this site.

This contest is to help me learn about the popularity of alternative postcards, with knitted postcards in mind.

To participate: simply answer the questions below honestly in the comment section. There are no right and wrong answers and the winner will be chosen randomly through a draw when the contest is over. Be sure to give me information so I can contact you: if I cannot contact you through your blog, then send me an email address so that I can deliver the prize.

The prize: the prize is a knitted post card of your choice, as well as a 'Gullbrød'. This is one of the most popular and traditional chocolate bars of Norway. It is actually a marsipan bar (Norwegian marsipan is *less* sweet than the marsipan found in Great Britain or German) dipped in dark chocolate. The prize can either be sent to you, or to a friend as a gift.

Deadline: October 3rd, 2008 at 9pm Norwegian time. (I do have to wait until my children have gone to sleep). :)

Questions to be answered: Under what circumstances would you buy a knitted/textile postcard? Have you purchased them in the past? Would you consider purchasing them in the future?

** A Reminder ** You will not be punished for giving a negative answer. This is a contest designed to gather information. :)

Good Luck to all those who participate!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Included in another Treasury! Yeah!

It must mean that autumn/winter truly is coming.... and I'm getting more popular. :)

Monday, 22 September 2008

Being A Smart Alec - Parental Discretion is Advised

What can I say? I feel like being a smart alec. I've been making beautiful flowers and designs on my pieces of art for over a year, and now I need a change. Don't get me wrong, I like making flowers. I like making beautiful designs. But I do have another side of me that is fighting to emerge - I will make a place for this in my store as well.

So it came down to the question: what would a smart alec say in the dead of winter when everyone else is complaining about how cold it is? And after a little thinking, 'Bith My Ass Jack Frost' comes forth as the one with the most humor. I am curious to know what others will think of this creation.

Any comments are welcome!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

A Family Hike Kjærlighets Stien

My husband has been working all weekend, so while I did not want to give up our weekend hike, I certainly did not think I was willing to take both kids with me up a mountain by myself. So instead I took them up Kjærlighets Stien, which translates as 'Lover's Path.' The name has always confounded me as there's certainly no place on this hike to get cosy, anywhere. The pictures I have will show this. Most of the time it's pretty wet as well.

In any case I chose this hike today as it actually allows us to circle our house. We walk down the hill from our house, along the main road....

...through this tunnel and about another 500 meters along the main road before turning upwards into the woods.

Here is the very beginning of the pathway that heads upwards. As one can see, in the beginning both my children were full of energy.

I do have to admit that I did let the kids decide how fast we would be hiking. So this involved stopping at every creek and water hole (4 of them), inspecting every large hole in the ground for sleeping animals (of which thankfully there never are....), and playing on every fallen tree.

Here is a picture showing one of the easier parts of the hike. One has to watch their feet all the time. My son did well - my daughter however fell flat on her stomach 4 times. But she's tough - never once did she cry or complain. She's a real trooper.

While they took time playing, I was able to have fun looking through the trees.

At this part of the path, the forest clears out and a number of large trees appear. No one has told me this, but I can only assume that when this land was owned by farmers 50, 100, 150 years ago, this was part of the area where they used to plant trees for their children and grandchildren. The building of resources for future use (in this case large, straight, wide trees that could be cut into planks to build houses/barns) needed to be planned. I *think* these trees must have been planted sometime in the past as they are all growing in pretty much a straight line. But their usefulness is not needed these days.

More of the rocky path..... (certainly no place here to bring a blanket and snuggle up for the night). :)

Finally, it appears that we have found the very last blueberries to be found in this forest!

This is usally a hike that takes my 40 minutes when I partially run it. Today it took me/us 2.5 hours. But we had fun!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Autumn and Winter are Starting to Creep In....

As I get a bit older, my favorite season is starting to change from summer to autumn. Summer is great when you're 18, do not have a lot of responsibilities, have lots of extra cash to spend and can be up all night and still function the next day. Now I'm 35, have two small kids with their activities to drive them back and forth from, a full time job and a house to take care of. And while my life is still pretty minimalistic compared to some, it's still busy enough that the heat of summer wipes me out and makes me, at times, a bit grouchy. :)
The cooler weather of autumn is a welcome sight. And speaking of visual clues, when I was 18 the changing colors of leaves and grass was something to be depressed about - summer and freedom was over; hard work (or what I thought hard work was at the time) and school had begun again.
But now I greet the colors for the beauty that they are. I had never seen nature as a painted landscape earlier in life as I do now. In addition, the changing colors signal at life is getting easier for me. The welcome routines for me and my family have returned and while I'm not sure my children will admit it, I believe that they also welcome the security of routines again. The temperature has sunk by almost 10 degrees and everyone is much more efficient at getting what they need to get done, done. The nights are getting darker and all the birds and other animals of Norway are also sleeping at night (in the summer they can sing and play 24 hours a day... and do it loudly!).
Yepp - it has taken me 35 years to get here.... but now I join the ranks of all the other intelligent people and say, I LOVE AUTUMN.

*Contest* - Winner will be chosen on Friday September 26th, 2008.

This contest is now closed.
The winner was 'layla'.
Be sure to check back in a couple of hours to see what the next contest is about.

This contest is simple. I would like to know what is most the most popular or most needed piece of winter wear: fingerless gloves, winter hat with ear flaps, winter hat without earflaps, short scarf or long scarf.

Write your answer in the comments section and on Friday September 26th I'll put all of the names into a hat and draw out a winner. The winner can then choose a pair of fingerless gloves from my store and I will send them to the winner free of charge + free shipping. If there is another item that is wanted, I will give a 30.00 rebate + free shipping.

Could life be easier?

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Another Textual Sensations Scarf

Here is another one of my Textual Sensation creations that will be put up for sale tomorrow, September 19th, 2008. I was given everything used to make this scarf by two different people.

My next door neighbor is also an advid crafter (mostly sewing, but some knitting as well). She has two children that are smaller than mine and receives all of my clothes that do not fit my children anymore. To show her appreciation to me (although I thought it was her who was doing me a favor - it's much easier to go next door with bags of clothes instead of driving 35 minutes to the nearest Salvation Army Drop Off Center) she bought me a large bag of different types of wool from the Dale Factory that's located north of us.

The material I used to make the appliques (Dreaming of Sunshine) came from a number of cool curtains that a friend of my sister-in-law's was wanting to get rid of. She certainly did not want to throw them out as there was nothing wrong with them. She just didn't want to have them anymore. And in Norway we pay for all the trash that is taken away from our houses (meaning if you only set out your trash container once every two weeks, you save a lot of money), so these curtains would be filling up a large space in her trash container she could be saving for something else.

All in all, it was a win-win situation for everyone. This includes the lucky customer who will decide to buy this product one day. :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Industrial Knitted Postcards with Environmental Message

My quest to use up every single piece of material that I would otherwise throw away has really forced me to use and stretch my brain in ways I had not imagined. And I hope this is just the beginning.

Below are various knitted postcards that I have produced. They are made from wool leftovers that are too small to make gloves or scarves from.... or are made from other items that have outlived their usefulness for whatever reason. These may include but are not limited to the kitchen curtains and last years Christmas table cloth that Uncle Louis permanently stained. I am also looking forward to making more of these from my store as well.

The above is made from kitchen curtains from our cabin that no longer could be used, but which had some really cool colors. I have also made a hat from this material and gave it to a little girl down the street.

The above is part of that Christmas tablecloth mentioned above - it is mixed with green yarn. I did this on a whim and felt like the result looked wet, slimy and murky. Hense the old 50's movie title popped into my head.

And here's something to do with all my left over green bits that actually looks cool.

And finally one of my favorites. I plan to make lots of these appliques to help get the message across!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

My continued experiment with combining text and textiles has got me on a personal high. It didn't take me long to discover that you could really put text on anything. Messages for better or worse, can be conveyed, and are perhaps they're most powerful, when they are not found on or in traditional reading venues.

At the moment I'm still having fun - so the texual messages I'm using are harking back to a time of innocence, or of innocent longing. On this crocheted scarf I've written, I've created appliques that display the message: Baby It's Cold Outside.

For those who know the song and the fun playing of wills that it represents, it should bring back memories and ideas of a 1940's and 1950's Christmas. When the snow fell but it wasn't in someone's way. When stores were closed over Christmas and it was a time to be shared with families. When families still lived in closer proximity to each other.

Because the text is spaced throughout the length of the scarf, it will certainly cause you to be the center of attention. People will have to come up close to you, and unless they're the senseless Walmart brand of people, they will converse with you and compliment you on your unusual piece of clothing.

Now that I've been working with this style for a few weeks now, my mind is opening up to a lot more power phrases and ideas, most of which are quite political in nature. I'm really pondering how far ideas can be stretched, and what may be the consequences of this path, both positive and negative. Having said this, I feel that this path will be 95% positive and I am so excited to go exploring down it.

I'm also looking forward to hearing other people's reaction to both the articles I've created now, as well as simply the idea that I've started describing here. So should you have a reaction, do not hesitate to send it as a comment on this blog, or as a message through my store which can be reached through the Plast Design Link located above on the right hand side.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Hiking as a Family in Norway

On the west coast of Norway hiking trails, mountains and forests lie in great abundance. Every city and neighborhood is built right against them, making nature very available to every single person. On the island of Askøy where we live, our neighborhood is right at the base of a mountain Kolbeinsvarden. My husband and I often take individual hikes up there in the evenings and weekends. But this Sunday was the first time we took the entire family, which consists of our son and daughter who are six and four years old.

The above picture is the very beginning of the trail that leads through a feild, then uphill through a forest before finally coming beyond the tree line and onto the mountain top. This entrance to the wilderness is actually only 15 minutes from our house and my husband and I never drive here. But considering we wanted to make this a pleasureable experience for the entire family (ourselves included) we drove to the starting line. Here you can see the trail winding it's way into the forest.

And here we have started to make our ascent upwards through the trees. At this moment the trail is pretty even, without too many obstacles. However, this type of terrain makes up only about 20 - 30% of the actual trail. Usually there are large boulders to climb over/around, large tree roots that one has to navigate through, and steep rock inclines to pull yourself up and over.

Looking from the trail into the forest. One of the greatest things about the wilderness of Norway is that it isn't very wild at all. There are a few bears, but they are all located on the very east side of Norway, bordering with Sweden. There are some poisonous snakes called Hoggorms, but these are quite small and timid. Although you know they are about during the summer, a person can go several years between each time one is seen. If there's any danger involved, it's usually because one is busy looking at the beautiful nature surrounding them and not where they are planting their feet.

Close to the tree line, the terrain consists of smooth rock surfaces. These are much easier to climb up than to climb down! My little trooper of a girl is making her way upwards with her Pappa.

Breaking through the trees, we come to a small pond. My children are convinced they're are frogs in this pond as there are lots of lily pads. I for one have never seen a frog here, but I would not be surprised to discover that this is true. Today however we were surrounded by lots of and lots of beautiful dragonflies, most of them red or blue in color. This was a bit of a surprise to us as the leaves are starting to turn color and the breezes that blow have a hint of winter in them already. By next weekend, the dragonflies could be gone as well.

There is a bit of true mountain climbing on this trail as well - in front of us here is a rock crevace that we need to climb through. Today the kids thought this was the best part of the hike as this area is probably where all the pirates and theives hide when they're being chased by the law.

Most of the flat areas of the trail are quite boggy. Mud pools need to be walked around, and for those that cannot be walked around, wooden plank bridges have been placed for people to walk over. Here you can see them stretching out into the distance, right up to the point where the woman in white is hiking ahead of us.

And here is the top of Kolbeinsvarden. Although it is difficult to see in this photo, there were 15 people already at the top when I took this photo. At the top there is a book that one can write their name in each time they make it to the top. It was a very good day to have my kids write their names in this book for the first time. When the book is complete, it is added to the other books that have also had their stay at the top of the mountain in the library of the community. I would estimate that on an average week day 30+ people write their name in that book and on the weekend a number of pages can be filled up with names. It was actually a bit difficult for me to take pictures without taking pictures of other people who probably didn't want to have their figures posted on the internet.

And at the top of the mountain we look out in all directions. The above picture is us looking into Bergen.

Here is us looking in the direction of our house and where we parked the car. We have hiked just over 4 km, or just under 2 miles. Our house is located about halfway between where we are standing and the bridge in the distance.

And here we are looking west, out into the great blue Atlantic.

North west, also eventually out into the North Atlantic ocean.

Finally north looking towards Sognafjorden.

The entire trip took us just under two hours, and you can bet we are very proud of our little ones!