Wonderstruck

Attracted by the amazing cover, I couldn’t resist when I saw this book in the library.

Published 2011, 637 pages, written by Brian Selznick.

It’s almost magical, how he managed to use both, words and illustrations, to tell two sides of a story and in the end to weave them together.

The illustrations are so fascinating and tell their story without any need of words.

I don’t think I can go into details about the story, without giving away too much. I don’t want to ruin the experience. 😉

But if you get the chance to read this book, I highly recommend it!

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” -Pablo Picasso

I get to be creative in my job as well.

In August it’s two years since I started working in an international school here in Sweden.

We have staff and students from all over the world. I love it. You get to know so much about other nationalities, their languages, their traditions…

It’s incredibly interesting!

In the mornings, during the lessons, I’m a Learning Support Assistant. That means that I’m mainly there for the students, that need a little extra help. Sometimes I’m also teaching myself, working with smaller groups of students.

Lessons end at 14:30 and that is the time when I move on to the After School Programme. Here, we take care of those kids, whose parents are working or studying themselves. We do that every day until 17:30.

Every Tuesday afternoon, I lead the Art Club. The kids are always super excited to see what activities I have planned.

And I just simply love to teach them different techniques, new materials and ways to create.

My main focus always is, to encourage the students to be brave, to believe in themselves and to follow their guts. Meaning, that I don’t want them to copy exactly what I did or explained. I want them to add themselves. Their own note.

You would be surprised, how creative and open-minded most children are! They always come up with ideas, that didn’t even cross my mind before.

But sadly there are also some, that constantly say things like:

” I can’t do that!”

” Oh no, mine is so ugly!”

” I’m terrible at that!”

And so on. Also, some constantly need my approval.

” Jenny, is that good?”

” What should I do next?”

” Am I done?”

I make sure to always say something positive about the process or progress of their work, without giving them the rating they are waiting for. Instead, I usually answer with questions back:

“Do YOU like it?”

“What do YOU like most about it?”

” Are you proud of yourself, for challenging yourself?”

” If you think you’re done, you’re done.”

I tell them, that the artist decides when he’s done.

Why I’m telling you all that? Well, because I will start to upload posts with inspirations of my work with the students as well. It is so satisfying to have an impact on the next generation. Helping them, to be their best selves, long-life-learners, open-minded and creative.

It’s the best job to be a teacher!

How to challenge the dachshund…

Mimi is a dachshund mix. Smart but independent.

My old dog was extremely keen to learn tricks. She was a completely different breed.

Mimi always watched us. Soon after we got her, I started practising with the little one as well. I quickly realized that I need to be a lot more patient and have to use different techniques with our little sausage.

We started with a Mimi, knowing how to do “sit” and “lay down”. And those two she learned by watching me and Paula interacting. She copied Paula’s behaviour.

The next one we tackled, was “turn around”. I speak German to Mimi, so I’m not too sure how to translate the commands properly… For “turn around” I took a suuuuper good smelling treat. I held it right in front of her nose and then led it in a tight circle around her body, trying to make her follow it with her nose. At some point, she has to get up and spin herself around. If she did, she got the treat IMMEDIATELY.

It sounds so easy, but it needed a lot of repetition. And just when you think that she will never do it, she suddenly spins like it’s the easiest thing in the whole world.

Then we practised “paw”. This one was not so hard, because I used her natural behaviour for it. She naturally uses her paws to ask for attention. so, while it’s usually an unwanted behaviour, I always waited for a situation where she usually would do it and then just say “Paw” in exactly the moment she does it. I also put my hand under her paw. That way she linked the command and the gesture to the movement and learned pretty quickly that, if she does it right, a treat comes her way.

Why he gesture? Just because it’s a thing that I did with my old dog. There was a time, when I had health issues and not able to talk properly or do a lot of exercise with my old girl. So we practised a sign to every command. And pretty fas I noticed, that the non-verbal commands got executed so much better than the verbal ones. It’s no bound to the melody or emotion that influences my voice I guess.

There’s one trick, that took a while because she didn’t have enough muscles to do it. Meant is “sit pretty”. Here she sits on her butt and lifts her (long) upper body straight up. She looks like a black meerkat when she does that. In the beginning, she always fell to one side. his trick is one of her favourites by now. I don’t know why…

Another tricky one was “roll over”. I started with making her lay down. Then the procedure was very similar to “turn around”. I held a treat right in front of her nose and then lead it close to her body around her head. When she wanted to follow it (to get it), she had to roll her whole body around. This one was tough because Mimi hates to give up control by laying on her back. No matter how short or long.

So, we had to work on trust and leadership.

Much repetition later, she made it once and I was the happiest. I made such a celebration out of it, that she almost looked a bit proud. And since then, she sometimes offers this trick with being asked, when she really wants a treat I have in my hand.

Still in progress is “play dead”. That famous one, where she drops “dead” on command. So far, impossible to make her lay down relaxed long enough.

WORKING ON IT!

Here is a link to a youtube video of mine, where you can see her do those tricks:

Mimi’s tricks

Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond…

…and that’s what I made. A mini-pond. Another “things I find in the attic” story. Yes, the supply is endless. The supply of objects, that trigger me to turn them into something pretty.

This time a big black plastic tub.

I turned it into a mini-pond.

Unfortunately, I forgot what a pain it is to dig holes in our garden. Too many big rocks underground.

I put the tub where I want the pond to be and marked the area with the spade.

Then it was time to dig. All rocks I dug out, were used for the border later.

The plants are from “Hornbach”.

And the water is from the small stream we have right next to our house.

I hope the plants will thrive. Update follows!

Your mind is a cupboard and you stock the shelves.

We needed more storage in the summerhouse. And (at least in my opinion) more color.

In one of our Second-Hand Stores, I found this old IKEA cupboard for 250 kr (ca25€).

The weekend after, it was already in our kitchen, ready for a makeover.

I sanded the whole thing off and had some white base to make sure the color will hold nicely.

The bubblegum paint, I bought at “Rusta”. One of these stores here in Sweden, where you simply get everything.

There was nothing that needs skills for this project. It’s just plain painting furniture.

All in all, this project did cost me 300 kr (ca 30€) and we got an individual piece of furniture.

Garden dresser

There are endlessly many great ideas for DIY Projects on Pinterest.

Especially now that we have the summerhouse with that gorgeous little wild garden, I can’t stop looking for inspiration there…

One of those inspirations was a little dresser, that someone just put in the garden and planted herbs in.

The search at Erikshjälpen and on Blocket began. It took quite a while to find the right one for not much money.

One day, the right one was there. For 200 kr (20€). YAY

First I wanted to keep it just like that, but I changed my mind. GOLD seemed to be the perfect choice. When I was done with the painting, I was too impatient to wait for my boyfriend, so I carried it out all by myself.

Outside, I filled half of the drawers with soil and plants. I only used plants, I already had growing in my garden.

The mirror was another piece I found on the attic. Combined with a white marker for glass surfaces, you can create beautiful things.

Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere,and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.

Last spring we ordered inflatable kayaks on Amazon. The model is called “Challenger K1”.

I did some kayaking year ago with friends and always really enjoyed it. But regular kayaks are a bit commitment.

You need space to store them.

They cost a lost of money.

You need something to transport them to the water with.

And so on.

That hustle of getting it to water would probably lead to us barely using it in our little spare time we have together.

And while checking out our options, we found those. They are easy to pack and unpack. Both of them easily fit in our little VW UP! and that means something. The price was with close to 70€ a lot more affordable than normal kayaks.

They get delivered with a hand pump. It takes 10min tops to pump up all parts you need.

I’m 182cm tall and have very wide hips, but I fit in. It is tight around my bottom, but it is totally fine. When you’re taller than that, it could get a bit problematic to fit your legs though.

It is easy to steer and to move forward with it. It feels really steady.

I’d say my expectations got exceeded.

Last summer we’ve got to use them quite a bit. First time we tried it all by ourselves, since our dog Mimi really hates swimming. I wanted to make sure, that I’m good in handling the kayak before we take her with us to minimise the risk of her falling in.

It went surprisingly well! And so after a while we picked her up. In the beginning she wasn’t a fan. But after a few minutes, she adapted. It was such a good feeling to be out on the water as a family.

At one point, Mimi even took a nap on my kayak. The times we were out on a huge lake close to our summerhouse, were the most relaxing hours the whole summer. Just enjoying our time together as a couple in nature.

We now even thinking about getting a Double Seater (Challenger K2) for guests as well. Would be fun to go kayaking with friends. I keep you updated. 🙂

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjAPaXIHeYw/?igshid=3p6uy6zmq0d7

https://www.instagram.com/p/BjACWWrHyR8/?igshid=d1cowm83ivwm

Romantic garden

Do you have old jars? Doesn’t matter what size…

I had a LOT of them. We’re big in recycling here in Sweden, but right before I was about to chuck them out, I saw this cute idea. Somewhere on the internet on one of my strolls on the hunt for new ideas.

I just wrapped some thin wire around the top and hung them in the summerhouse garden. Super easy and super cheap candle holders and vases.

 

They see me rollin’

Small addition in the “bathroom” in our summerhouse…

Inspiration was found on Pinterest.

I made the designs just simply in Word.

The frames I bought from a second hand store here in Lund. (Erikshjälpen)

 

IMG_1138

A new aviary

A few months ago I took over two budgies. The previous owner didn’t want to keep them, because her cat showed too much interest in them.

I had budgies before and was really excited when it was time to pick them up.

They are two beautiful girls and we named them

Wingardium & Leviosa

You see what we did there??? 😉

For those of you that are not into Harry Potter … Wingardium Leviosa is a charm to make things levitate.

Martin had the idea to name them that since I’m extremely into Harry Potter. He’s a smart one 🙂

So, Wingardium & Leviosa had one of these super high but narrow cages. They were barely moving, always fighting for the highest spot.

So I decided to build them an indoor aviary. But not just any. I wanted one that is special and also looks good in our kitchen/living area. Strolling around on Pinterest, I found those gorgeous aviaries, made out of old cabinets/wardrobes.

That was what I wanted!

It turned out, that it was not too easy to find the right one since I had pretty precise wishes. And like always, I didn’t want to spend much money.

It took a few weeks, but then finally, Martin found something on Facebook Marketplace. It was beautiful and we got it for 750kr (ca 75€)

And then the creative part began.

First, we did cut out the middle wall. Not as easy as it sounds when you don’t have professional equipment.

After sanding all edges, I painted the inside in a greyish blue tone.

Martins dad helped us to cut out the middle parts of the doors where we would fasten the chicken wire.

And when all this was done, I could finally move on to my favorite part. The interior!

Early on in the planning process, I got this idea to have an empty frame on the wall, with a swing hanging in there. So it would look like the birds are a painting when they sit on the swing.

Well, I mounted the swing different as planned, but I’d say I nailed it 🙂

In the middle of the aviary, we fastened a part of a birch, that we took from our summerhouse garden.

Even though until then, the birds were not too adventurous, I wanted them to have a big variety of sitting spots and toys.

And now I’m happy about that.

Since they moved in a few weeks ago, they transformed into completely different birds. They are curious and cheeky. Some mornings when I get ready for work, they sit by the door, yelling at me to open it because they want to fly. Their flying skills improved a lot!

They also use the whole aviary, exploring every single corner in there. Nibbling on everything (something they NEVER did before)

I’m so happy they love it as much as I do!

 

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