A little bit of everything

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It’s only a few more days left of November before the season of the lights is here. The evenings are longer and darker, and it’s getting colder out there. That is why I enjoy the time that we now have in front of us. I don’t know about you but I love it when December slowly sneaking up on us, knowing that soon…very soon we will put up all the decorations and the Christmas tree. To make the house look cosy with all the lights and the cute decorations that we put up here and there.

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My Christmas mood usually arrives somewhere in October, when I feel the “itch” in my fingers to create new illustrations for the winter and Christmas season. However this year I am somewhat late and haven’t been as productive as I use to, but the reason to that is many. But the Christmas cards has been sorted and they are ready to be written and sent out to family and friends. I have been busy changing job, and it takes a while to get into the hang of things. I am also doing my studies, which I really enjoy, I love learning new things and particularly something that really interests me.

 

Some may think that forensic science is a boring subject, but to me it is very interesting. And basically, when it comes down to it, it is really crime scene investigation it is all about. It is just many areas to get into, and mainly to get the methods and procedures right. No one knows where this will take me, but I will definitely continue this journey, if ever so slowly.

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This is how messy my study desk can look at times, but you should really see when I have all the books out, and the thing is that I use them all occasionally, and I like having useful reference books.

It takes a lot of patience and discipline. And how do you manage that when having a full time job to take care of? Well if it is something that you really like I think it is easier, and I feel like a sponge, I am just sucking up all the knowledge I can in this area.

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This week was a busier than the previous weeks, so I might just take this weekend to catch up on things at home, might be a cycle tour on Sunday if the weather is good enough. The weather tend to be a bit more unreliable these days. This evening it has gotten colder again, the wind is biting through everything. But if you wrap up well you should be alright. But I won’t worry about that too much now, I won’t know until Sunday morning anyway, so why worry? Why worry about things that we have no control over?

However I have to admit that there lives a little ‘worrier’  (no not warrior) inside me. I think we all doubt things every once in a while. I notice that this evening I am typing as my mind wander, I seem to be all over the place but I can assure you that I have things under control, at least I think so. It’s just that sometimes when I sit down to prepare myself to write my blog post, things are coming to me from every direction and I have a hard time keeping up. My fingers are flying over the keyboard.

Advent – One of Sweden’s Christmas Traditions Here you can read more about the Swedish traditions when it comes to Christmas. I think that is why I love putting up the lights and Christmas decorations early in December, because that is what I always have been use to do. We always put up the lights at the first of advent. And some years that would fall in the last Sunday in November. But this is that start of the big countdown until 24th of December which is our big day.

I have never liked the craziness about getting a lot of stuff, but I really enjoy the preparations and my speciality is to do the baking. Which reminds me I need to root out my special Christmas recipes. I have a few things I only bake at Christmas.

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Well, I will leave you on this note for now, and wish you a fantastic and relaxing weekend.

~ Eva’s Chronicles ~

 

 

Rambles by an enthusiastic cyclist

IMG_1430You may think that cycling is not a yearround sport, but in fact it is. In the club I am a member, we get out all year, well during the winter we get out and about as often as the weather allows us to. We are not that crazy that we would get out cycling on a Sunday morning if the rain is poring down, everything in moderation as the wise guys use to say. And this morning it was absolutely beautiful. Yes, the wind was blowing but it was not as bad as it had been earlier in the week. We had a really bad week weather wise, we had rain falling and it was not falling straight down no no, it was falling on the side and to make it even more interesting, we had very heavy winds as well. So judge of my excitement wanting to get out and about was just equal to zero. All I wanted to do once I had finished work was to go home, put my feet up in front of the fire place. That is the best feeling ever, when the weather is rough outside.

But this morning we actually had lovely sunshine and the temperature was down to +4 degrees Celcius or so, not too bad and if you wrap up well you’ll be ok. It is important before getting out, to think “layers” and preferably to use sports gear that is breathable and transporting the heat from the body out through the layers. But the clothes you’re wearing should not be too heavy, because when you’re working your way along on the bike, you will get warm and at some stage today I felt like a steam cooker, could almost imagine the steam poring out through my jacket. But, I was not cold and I could not feel the cold from the wind getting through my layers and onto my bare skin. We had the sun in our face going out on our spin, and the sunglasses were getting steamy as you were getting warm from the exercise. So, go figure.

DSC00724I do live in the most beautiful spot in Ireland, well in my opinion. Co Wicklow has so much beauty with the mountains, the hills  and also the sea. And something that we do have a lot of are hills, and depending on the route we decide to take, there are always some hills that we need to climb. Today we were taking the coast road and stayed most of the spin on the lower roads due to the wind, and here I was thinking, yep that works for me. But then when we turned towards Glenealy I was thinking o-oh I know this route and there are some hills we need to get by on the way back to our end spot. And since we usually stick to the more quiet roads with less traffic, there are some really narrow and hilly roads.

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This picture here on the left, is taken down by the rail road going from Wicklow town and into Dublin city. My husband and I often get down to the beach in Kilcoole and go for a walk. But you will see the hills and mountains in the background in this photo.

Not every spin we do is as hard as it felt today, but the fact that it was my first spin in 4 weeks, so my legs were like spagetti by the time we finished after 50km up and down the roads/hills. But that doesn’t stop me from keep doing it, because it gives you so much boost of energy and you get the opportunity to be out in the fresh air too. I will rest for a day or two and then I will be fit for fight again. And, I am so grateful that I have the physique and health to keep doing this, and to see all those beautiful views along the way comes like a huge bonus. And hopefully we will keep having those clear fresh days, with no frost or ice.

Have a great week everyone and live life to the fullest!

~ Eva’s Chronicles ~

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit slowly making its way into your home? For some it may be too early yet, and for others the preparations are in full speed ahead. As for myself, I am slowly getting there. I am sort of getting the “itch” in my fingers to draw and illustrate pictures relating to winter and Christmas at around October or so, and I sit down and create some new snowmen or some new characters. And this year is no different really, well the only thing might be that I am a wee bit slower this year, but that is because I have and am busy with a few different things at the moment. But I always try to find some time in between to make some illustrations.

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This is my most recent illustration, and yet again the theme is winter (of course) and then the snowmen. In this illustration I have been mixing watercolor and acrylics.

I am one of those people that simply love Christmas. Why is that? Well, I think that I love the warm sentiments it is giving, and you get some sort of inner longing. I do have nice memories of Christmas when I was a little girl, and in Sweden we usually had a lot of snow at Christmas time. It was so beautiful when the landscape was covered in a white cover of snow. I remember that when you got outside, it was a lot quieter than usual, if you lived on the country side that is. And as I did, and we spent a lot of time skiing and playing out in the snow for hours and hours and by the time you got inside, our feet were icy cold and it took some time to get warm again. But as a child you didn’t really feel that while you were out there having fun.

In Sweden we have some nice traditions, and there is one that I am going to share with you, it’s a poem written by Viktor Rydberg and it is called “Tomten”. Tomte is the Swedish word for Gnome, and in Sweden we have an old tradition that is almost like a folklore, that there were gnomes living on the farms, helping the farmers look after all the kritters and animals during the night. And the farmers always put out some bread/bisquits and milk for them in the evening and in the morning it was emptied. This poem is read every Christmas in many places, and I remember that the teachers were reading it in school. Anyway, it goes like this:

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold
The stars glitter and sparkle.
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Deep in the winter night.
The pale white moon is a wanderer,
snow gleams white on pine and fir,
snow gleams white on the roofs.
The tomte alone is awake.

Gray, he stands by the low barn door,
Gray by the drifted snow,
Gazing, as many winters he’s gazed,
Up at the moon’s chill glow,
Then at the forest where fir and pine
Circle the farm in a dusky line,
Mulling relentlessly
A riddle that has no key.

Rubs his hand through his beard and hair,
Shakes his head and his cap.
“No, that question is much too deep,
I cannot fathom that.”
Then making his mind up in a hurry,
He shrugs away the annoying worry;
Turns at his own command,
Turns to the task at hand.

Goes to the storehouse and toolshop doors,
Checking the locks of all,
While the cows dream on in the cold moon’s light,
Summer dreams in each stall.
And free of harness and whip and rein,
Even Old Pålle dreams again.
The manger he’s drowsing over
Brims with fragrant clover.

The tomte glances at sheep and lambs
Cuddled in quiet rest.
The chickens are next, where the rooster roosts
High above straw filled nests.
Burrowed in straw, hearty and hale,
Karo wakens and wags his tail
As if to say, “Old friend, “Partners we are to the end.”

At last the tomte tiptoes in
To see how the housefolk fare.
He knows full well the strong esteem
They feel for his faithful care.
He tiptoes into the children’s beds,
Silently peers at their tousled heads.
There is no mistaking his pleasure:
These are his greatest treasure.

Long generations has he watched
Father to son to son
Sleeping as babes. But where, he asks,
From where, from where have they come?
Families came, families went,
Blossomed and aged, a lifetime spent,
Then-Where? That riddle again
Unanswered in his brain!

Slowly he turns to the barnyard loft,
His fortress, his home and rest,
High in the mow, in the fragrant hay
Near to the swallow’s nest.
The nest is empty, but in the spring
When birds mid leaves and blossoms sing,
And come with her tiny mate.

Then will she talk of the journey tell.
Twittering to all who hear it,
But nary a hint for the question old
That stirs in the tomte’s spirit.
Now through cracks in the haymow wall
The moon lights tomte and hay and all,
Lights his beard through the chinks,
The tomte ponders and thinks.

Still is the forest and all the land,
Locked in this wintry year.
Only the distant waterfall
Whispers and sighs in his ear.
The tomte listens and, half in dream,
Thinks that he hears Time’s endless stream,
And wonders, where is it bound?
Where is its source to be found?

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold,
The stars glitter and sparkle.
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Late in this winter night.
The pale white moon is a wanderer,
snow gleams white on pine and fir,
snow gleams white on the roofs.
The tomte alone is awake.

By: Viktor Ryberg

This is only one of many traditions we have around Christmas, in Sweden. I will share more of our traditions in my next post. And to be totally honest I really like those old traditions. I am not a big fan of that they have commersialized Christmas nowdays. Christmas is not really about “things”, it’s more about being with your family to celebrate isn’t it? Well, having said that it’s not that I do not like getting one christmas present or two, but everything in moderation as someone once said. And I cannot wait to put up the Christmas decorations, I absolutely love all the lights and candles, the ornaments in the Christmas tree, the cute little things etc.

Gnome and Mouse

I will end this post with this little fellow, the Gnome is sitting with his friend the Mouse on a winters day.

~Eva’s Chronicles ~

What a beautiful life…!

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.”   Proverb

SONY DSCSometimes we walk through life thinking that everything we do is mediocre and dull. And we may think that we are not achieving anything, instead we are looking at everybody else and they seem to have one success after another. They are happily smiling and looking all relaxed and if they don’t have one care in the world. I often wonder why we keep comparing ourselves to others?

Life is not a competition, there’s nothing that says that we have to do things in a certain way, that we need to live our lives like this or that. I myself falls in to the category of people that use to think very low of myself, and having very low self-esteem. And that was because of many circumstances that I had to live through since I was very young. I was often asking myself why don’t I live in a happy family? Why don’t I have all the fancy clothes that every other girls in school seems to have? Why can’t we have that tight family connection? Well, the list is long, but these are few of the questions I often use to ask myself when I was a lot younger than I am today.

Does it sound familiar to you? Have you had the same type of thoughts? Well, do not give up, that is my humble advice. Life is what it is and we simply have to make the best of it as we possibly can. However, to me it took many years before I started to change the way I was looking at things and life itself. I never really revolted as a teenager, let’s put it this way my puberty was somewhat delayed. It was not until I was in my mid thirties that I simply turned around and started to ‘revolt’ and refusing to do things the way that other people were expecting me to. All those years of accepting and just coping had been effecting me of course. And as I always say that Rome was not built in one dayto change the way you see things and how you do things, it does take time.

When I was in my late thirties I left my home country to go to work in Ireland. And that was really saving me from going under as a person, that was a step I had to do. Because firstly I needed a job, and it seems like it was easier to get a job abroad than in my own country due to high competition. And since I didn’t have any academic education I was doomed to fail, in a way. My simple thought was, that I didn’t have anything to loose really. And I desperately needed a new start for myself, and one thing I haven’t been afraid of is to take the leap and start new things. I can only look back on the past nine years living here in Ireland, how I have been going as a person and gotten a lot stronger in myself.

I have always been interested in people and their behaviour. I suppose I spent a lot of time observing others when I was growing up, and I came across some really horrible behaviour very close in our family. But I am not going to go into any details about it, just that it has changed my view of life a bit. And I vouch for simplicity in my life, there’s no need to make things more complicated than they need to be. And today I received response from my first assessment in the forensic science course I am taking, the tutor was giving me a good score on it and this made me feeling proud of myself, it gave me such esteem and energy. It made me saying to myself, you are good at what you are doing. I am totally in for this and know this is going to be a good thing.

Think of the caterpillar that thought that life was ending, and he turned in to a butterfly. I think that is a good comparison, but perhaps sometimes hard to see yourself at. But, do not give up or loose yourself in the process, when you are going through something hard or when people are treating you unfairly. Just raise above them and do what you have to do and what is good for YOU! I cannot emphasise enough how important you are for yourself.

Wishing everybody a great weekend!

Eva’s Chronicles (praying for France and it’s people after the terrible attacks they experienced on Friday)

To live in the moment

“What day is it? asked Pooh. It is today, squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day. said Pooh”

  
Life is one big roller coaster, it goes up and down as the days passes. Some days we are facing difficult tasks or hurdles, that at times can discourage us and make us feel demotivated and at times down. How many of you haven’t had that big lump in your stomach of discomfort when you are standing in front of something unpleasant? I am raising my hand up for that question. Recently I have been facing some obstacles that I simply had to jump over, well not really jump but you get the idea. But what a relief once I had made that jump, and also knowing you have med the right decision, what is best for you. Well, basically I, for once, dared to enter through that door that was opened in front of me. And at that moment I realized that I simply could  not let this opportunity pass me by, so I litterally had to take the bull by the horns and go for it.

And then we have those days when everything is just hunky dory, and everything runs smoothly. At those moments you wish that it could stay that way, when you would have no obstacles to climb, or no negative people to deal with or whatever it might be. When I am having those periods of good times, when everything is in harmony and you spend little time worrying about what’s laying ahead etc. I too know that there will come days that are a little bit more challenging, and that calls for a great deal of patience and common sense, perhaps. There is one thing that I have learned, and that is to live in the moment – here and now

I try to not spend too much time worrying, some days it’s hard and some days it is easier, suppose it depends on the circumstances. But, to take things and life for what it is, is a good thing. One other thing I have learned is that life is fragile and can change from one second to another. And my little advice to you is to not pushing things that you wish to do or acomplish til tomorrow, just seize the day and live your life TODAY! Tomorrow can be too late. 

There is another quote that I like: 

  
I created this illustration sometime earlier this year. And I really like the sentiment of it. He was a wise little teddy bear, Pooh, don’t you think?  It is just so simple but yet so difficult (at times) to live by.

~ Eva’s Chronicles ~