Creation of a retreat

Over the course of the weekend (which for me included headaches, panic-mode, and generally feeling stressed out and tired) I decided to convert the stuffed corner behind my desk into a place for contemplation/prayer/calm-down. I need a place without chaos, without technology, without distraction.

Basic ideas

  • the corner should feel airy, but separate form the surrounding space
  • keyword: sensory deprivation. I even joked about getting myself a huge cardboard box from the attic to climb into when the world is too full of sounds and visual input; but I decided to go with white and just keep it simple.
  • no additional purchases (in the beginning I had planned to get things from Ikea, bad me) – I want a place to get away from hoarded stuff, so buying new things would be counterproductive
  • working title of the project: “warrior’s retreat” – I want to become stronger in mind, soul, and body, while learning to relax, to focus, to relearn stillness and mindfulness, and to be angry or stressed out less often
  • I’d like to spend at least ten minutes each day in my tiny retreat and allow my mind to wander a little, maybe read a bit … ideal would be ten minutes in the morning plus ten minutes before going to bed, but I’ll take small steps for now

Current concept

  • I turned around my art supply shelf to add a third wall (not very high, but high enough for when sitting close to the floor, see next item) and to keep the area closer to the empty stretch of wall and away from my desk at the opposite wall
  • a surplus palette (left over from replacing our sofa with palettes and beanbag chairs) is stored in the attic and will become a slightly elevated, airy “floor” – we have a slight problems with cold drafts here and a bit of elevation will make it feel more like a proper separate sitting area while retaining the feeling of being close to the ground by sitting on a flat surface
  • to provide a softer ceiling and the illusion of a fourth wall I salvaged my old bed canopy aka cheap mosquito net from of the get-rid-of-this-stuff box (instead some other items ended up in that box) and hung it from the overhead wall shelf by digging up one of the adhesive hooks I had bought for the bathroom some time ago
  • our old sofa throw (something between off-white, beige, and pastel yellow) will become the first layer on top of the palette
  • an old woven rug (mostly red, white, and a little black) my mother gave me for my first apartment will be either folded as a cushion or just run across the whole palette, depends on what I like better in the end
  • one of the Ikea “Skurar” plant pots which had served as a candle holders on our wedding day will be repurposed to hold a pen, a small notepad, and maybe a feather plus some fragrance (e.g. a single star anise from my stash in the kitchen)
  • one or two books; currently I think I’ll put my study bible and a capoeira book inside
  • a glass tumbler of fresh, cold water
  • maybe one of our small white or grey metal lanterns (also wedding decoration) will be added for soothing light and to focus on to calm down

Do you have a place in your home for contemplation and/or calming down? I’d like to hear about it and maybe see pictures :)

Kitchen Greenhouse Update: 418 – I’m a Teapot!

P1310340.resized

5:30 a.m. on a Saturday – creative break from writing my master’s thesis. I decided it was time for this old teapot to be turned into something beautiful. Hopefully I’ll find some lavender to plant it among the ivy.

Gallery of recent additions to my upcycling project – turning juice-to-go plastic cups into art. I like the combination of the clear cups and ivy growing upwards along the drinking straw.

green kitchen: update

Remember last year’s post about my attempts to turn our kitchen into a greenhouse? I think it’s time for an update:

P1310122.resized

One of my many hobbies: filling all kinds of old containers with green life. Mostly ivy, sempervivum, and some fern, aloe vera, moss, and a green plant I can’t name (but it multiplies on its own). I love ivy. And how adorable is the sempervivum in the little milk jug? Not sure yet what to do with the old tea kettle in the background  I found recently – use it to brew ginger tea, or plant ivy (or maybe lavender) inside?

P1310124.resized

Ivy in a cracked glass pitcher we don’t use anymore as it leaks (so I just put already potted ivy inside instead of filling the pitcher itself with soil the way I’d have preferred to).

P1310125.resized

As I said, this kind of plant multiplies. It starts to grow a “child” dangling from the mother plant, which you then put into water until it grows its own roots; then it can be potted and cut off. This little family lives on top of our fridge, next to the coffee making thing.

All the Make-up Stuff I Use Sometimes

Normally I don’t wear any make-up; I just put coconut oil on my skin after washing my face in the morning. Still, I own some make-up for when I want to look a little nicer (weddings, or having pictures taken). So this is what I own and use for the intended purpose … more or less.

First, concealer and compact powder. I don’t like liquid foundation and the likes – they never come in my light skin tone, they feel uncomfortable, and they cover up my freckles way too much. Without at least a hint of freckles I look like a pancake, so translucent powder it is. I own two shades – light and medium – by my favourite brand (a more natural option from the local drugstore, a lot less toxic than other cheap brands but still affordable). Light is pretty much my skin tone, just a tiny bit lighter. Medium is too dark for me most of the year (for a few weeks in summer it is okay-ish); I bought it by mistake. This one won’t be replaced. I don’t even know whether I’ll ever finish it before it starts to rot. For application I use either the fluffy pad that came with each powder, or the no-name brush I bought a while ago. The concealer is also by the natural brand and in the “light” shade. Its consistency is something between liquid and creamy. It’s supposed to be used under the eyes to hide dark circles; I use it mostly to cover up blemishes before applying the powder so no red spots will shine through.

IMG_2518_01.resized

I own three little boxes of eyeshadow, though most of the time I use just the plain one on the left, called “Warm Vanilla” (by a different toxin-free drugstore brand). The other two sets are by my usual brand. The last time I used the brownish set was for my wedding make-up last year, I believe; and even then I mostly used the two lightest shades (that’s why I bought the single colour pot of Warm Vanilla afterwards). The greyish tones are for when I wear my grey shorts and whatever grey clothing I own. Not used a lot in winter. One single brush, I don’t clean it very often as the shades in use are all very light and similar.

IMG_2519_01.resized

Other: Eyebrow pencil in “soft blond” with tiny brush on the cap, plus a dual sharpener. Red lipstick in “Terra”. Brown waterproof mascara by Manhattan (nearly empty), and brown mascara by my usual brand. The latter was a try to switch to a natural mascara as well, but they don’t offer a waterproof one in brown yet, and buying the normal one was a mistake; it smears all over the place as soon as my eyes water a little because of cold wind … so I’ll buy a new waterproof one by Manhattan again; I don’t use mascara that often anyways (even less than I wear other make-up), so the amount of toxic input is really limited – plus, it doesn’t touch the skin as much as the other make-up stuff.

IMG_2520_01.resized

Group shot: Most often used. Light powder and concealer, eyebrow pencil, lipstick, nude/neutral eyeshadow. I also managed to break the hinge off the eyeshadow pot today.

IMG_2521_01.resized

Apart from these I own two versions of black liquid eyeliner (waterproof and non-waterproof) which I use for drawing temporary tattoos. Somewhere I got an unused brown solid eyeliner as well, which I got as a sample and want to get rid of. Another thing I don’t use for make-up purposes are some cheap sponges – I use them for dabbing really thin layers of acrylics on art projects.

You might have noticed the lack of nail polish. I simply don’t use (or own) nail-polish at the moment. It always looks weird on me, plus very toxic. There are healthier options available now, but they are very expensive and as it probably wouldn’t look good anyway (and my husband doesn’t like nail polish) I just skip that for now. I might add one colour in summer for fun if I have some extra money to spend. And clear nail-polish to blunt the edges of hair accessories; but that’s a whole different story.

Most likely to be added though is a white pencil for making my eyes look bigger and brighter.

But as I said, most days I don’t use make-up and focus on getting healthy skin instead. Still a long way to go, but the less I wear make-up the less often my skin breaks out.

first attempt of making onigiri and a mini bento

A while ago I started looking at cute bentos and wondered whether it’d be fun making some myself. When we did our weekly grocery shopping last Saturday I decided to grab a bag of Japanese rice because I’m not particularly fond of non-sticky rice at the moment (and making mushy rice all the time just takes too long and can be messy). So today I ended up trying to make onigiri and then proceeded to eat most of them before taking pictures. But I saved the two I had made for my husband – both filled and decorated with a little chopped chilli and carrot – and included them in a mini bento:

P1300583

It neither looks perfect nor will it provide a full meal, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Two onigiri, some grapes, four salty licorice starfish, and a piece of espresso-filled chocolate. I put the sweets in a silicone muffin mould so the licorice and the rice won’t get mixed up. All stuff could be found in our kitchen. And if Darling doesn’t want to take this to work with him tomorrow I’ll gladly eat it all by myself!

I won’t be making these all the time, but once in a while I might try to pack a nice bento-style lunch for at least one of us. They’ll all come without any seaweeds – the ones they sell here have a warning on them about having an extremely high iodide content; I have to be a little careful with that stuff. And as I’m not that fascinated by the taste of nori I don’t really mind.

The ones I ate today where all either plain rice (still tasty) or with olives (also nice). But I should go and buy new salmon this weekend … mmmh, smoked salmon as a filling for onigiri. Would be nice with some pickles on the side. Or meatballs and tiny onigiri for dipping in my beloved peanut sauce to go with some slices of cucumber? I really need to replace this ancient cucumber in our vegetable box … it’s all wrinkled and close to becoming petrified.

 

 

fleamarket photos

Today I’ve been to the big open air fleamarket for the first time this year. I took some pictures of shiny stuff I didn’t want to buy as I just have no use for it.

You can click on this link to see more pictures:

https://starfishskiesphotography.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/fleamarket-colours/

Apart from taking pictures of random stuff I bought a box for my sewing utensils, a wooden wheel-board-thingy for the small tree in our living room, a white tunic blouse, and two small items I might give as gifts to other persons.

 

Reasons why city people are weird: part 1

City people are weird. For example they sell ordinary items found in nature for a lot of money for decoration. Dried pine cones, sticks, bark, all these things. The newest trend seems to be decorating with moss. Ordinary green moss, which I agree can look cool. But someone decided to sell moss for 2,50 € per small box at florists’. Moss. They labelled it with something like “real forest moss” to make it sound awesome and special, but it looks sort of dead and sad, and in some boxes more yellow than green.

When I was a kid my parents would pay us some extra pocket money for raking moss from the gaps in the pavement of our driveway because there was so much of it (small rainy town). Right now there is a lot of moss on the roof in front of our windows for free (big rainy city). And the city people around me spend money on moss in boxes.