I am the worst doodler, ever. I hate pencils and pens. They are extremely uncomfortable, not to mention untrustable. They never behave like I intend. This has been a problem for my entire life, and I was the first kid at school who was allowed to use a word processor for my essays (we’re talking very early 1990’s). The teacher could never read what I wrote, nor could I. Dyslexia some of you may think, but no, most certainly not. Dysgraphia then? No, I don’t think so. I just have very bad fine motoric skills. But you do embroidery, and lace making, and pearls and all those tiny things! That is true, but it is also very time consuming. What normal people finish of in half an hour would take me a full day.
Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to get over it;
As a special treat I decided to show you my worst doodles, and what became of them. Enjoy!
Today is the last day of the Swedish Christmas. On Knut’s Day we take down all the Christmas decorations and throw out the tree. We throw a little party where we eat any remaining Christmas biscuits and candy, and dance around the tree singing traditional songs.
I’m super busy writing the last pages on my examination essay, it’s due today. Therefore all I have time for is making crepes. In Sweden we typically serve them with lingonberry jam.
Gluten-free Swedish crepes, makes more than 15
400-500 mL oat flour, finely ground
400 mL milk
50-75 grams butter
After several days with Christmas dinners and leftovers, all I long for is something light and fresh. Like fruit salad. Super simple, and everyone likes it. Just take whatever fresh and dried fruit you have left in your fruit basket. Serve as it is or with some vanilla ice cream.
Fruit salad, makes 6-8 servings
Lemon juice (from half a lemon or a bottle)
Half a box of physalis
Dried cranberries and/or finely chopped figs and/or dades
Dried pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds
This adorable portrait of nine year old Rachel is painted by British animal painter Edwin Henry Landseer (yes, the one giving rise to the name of the dog). He was a close friend to the family, and I think that’s why the portrait is so very personal and intimate. I get the feeling that she without permission sneaked out to the hay barn to indulge in her book in peace and quiet, and Landseer sketched her without her noticing. I love how the focus is on her pretty childish face and the amazing hairdo, while the rest is rather blurry.
For the final exam of my art history class, we are (among other things) to pick two portraits of our own choice and analyse them. It has taken me quite some time to choose, browsing through women artists at Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. Choosing portraits by female artists is a statement from my side, women artists have been overlooked for such a long time.
I finally decided on two self-portraits, by Angelica Kauffman and Rolinda Sharples, simply because I find them very pretty and appealing. These two women were born in the same century, but still, there’s an ocean of time between them. Ms Kauffman was born in Switzerland in 1741, and was taught the craft by her father. She early showed signs of great talent, and for a large part of her life stayed in Italy and Great Britain earning her way as a portrait and history painter. In 1768 she was one of only two female painters among the founding members of the Royal Academy of Arts, so she was very well famous during her days. I’ve read somewhere that she was very charming; add prettiness and talent and success is a fact. Angelica Kauffman lived a long and productive life, and died at the age of 66 in Rome.
Ms Sharples was born almost 50 years later, in 1793. Both of her parents were artists, and all children showed talent. The family moved back and forth to the Americas but permanently moved back to Great Britain in 1811, after the death of her father. Together with her mother Ms Sharples resided in Bristol, where she painted portraits and every day scenes of Regency social life. It was primarily her mother who was in charge of her education, and the two of them remained very close for her entire life. Rolinda Sharples died at age 45 of breast cancer. In 1827 she became an honorary member of the Society of British Artists, but her fame was nothing in the magnitude near Ms Kauffman's.
Taking this class of art history is one of the best things I’ve done lately. It takes a whole lot of time, there’s a lot to read, and so many new aspects on history and humanity to consider. One thing that I really enjoy is all new acquaintances I make.
Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun is one adorable person I’ve gotten to know. She was a portrait painter most famous for her portraits of Marie Antoinette, and later she toured Europe and painted lots of royalties and socialites. Her legacy consists of more than 600 portraits, scattered over the world in private collections and art museums. Studying her paintings online (thank you Wikimedia Commons!) was made an even better experience when I found out she had written her autobiography later in life. It can be downloaded through Project Gutenberg, and it’s totally worth the time reading.
I especially like Vigée-Lebrun’s portraits of mothers with their children, they are very intimate and lovingly. Some of my favourites you can see in the slide show below.
The last elk meat of this season was turned into meatloaves today. Serve with mashed potatoes, or even better, equal parts potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. Super simple, just add lots of cream to the boiled rooties, season with salt and white pepper and give it a good beat.
This recipe makes more than 100 meatballs, or 15 large hamburgers or small meatloaves (or 1 very large meatloaf).
100 mL rolled oats
150 mL milk
1 mL white pepper
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp chervil
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp tarragon
1 000 g minced meat from European elk
500 g minced pork
1 ½ tbsp salt
2 small eggs
When baking, always use the scale! Baking is chemistry, cooking is art.
Makes approx. 150 (or 4 baking sheets)
170 g brown sugar
50 g syrup
75 g butter
2 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp ground cloves
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp bicarbonate
1 tbsp ground psyllium seed husks
135 g oat flour
90 g buckwheat flour
45 g almond flour
I love this portrait of Princess Marie-Louise Thérèse of Savoy-Carignan, painted by Joseph Duplessis, it’s adorable. But reading a little about her made me question the motif. Is it an authentic portrait? Or just a part of the anti-royal propaganda of the time?
Marie-Louise was unhappily married for a year as a teenager, and later became one of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s best friends. When it came to personal matter she was very private, and there was no gossip concerning her. But critics of the monarchy regularly portrayed her in less flattering ways, insinuating she had a lesbian affaire de coeur with the Queen.
Who is the receiver of this portrait?
Joseph Duplessis, last quarter of the 18th century, Marie Louise Thérèse de Savoie de Carignan, Princesse de Lamballe.
Why do I like this portrait so much?
First of all; I like portraits of women (see previous post on “Kål-Margit”).
Secondly; She looks happy, relaxed, and a little bit naughty. As if she just went out of bed and is asking for more. Very sensual! I hope it was the painter that made her feel that way, and that it’s a portrait made out of love. It would break my heart if it’s a false portrait made to smear her.
Thirdly; She's darn pretty! I tend to favour pretty portraits over ugly ones (we will come back to that later – I’ve just bought Umberto Eco’s “On Beauty” and “On Ugliness”).
Surface pattern designer who loves folk art, gardening and the good things in life.