Category Archives: Inspiration

may flowers and a little inspiration

May is one of my favourite seasons for hiking – nature is showing its lushest and greenest side, the moderate temperatures are perfect for spending many hours outdoors and my pollen allergy has yet to realize it’s time to start acting up again.

Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.

We enjoyed a beautiful and rather tough hike in the Eifel National park again last weekend (this one to be precise). Being out in nature always restores my peace of mind but there is something exhilarating about completing a challenging hike.

Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.Hiking in Germany. little home by hand blog.

Germany can be so beautiful. Discovering new areas and little gems like this medieval town (which was the start and end point of our hike) is a joy.

I have not been particularly active online lately but I quietly read a lot so here are a few things I  want to share with you:

Making

  • Have you seen Melody‘s new knitting pattern, the Blóm Shawl? So beautiful!
  • Swooning over the gorgeous naturally dyed yarns Liesl added to her shop recently

Minimalism and living

I have been thinking of the clothes I wear quite a lot recently, partly triggered by getting back into sewing, partly because I am constantly purging and trying to reduce the amount of stuff I own.

I recently read Marie Kondo’s famous decluttering book and loved it. For someone who is intent on owning as little as possible she has a very deep emotional relationship with the stuff she does decide to keep. Her approach of ‘keep only what sparks joy’ has impacted the way I look at my things much more than the regular, rational ‘rules’ of decluttering. I dream of owning only what I need and truly love. How wonderful is the idea to come home to a space where every item in it brings you joy?

Some inspiring articles on the interwebs about clothing and minimalism:

  • Growing a minimalist wardrobe. This post on one of my favorite blogs ‘Reading my Tea Leaves’ really resonated with me. Why not wear clothes you love to pieces every day instead of having a closet full of things you are only mildly interested in?
  • 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp. I have yet to work through this but it looks very interesting!

Reading

  • ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed – touching and inspiring read!
  • The Moral Bucket list or How to become a better person – digesting this article will take me a while and a few re-reads
  • 5 Reasons Why People Need To Go Camping. Yes, yes and yes. This mostly applies to travelling in general as well. “We need to breathe new air, walk on new ground, and feel the awe of seeing something we’d only seen in books, or not at all.”

How has May been treating you? Getting a regular dose of fresh air?

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creative blog hop

I have been invited by Liesl to join the the creative blog hop and talk about my creative process. I love answering questions like these, it’s always an opportunity to reflect and I usually find out something about myself that I didn’t know before I got writing and thinking!

Check out previous posts by Liesl, Inge and Melody (who invited me too a few weeks ago but whose message I read too late to participate then).

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhat am I working on?

I am primarily a photographer but I strive to incorporate handmade in all areas of my life – I sew, knit, garden and cook, with varying success.

Photography wise in between doing some fall portrait photoshoots I am working on putting a new travel photo series in my shop with images of a trip to Canada I took this year. It’s a long process of culling, editing, having samples printed, re-editing, stocking, writing descriptions and finally listing and promoting.

Fall is also knitting season for me – I am working on a new cardigan and there might be a shawl and a new pair of socks in sight too.

I have some sewing projects waiting to happen but since sewing takes much more of an effort to set up and requires me getting off the couch these take a backseat over knitting right now.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I see a lot of incredible artists creating wonderful things and I am not at all sure how my work differs, except that I always wish it was better! It has a certain, very colorful look for sure. I find every artist has their own style and it’s impossible to break that. Two people can photograph the exact same scene and their photos will be completely different. Nobody can see the world as you yourself see it and that’s wonderful. At the same time I see many people inspired by the same things and I am glad for kindred spirits who capture the beauty of the world in their own way.

I am not someone who gets lost in only one thing forever. Yes, photography is ‘it’ for me, but my other creative pursuits are also a big and necessary part of my life. I am interested in so many different things. Maybe that sets me apart from some other artists, who dive very deeply into one subject matter.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhy do I create what I do?

I have always felt a need to create. Working with my hands and building something useful with them is as much a physical need as a mental one for me.

As a child I knew only that it made me happy. As an adult I also see another level to it – handmade has a value of its own. I want to live in a world where we still do things with our hands and value the process and materials. The animals and plants our wool and leather, fabric and color come from – they’re real, they existed, they have value. By making things by hand and using them I feel like I honor that worth.

As much as technology and media has expanded our world (and I revel in that) it sometimes feels like we are now very exposed and very anonymous at the same time – everything laid bare, interconnected and yet much more automatized and impersonal. Creating and building a life based on making things with my hands and knowing where they came from grounds and comforts me. Knitting a cardigan out of natural fibers warms the cold polyester world around me.

With my photography I try to capture feelings and emotions – the invisible connection between two people, the wonder at nature’s beauty in a world so far removed from it, the joy of shaping rough yarn into something wearable, the pride of watching a tiny seedling turn into a thriving edible plant under my hands.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my creative process work?

It’s a strange mixture of intuition and careful thought. My inspiration comes from nature, from connecting with other artists and from sites like Pinterest and Instagram. From there I try to break it down and shape the images and thoughts and feelings they conjure to my own needs. It’s a tough balance – being inspired but still doing things my own way.

With a craft project I usually need to give an idea time to grow, to take root and shape itself in my head. It’s quite unnerving, mulling something over in my head for days until the image has sharpened enough to be put into action.

With photography it’s often much more intuitive (which can be even more unnerving). I sometimes meet my portrait clients for the first time on location and I need to grasp immediately how these people tick, what makes them beautiful and tickle it out of them while also trying to use the location to its best advantage. My travel photography is much more relaxed, I simply capture moments as they happen, completely immersed in my own emotions and experience of the scenery.

 

Liesl, thanks so much for inviting me! Lindsay and Ruth, two wonderful creatives and bloggers, will be continuing the blog hop and will have their posts up within the next two weeks so hop on over to their blogs too.

transitioning into fall

It happens every year. As soon as the leaves start to turn and the days get shorter I feel the need to hibernate. Getting up early is harder when it’s cold and dark and staying awake in the evenings becomes a thing of impossibility.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogStill, I manage to get a few rows of knitting and reading in most nights before heading to bed bleary eyed.

I’m making slow but steady progress on another cardigan for fall, the Ramona. The classical shape is beautiful and I hope it will be another staple in my wardrobe. With a bit of cardigan experience under my belt I am also itching to try some more advanced knitting, like cables or colorwork next. Oh, and a shawl with some yarn I bought in Scotland. So many projects, so little time.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogOther news and inspiration:

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogAre you feeling the changing of the seasons too? Any knitting projects to inspire me and add to my neverending queue? (I just had to look up how to spell ‘queue’). What are your five words you describe yourself with?

finding the rhythm

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the rhythm of life (yes, here comes one of those rambling posts in which I bare my heart). Not the all-encompassing stages of life we all go through but the day-to-day pace of our hours, days and weeks.

Going travelling for three weeks has thrown me off my daily and weekly schedules and that’s a good thing. Being thrown out of the treadmill has enabled me to take a step back and look at my life more objectively than I could while I was in the middle of it, running. I usually see things more clearly after I’ve been away for a while.
When I look at my life from a distance I see myself running like a hamster in a wheel, rushing, trying to catch up, barely meeting my own expectations and constantly falling behind on the grand goals I set myself.

It’s not a picture I cherish.
I don’t want to be that person. I look at her and see someone trying to do too much and stumbling.
rhythm. little home by hand blogI strive to change that and it’s SO HARD. I fall back into it almost the minute I get back from travelling.

I look at other small business owners and all they make, the new lines of work they launch, the marketing they do, the picture they paint of a life submerged in creativity and I want it, all of it. I look at photographers doing beautiful, styled photoshoots that look more like works of art than just a pretty photo and I want to be like that. I look at people sewing and knitting and gardening and crafting a life and I want that too. Too many wants. Too many lives to live at once.

I feel this burning desire to succeed creatively, personally and professionally. And I start racing after it and life rushes by in a blur and I realize I have been too busy looking at my to do lists to actually enjoy the moments as they pass.
taking a breath. fotografie kristina koehler(photo from a recent photoshoot)

And it’s not how I imagine my life. I want to find joy in the little things, to live simply, to enjoy a sunshiny day, a cup of tea on the balcony, an hour spent knitting, to cherish the here and now and the beauty of it. A slower, more thoughtful rhythm of life.

In the last two weeks I’ve been trying to preserve a bit of slow, to not get sucked back into the crazy whirlwind of commitments, self-imposed deadlines and chasing the clock. I make myself do one thing at a time and accept that it means other things don’t get done or get done much later. I lapse into busyness lots of times during the day but I try to pull myself back, to take a deep breath and let it go. It feels good and I am happier and less stretched thin at the end of the day, more whole and less shattered (isn’t it funny how we use words like ‘shattered’ without giving it a second thought? I realized now that I can literally feel ‘shattered’, split into a million pieces all stretching in different directions when I have too much going on at once).

I’m stumbling to find the right words to express myself here but I guess what I mean is:
Find your pace. Cut yourself some slack today.

on balance

rapeseed.
My friend and her baby girl, seeing and sniffing and feeling the rapeseed fields bloom. More rapeseed photos on my photo blog.

I confess that after feeling pretty great the first three months of the year and using that energy to work very hard, this spring and the change to summer time two weeks ago has me feeling a bit tired and in need of sleep. I’ve frequently headed straight to bed after work these past two weeks, just catching up on sleep. I guess the time change plus the weather playing rollercoaster recently just throws me a bit off balance.

I’m itching to start sewing and creating again and in my head the projects are just bouncing around, not quite ready to be put into action.

Also:

quiet time

I’m working on my healthy eating posts, but as they take such a long time to write, here’s a jumble of some day to day shots.

homey. little home by hand blog

I’m already looking forward to a quiet long weekend with hopefully some first spring gardening (please make my seeds arrive by then!) and reading. Always reading.
I’ve been buying second hand books, some old childhood favorites. Just finished reading the ‘Gulla’ Series, a swedish book series set in the late 19th century. I had this down for a girls book, but reading the whole series has made me realize it covers a range of topics, most prominently poverty, resourcefulness and class distinction. The author is Martha Sandwall-Bergström. The original swedish series goes by the name ‘Kulla-Gulla’ but it seems there’s an english translation where the name Gulla has been changed to Anna (‘Anna All Alone’ is one book in the series)

oat cakes. little home by hand blog

Found the perfect oat cakes recipe by experimenting. Like, healthy and yummy and filling and did I mention yummy? Recipe post coming soon!

packaged with love.

I changed up the packaging of my prints and love the new look. More photos here!

Also:

  • What inspires you in your work? I talk about my photography style and inspiration as well as the challenges of running an Etsy shop in an interview on Katie’s blog: Do have a look and let me know what you think!
  • It’s totally spring here already but I know most of you still have snow, so here’s 10 tech chores for snow days
  • Not very practical for me since I commute by car but for any of you commuting by train, bus etc. check out these 10 ways to make it better
  • Our body language shapes who we are. Wow!

progress

Knitting is such a wonderful skill to have. The process of making something wearable from essentially a bit of string always amazes me. I’ve been eyeing handknit sweaters and cardigans wistfully for years and I’ve finally jumped in with the Shapely Boyfriend Cardigan. You can find my Ravelry project page here (after years of lying dormant I’m finally starting to actually use my Ravelry account).
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
So far I’m loving this pattern. I could follow the instructions with hardly a problem and incredibly have not made a mistake yet (I think). I’m also making progress pretty fast. J and I have started watching Game of Thrones in the evenings and that has definitely been a good thing for this cardigan.
As always I’m now wondering why I waited so long to start a cardigan. The Shapely Boyfriend is an enjoyable knit even though the concept of constantly counting and keeping track of rows is novel for me. With socks and scarves I would just make it up as I went along, it’s so easy to try them on in between.
cardigan knitting. tidytipsy
Is it weird I’m still itching to cast on another pair of socks? I firmly believe sock knitting is as addictive as coffee or chocolate. I’m trying to keep myself far away from my yarn stash in order to finish one thing at a time.
Not sure if it’s an artist thing or if I’m just weird but the feeling of handling yarn and the smooth bamboo needles against it is such a joy. For me that is what handmade means…the sensual process of making things by hand is so satisfying and fulfilling.

In other random inspirations: