Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods

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Location: Norway

Monday, February 28, 2005

Sketch made by 9 years old Marta. Posted by Hello

My vintage spools. Posted by Hello

Miss my quilting!

I started quilting back in 1980, and have made hundreds of quilts since then. A few big size bed quilts, but mostly smaller quilts and miniatures. But the last few years there has not been much time for my quilting. I still have quite alot of projects going on, but there is not much progress in any of them. I almost made a start again last night though - I did a sketch of a glass jar I have filled with vintage spools. And today I am searching in my craft cupboard for a small fresh green quilt I have and which I am handquilting. But where has it hided?

Will show you a picture as soon as I find it, but meanwhile the sketch is all I can show. Well, two sketches actually. When Marta saw me drawing last night she wanted to try also, and while I read her the daily bedtime story she made a sketch of a candle she found in the livingroom.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Ready for skiing with daddy! Posted by Hello

Busy opening gifts. Posted by Hello

Not awake yet! Posted by Hello

Happy 9th Birthday Marta.

We are having a busy birthday period in our family. Today Marta is 9 years old! A big day for her! I was the first one up this morning. I was so sure that she would be awake before me, but she couldn't sleep last night, was too excited then, and very tired this morning. So she was still fast asleep when I and dh woke her with sweet rolls and burning candles.

A couple of weeks ago I told several of my online friends about Marta's birthday and asked if any of them could do me the great favour and send her a birthday card. She got TONS :-). And she was thrilled opening up all. She did it carefully, not to destroy the envelopes, her smile getting bigger and bigger the more stickers and small treats she found. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU. Marta has already started to write a thank you note on the computer which will be printed out and copied and sent out to you all.

She and Terje have gone out skiing now. I decided to stay at home to get some "mother alone time". Not easy to get that in a big and busy family. Later we'll take Marta to see a movie. There will be no celebration with friends and family today, but we are planning two big parties to come.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

"Skillingsbolle" at Library Café. Posted by Hello

Theodor Kittelsen's chess game. Posted by Hello

Birthday coffee with grandparents. Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday!

Our son #2 is 21 today. A milestone! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ØYSTEIN!

Being 21 means that you are not the first one up in the mornings, so dh went out skiing and Marta and I went downtown before coming home and present Øystein with his gifts and his favorite cake - "Napoleonskake".

At the Art Museum, Trøndelag Kunstforening there is an exhibition right now with paintings and drawing by Theodor Kittelsen, a late Norwegian painter most of all known for his fairy tale illustrations, and these were what Marta and I wanted to see. We both loved the visit. For me it was like being taken back to my childhood fairytale world, so many of his paintings has been used to illustrate the most well known Norwegian fairy tales, or "eventyr" as we call them in Norway. Marta knew a few of the pictures as well, and became very interested in them all. And when she watch art she doesn't only see the pictures itself, but she is also very interested in the different techniques used. (Which reminds me that I had planned to buy art supplies for her birthday tomorrow - and all I have bought is LOTS of stuff for her Bratz doll collection! Ha, so art supplies must be the Easter gift this year) After an hour in the galleries we spent another 20 minutes in the museum shop, buying postcards for our visual diaries, a poster for Marta's artist collection and a book about Kittelsen.

Besides painting and drawing Kittelsen also made some very good wood carvings. We loved many of them, especially all his different dragons, but both of us fell in love with a chess game he has made. I collect chess games, love to buy them when I travel, my last one was bought in Laos in October. The one made by Kittelsen, on the special chess table would have been perfect in my collection :-) But of course a picture is all I can get.

After a Saturday morning watching art, what is better than visiting our favorite Saturday morning café! The Library Café. A favorite because of it's delicious pastries, and different types of tea. And because it is in the same building as the public library in Trondheim. And after eating our feet always find their way to the library where there are so many great books to be borrowed.

Happy 21st birthday Øystein! Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ski track. Girls in front. Posted by Hello

Girls playing Ludo. Posted by Hello

View from cabin  Posted by Hello

Cabin fever

We are back home after three days at the cabin. Three days away from everyday life, three days in quiet nature. Weather was great, and yesterday we were out cross country skiing for hours. I always say that spring and summer are my favorite seasons, but sitting out in the snow yesterday with the sun sparkling ahead of us and the snow sparkling everywhere around us, grilling sausage rolls on the small fire we made, drinking hot chocolate, eating sweet, dripping oranges, helping Marta to brush snow from her toes every fifteen minutes when she had to have a break from playing in the snow because her feet were freezing, chatting with dh and the girls.......this was truly a meeting between heaven and earth, a meeting to live on when the busier everyday life threaten to take over again.

Cabin life is not only outdoor life though. It is also long nights for playing, reading and eating. Our cabin is simple, with no electricity. We can get light from a sun cell panel, but right now it does not work, so all the light in the evenings came from candles and two small oil lamps. But life feels so simple when we gather around the big table to play cards or Trivial Pursuit, or when we gather in the kitchen to make taco, when I and the three girls run out to the outdoor toilet together because the girls are afraid of all the different noises in a dark and cold forest. And reading can still be done in candle light, if you lit enough candles. I have a big, growing book collection at the cabin, so there are books for all moods and ages. Ingrid and her friend found their favorites deep in the back of a cupboard, the "romantics" my grandmother collected in the 60ies. They both dissapeared into a world filled with romance and sweet dreams, but gave half an ear to me and Marta when we read from Marta's book, "Nei vel, da" by the Norwegian Bjørn Ingvaldsen, winner of last years Ark Children's Book Award, about the naughty grandmother, very Roald Dahl-ish.

Cabin life is also when I have time to write long letters to friends around the world, to India and Eritrea, to USA and Holland, to Germany and France. And looking forward to all the great replies I know I will get. Strond friendship bonds can be tied everywhere and always.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dinner is over and my kitchen is clean and tidy again. Posted by Hello

Still alot of work to be done. Posted by Hello


I am no fan of shopping. On my way home from work today I had to stop at the grocery store to do grocery shopping, my least shopping favorite! There were nothing for dinner at home, at least nothing for our vegetarian daughter, and tomorrow morning we are going to our cabin for three days, so there were alot I needed. I try to tell myself that shopping is fun, I try to think of all the nice meals I can make out of what I buy, and today I even though of the nice cross country skiing we will do in the mountains tomorrow with roasting sausages over a fire, hot chocolate, organges yellow and sweet like the winter sun.....well, it helped a little, but not much. And finally having found all the items I MUST have, and all the other items that somehow found their way to my shopping basket by themselves, the next "I hate step" came - trying to find room for it all in plastic bags. Well, I made it, with good help from Marta, we carried all the bags out into the car, it felt like ice skating, and we made it home. Then the next step came, carrying all the bags inside and find room for all the food in the cupboards and the refrigerator. Yes, I made it all today again as I have all the other thousands of shopping days. And after dinner and washing up my kitchen is it's old self again.

Well, there really is one kind of shopping I do love. BOOK SHOPPING. I can never walk past a book store, my feet always find their way inside, and I always find at least one book I MUST have. Books have always meant alot to me, since I learned to read at the age of four or five, and almost since then I cave collected books, and read books. Last night my two best reading friends came over for our monthly reading night. We have met for many years and these nights have become more and more important for us. Last night I felt so tired before my reading mates came, and so refreshed when they left. We never have any theme when we meet, though we talk about it from time to time that we should. We just brings, discuss and shares tons of books. And here again I have a small problem. I can't resist any of the books the two other brings with them. So when they left last night there were a huge pile of books on the floor near the heath waiting to be read. How perfect that we are heading for the cabin tomorrow. Our cabin, my favorite reading place.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Tiller Handball, girls born 1989. Posted by Hello

And the player no 4 is Ingrid! Posted by Hello


Handball plays a great part in our family. If you asked us some years ago biathlon (cross country skiing and shooting was THE sport), but now handball has taken over. Both our girls play. Marta is still a novice, playing in her second year, but now nearly 16 years old Ingrid has played since she was 8. And she loves it. Her team, Tiller, has it's ups and downs like most other teams. Last year was an UP, this year it has been bitter fighting almost every match, and it has been hard work. But hard work pays, and the last couple of months they have become better and better. The first signs of this we saw at a tournament is Østersund in Sweden in the beginning of January, then a week ago they played good at Petter Wessel tournament in Larvik, Norway.

This week-end they played in a tournament here in Trondheim. The girls were looking forward to it, but knew that they were to meet strong teams and did not have much hope of making it for the A-finals. Thy played the first match Friday night, and against all odds they won without problems. And as they played on during the week-end ,Tiller's 15 years old girls played better and better. Already Saturday afternoon we knew that they had made it to the A-finals, then they first won the quart final by "sudden death", Sunday morning they won the semi final with our Ingrid making 5 out of the 8 goals. Gosh, we were excited! Sunday night came and they played the grand finale, agains the favorites, Ranheim. The match was a thrill. Tiller was in the lead most of the match, and we almost didn't believe what we saw. Our girls are real winners! Unfortunaltely the lost in the last minute, Ranheim won 9-8. Tiller WON silver! Tiller's goal keeper, Kathrin got the best player award. GIRLS, WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

From my forest. Posted by Hello

Marta stopping for a short break. Posted by Hello

I love winter Sundays

After being up early to go downtown to the sportshall to watch our oldest daughter playing in a handball tournament we came home to a perfect, sunny day. Packed the backpack, glided our cross country skis and found our way right out in the forest. Our house is situated on the very edge of the forest, so we can use our skis almost from the front door.

A perfect day with blue sky, some clouds, sun and also some snow coming. Not much wildlife to be seen, but a curious little squirrel wanted to cross the ski track right where I and my youngest daughter Marta were going. He watched is for s few seconds, decided we were too dangerous and ran a little head of us where he found it safe to cross. We had a couple of great hours cross country skiing, and a perfect time to sit down and enjoy our cocoa and lefse.

More handball tonight. Our daughter's team made it to the finals for the first time. Lost in the last 30 seconds, but still a wonderful victory to make it that far.

My house in the woods Posted by Hello

Friday, February 18, 2005

Winter vacation

Winter days in Norway are very short, but now, when we are on our way to meet spring the days become longer and longer. When I drove home from work today the sun was still up. This winter has been very dark and therefore difficult to handle, but now I can feel how my spirit rises from day to day.

And today it was not only sun and daylight while driving home, it was also the start of our winter vacation week. High time for the kids that this week is here. I was surprised though when I came home and found my oldest daughter busy with home work. And she told me she had worked for hours :-) I guess we are all like that, when no one force us we can de anything. My youngest daughter and her grown up brother started vacation with soem cross country skiing, with a backpack with baguets and hot chocolate - La Bella Vita!

I will have to work a couple of days next week, but now, installed in my new office it will feel like vacation. I didn't want to leave work today, my new office has become so nice.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Quiet in the House in the Woods

But my life is really not quiet. I have been super busy for a couple of weeks now. Seems like I'll never learn the no-word. I get new challenges all the time, and always find them so exciting I can't resist. Like tonight. We've had the annual meeting in the county female group of my political party. I have been the leader here for one year, but because of a full scedule with family life, work, studies and alot more I decided I had to say no to more years. And even said no.......all the way to the voting started. Ha, I said yes of course, and here I am with more meetings in front of me.

At work I have also been busy, and on top of that I am moving office. So papers and files for I don't know how long have not been safe lately. I have gone through almost all, and when the move (one floor up) is finished tomorrow afternoon I will have a clean and tidy office. I will know where everything is, I will have a completely new plan for my days at work, and everything will of course go smooth. Ha :-) .......Well, though the new office is smaller than the one I have, and the view is really not as good as I am used to, the move will be a positive one in the end......when all the moving work is done.

At home I try not to be busy. I try to remember my orchids and to forget my dust. And I can live happily with that. So instead of spending this night vacuuming and cleaning, I sat down with dh and two dds (dear daughters) to watch our favorite Norwegian football team (soccer) Rosenborg play football while eating loads of ice cream. And earlier this week, in between meetings and other work, I have found time to visit several bookstores. Monday morning the annual Norwegian booksale, Mammutsalget, started. I went there Monday night like so many other Norwegians did, and bought bags filled with "goodies". So next week, which is winter vacation in Norway will be a perfect reading week.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Moving into my library

Our oldest son moved two weeks ago. When we moved into our House in the Woods three years ago, we gave him the favorite room of the house, knowing that he would be the first one to move out :-) And already when we bought the house I knew that this room was the perfect MY ROOM.

After ds moved it took us some time to clean out the MY ROOM, but now it is there, perfect for me and my books. My House in the Woods is filled with books in every room, and since I move them around all the time, read a little here and there, they never cover dust, and therefore are never a problem - though dustcovered books are of course never a problem either. So books in every room it will still be in my House in the Woods.

The more perfect it is to have a huge "new" room to fill with both old and new books. Children's books, books for my current Master study, favorite fiction - for the moment Henry James and A.S.Byatt, travel litterature, garden books and not to forget my opera books......oh, my new room will be filled up in no time.

Yesterday there came two boxes from amazon in the mail. One was with Author, author by Doyle (about Henry James) , and Beloved Boys, Henry James' letters to Henderik Anderson. Both books ordered after I read The Master with an online bookgroup in January. The other box contained two books by the French multi artist Jean Cocteau. His Drawings, and Enfant Terrible. Jean Cocteau was artist of the month of January in another online group where I belong.

Books can be read and enjoyed everywhere, in the kitchen when preparing dinner, at the toilet, in bed, in the coach in the family room, in the garden, in the car, on the bus, climbing the stairs, while washing windows, whilc eating, while watching the news......but having my very own room where I can close the door and only invite the books and their people I want to spend time with that moment - it is heaven on earth.

By the way, MY ROOM has a lap top, so please come over for a visit.