Let's talk blogs.

So I MAY be jacked up on cold brew with condensed milk (Unngh) but bear with me here.

 I have had blogs in one form or another since 2005, and I have enjoyed reading other people’s blogs for as long. Sometimes people speak of the great blog death, and having been in the game during the years between ´06 and´12, a part of me agrees. Because dang, I had so much fun! Writing myself (resulting in real life friends, that win?!) and reading so many great ones. Men and women told stories of their lives, embroidered tales with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat for a week waiting for the next chapter. There was a true sense of getting to know someone, through their words and speech, without having any idea of who they were IRL. People with messages they wanted to throw out into the world and see who responds. Communities made. Link love and silly awards. Less polished surfaces and more creative joy.

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 This morning I tried finding a bunch of my old favourites again that I know have thrown in the towel, but most of them have gone into the obscurity of the internet. The few I could reach being dead end pages echoing words written in 2010, 2011, 2012.

 I don’t want to be a reactionary person, but I think I am in this case. I look back at the past blogging times with rosy, glittery glasses and reminisce about how it was before everything got so heavily saturated by consumerism and affiliate links, and the sense that every blog should be a business.

 I don’t mind affiliate links, as long as their context is part of some kind of storytelling. There’s obviously a market for short paragraphed statements, flashy pictures of happy people brunching and ”You can find my dress here!”, but I just don’t get it.

 I understand that time moves on, that people find other things to do with their time when life gets more complicated, and that social media is just so much easier to access and make a little time for, here and there. The waning engagement and lessening of traffic may discourage bloggers from putting in time and effort into something that just isn’t gaining the traction that it did initially, and I get that. It doesn’t make me miss the old times any less, though.

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 Stubborn as I am, I’ve always been a teensy meensy blogger. People who are like ”In the beginning, I ONLY had 100 visitors a day on my blog!”. That’s my high point, man. In 2015. I don’t appeal to the general public, my wording makes my posts unsearchable and my topics only affect the few. And that’s fine with me. Writing and reading blogs is the next best thing of the internet, a close second to information searching and you know, life stuff like paying bills and communicating with friends. Without blogs, socially, there would only be the regular social media. Fast media, made to capture you for pin pricks of endorphin rushes as you scroll through endless feeds of wordless images or statements pressed into short sentences because no one cares to read text anymore*.

It’s just not for me. I’m not a perfect blog-wizard with a super regular posting schedule nor do I always perform my absolute best, but I still have the joy of blogging with me.

 I don’t really know what I’m trying to say with this post, but I’m gonna let it out there anyway. Maybe my point is just that I won’t give up, because I love it. The dorkiness of it all. Writing for writing’s sake, storytelling because storytelling is awesome. Reading because taking part of other people’s stories is great. I shout into the fancy winds that I want more of the regular people’s lives, and if you know someone who has a great blog, or if you do yourself, tell me. I want it all, to sift through and find new favourites apart from the few I have today.

 Because blogging is great, and I want more people to do it.

 

*The worst of all the blogging tips that pop up now and then.

How to dye leather in 13 terrifying steps (hint, 10 are the same)

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We now have a fabulous dining room.

The realization that I CAN COLOUR LEATHER

Now, you have to put yourself into my position, and I bet you know what that position is. Yes. More colour and DIY’s for erryone!

So, imagine my excitement when I realized that there was actually a way of changing colour on the jarring white leather dining room chairs that were in my general possession.  A cold March afternoon I got searching for solutions, and I found a website selling stuff to make old colours of leather go bye-bye!

After eyeballing the entire website that was enlightening me of this magical interior decorating-unicorn I was sweating with excitement and fell all over myself out of the couch, tumbled down the stairs to the basement like an avalanche of unsure outcomes and taking risks with someone else’s possessions and after a few hasty steps over the original 1970’s snotty green patterned vinyl flooring, I flew into the cave we call an office space. I informed my partner that EITHER WE’RE GOING FAB or… he’s paying for six new comfortable dining chairs after I sort of really ruin the ones we have. Are you in?!

He, in his usual, almost uncannily positive enabler-form, gave me a thumbs up and patted me on the butt.

No misgivings? No hesitancy? Well that was far too easy! It’s like he trusts me to succeed in my endeavors? What does this mean? In my mind, all the possible dreamy DIY scenarios popped right up from Fantasy Box nr. 3 and tried to squeeze themselves into my rational, sane, held-back-horizon and oh no, this is gonna end badly.

Once I regained my bearings and had managed to return to the couch, I hovered my clickety-click over the ”Order”-button on earlier mentioned unicorn-website. Am I doing it? I am doing it. I’m gonna go out on a limb and maybe trash six perfectly functioning chairs because I can’t stand them in the deathly depressing shade of whatever terror society calls ”white”. Destroyed and brown is better than white and pristine, AMIRIGHT? Okay, so you don’t have to agree with me, but here’s how I did it anyway! Click and off the order went!

First of all, for anyone of you out there that would like to try this yourselves. The colour dubbed ”Dark Dark Brown”, wasn’t brown at all. It was a dark, dark purple. Totally in order, said the company because according to them, people usually prefer a lot of redness in their dark brown leather goods. Madness. I didn’t, and was offered to send the bottle back (even though I’d used it a little to sample) and get a new, cooler, less red one called ”Dark Brown” sent to me instead. And might I say, Dark Brown is well, dark brown. DIY saved!

Prep work

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Starting off with white chairs that didn’t mesh with the moody, sultry dining room at all.

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The magic! Okay, so I realized afterwards that I didn’t need the Ultra Clean nor the Protection Cream, but I’m sure I can use them later on for something else.

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Leather supplies, an old broken sock cut into three for the cleaning steps (the cloth bled pink so I didn’t use that one), a work space consisting of the floor with some cardboard, as usual…, and a packet of gloves because once you drop one of those boxes on the floor at a tattoo shop, it’s either the garbage or it’s going home with you to serve it’s lifetime with dyeing hair or cleaning stuff, and not being around people’s freshly made tattoos.

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The first phase of cleaning was SO SATISFYING.

Scrubbing six chairs with two cleaning agents wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but hey. I felt safe, it was going well, the white colour rubbed off on my cleaning sock as they mentioned on the website. Things were going well. Maybe I’m not gonna mess this up?! There are different kinds of leather and different types of faux leather, all which can be dyed this way, but they have different cleaning needs. I wasn’t too sure so I chanced it a little, *ahem*, but it turned out right!

The dyeing

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The first layer went on… like this. Oh shit. I’ve ruined the chair. This is NEVER GONNA work! Cue me, sipping coffee, staring at the horrible chair. An electrician peeped in to tell me something, looked at the chair, didn’t mention it and kept on working. Yeah. I’m screwed. Now we have to sell five perfectly fine chairs with an sixth ugly cousin added for free. Dangit! But the website did say not to try and make the first layer even, so yeah no that’s not gonna happen even if I did try so…

Now it’s too late, might as well continue, right?

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Layer three and two. Oh, okay… So there’s hope right?

Now, I am gonna add that the company recommends using a sponge for the first and second layer, and then airbrushing the colour on until satisfied. I do not have an airbrush-thingie, so.. I sponged it all the way. In hindsight, I’d say that if you are gonna dye large areas of leather, get an airbrush. Just do it.

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Here we’re into layers four and five I think. Three? I’m not sure. There were soo many layers.

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Neeeveereeending stoooory, aah aah aahh aaaaaah.

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Layers seven? Eight? Even the owl I caught peeping was doubting that this would ever be finished.

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But then! After sponging on ten, yes, ten layers, they all looked like this! The dye itself is a little sticky, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it over the span of a couple of days like I did, because dust and lint gets stuck on the surface and.. yeah, well, it’s in there forever now. Summary: Get a fricking airbrush and just sweep over it all, man.

Altough, I’m always more keen to approve of a little faulty things made by me, so I don’t mind it that much. The imperfections and all that. They’re fine even though I may have wanted it perfect.

After the dye layers, you need to put on a leather finish, that are available in shiny as fuck, satin softness and matte dusty desert. I chose the satin variety.

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So, being without an airbrush, I brushed the finish on. I tried getting it a little thicker on there with the brush and I did three layers to really make it solid and be able to hold hopefully for years and years to come. I tried making it all even and I checked before it dried if it looked okay, which it did. But as you can see, the finish is really uneven, and it’s apparent in most lights. So I would reallllly recommend using an airbrush for ALL OF IT. But hey, done is done, and I’m pleased anyways. And, I’ve learned a whole lot on dyeing/painting leather!

Would totally do again with the lessons in mind. I give myself a… 4/5, one point extra for bravery.

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Now I have a much nicer view into the dining room from the sofa! Yay!

Winter's back, dangit

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Residing in the freshly sorted dining room, I stare out the window. The grey blanket of clouds outside bathes the room in cold, stingy light. Beyond the window glass, in the flattened, sad looking greyish brown garden about a 1000 chaffinches are wandering about, looking for food by promenading over the lawn and turning leaves. Some get the luxury of catching the few bugs that have regrettably managed to crawl their way up into the surprising cold that this mid-April Sweden has to offer.

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The weather reports are alluring, tempting, with the ample temperature of ”Just around freezing” the coming six days, without as much as a hint of that long wished for warm, soothing sunlight. One of my gently cared for cucumber plants have already frozen on the patio. I can admit that my attempts of keeping the patio at about +15C with the help of a heating fan has failed because the icy gale celebrates the coming of “spring” by refusing to relinquish any of its powers. I haven’t totally failed because even when it was a bit below freezing out, the patio kept a temperature of +10C. But this is, of course, way too cold for cucumber plants, dangit...

I feel like wandering out on the lawn, getting on my knees and, with fists turned to the dark sky, beg it to forsake it’s cold grasp and let us gently into the spring season. I mean, the lawn had JUST gotten rid of the last remnants of the thigh-deep snow and now snow is flaking down from the skies in true guy-in-the-grocerystore-queue-that-scrathes-his-scalp-that-tad-too-much-manner.

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I guess that images of wonderful, messy times (aka, last week) on the patio will have to do, while we hold our breath for spring.

Needless to say, I am not pleased. Last year we went from winter to summer in a week, it was all very confusing and very much Monty Pythonesque. And while I do love Monty Python, I prefer my seasons a little more… balanced and predictable. But now I’m being silly, what’s more predictable than a fucking freezing April in Sweden? Nothing really. Do you know who the original April fools are? Lemme tell you. Swedes believing that they can go outside in thin jean jackets and those fancy new vans they’ve excitedly bought in anticipation of warmer weather, just because it’s hot and sunny a random April Tuesday. They’re the fools. Year after year they do it. And year after year, they get caught in the literal ice cold realization, as the sun is starting to set, that it was all an illusion, a prank made by nature and the sun in a devious, probably very entertaining, scheme.

Now, the reason for my moaning is of course the fact that I filled all my windows with little plants that then needed bigger pots and then all of a sudden, I had too much plants and too few windows, so out on the patio they had to go, especially since I need to start planting the next generation of seeds that demand their space in said windows. You could say I should have foreseen this event, but sometimes I like just living in denial, okay? I’ll solve it till next year (okay so I probably won’t, but just let me live a little!).

Because, even if I’m not one to wear a jean jacket until the end of May, I am too a forever hopeful April’s fool.

 

Going full Goldmember

It’s been quiet for a little while on my little space in... the web space. I could claim that I’ve been doing anything much but I’ve mostly just painted stuff, anything I could get my hands on in the shade of silver or white, really. Oh, and I’ve been spending wayyy too much time with electricians because we’re SAVING US FROM TERRIBLE DEATHS AND FIRES, shortly speaking.

We can just condense the last few weeks experience into a sigh of relief and an older man saying “Oh damn, I have to tell the owner about this” while stomping down the stairs. DON’T YOU COME DOWN THE STAIRS AND TELL ME ABOUT ANOTHER FIRE HAZARD, SHERYL. Okay, so it was less of a fire hazard and more of a “You’re fucking lucky to be alive” kind of situation this time, very well then. And also, my little statement in the last post about not actually touching electrical things because they’re not for us DIA’ers still holds true, because if an actual electrician tells you to hold something or to shove cables into a little pipe in the wall, it’s okay to do it.

But hey, it’s nice having a house, that’s bleeding money and could be considered fatal at times. It is. I mean. It is. Yeah. It is.

Moving on.

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Speaking of DIA’ers, I’m coming to you with half of what I’ve actually been doing on my off-electrician time since we spoke last. I don’t know about you, but at least I am a person that wants to banish pretty much everything in silver from my life, and replace it with gold. That’s right. The last few weeks, I’ve gone full Goldmember, and I’m not even done yet.

You know how it goes; I got a hold of that bottle of golden paint and just sort of swiped random things throughout the house and made them sparkle in the dazzle of sunlight. At least that rough concrete-dust-soot corner in the horror room now shines bright like the sun. Gold has never hurt anyone, right!

It all started with a lamp that my partner brought with him into our mutual home. He did wish it was gold instead of the shiny silver hue that it had, and the expression on his face when I told him that there’s actually a golden version of it… It’s just not available at our little Ikea, because almost nothing is. When we visited an Ikea in a larger town an hour away, we stared at like 24 of them. Lined up, almost just to spite him. “I can paint it, but it won’t look like that”, I said and pointed at the chromey shiney deliciousness of the golden lamps. He hissed “Do it, we already have it!” and started looking at something that didn’t offend him instead.

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The main offender 

Yes, I changed the white lamp shade to a beige one (huge surprise!), and I am gonna paint the rest of the cord. I just need the useless months before I get my hand out of my ass and do it. You know the drill.

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Then there were those baroquey candle holders that I bought for a surprising low sum ten years ago. I’ve always liked them, but also kind of thought they needed some sprucing up. Oh! Look! I have some leftover golden paint on my brush, whoops, just so happened to swipe it across my candle holders!

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 Look at that enhancement! It’s fit for a porn site ad, but without making outrageous claims!

And then, my friends, then there were the silvery huge candle sticks that my partner brought with him. I’m so fortunate that he wants to banish all the damn silver he brought into my life, geesh. With these, I tried something new. Something different. Something in a spray can. Yes. I dared sacrifice my partner’s candle holders to take my goldspray-virginity. Just for him. *cough*And hey, it’s not perfect, there’s bits of silver peeping through and I sort of sprayed dust into place (no one told me I had to dust off the tops between sprayings, how could I possibly know that a room made of crumbling plaster would dust my stuff!), but if you don’t look very closely, or squint a lot, they almost look like they ARE perfect! Good enough for this DIA’er!

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Much like missing a before picture of the now golden lamp, this was the only picture I could find that has the silvery thingies in them, because I really need to start taking pictures of things I don’t like very much as well.

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Next up is a bunch of cords, maybe some pipes and the chrome legs of the dining chairs I coloured… lemme tell you about the chairs a little later.

Managing my obsessive planting in GoodNotes (4)

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As I’ve said before, when I turned to the dark side and ordered my iPad, I wished that it would come into sooo much use that I wouldn’t regret or angst over the amount of money spent on a tech thingie when I already had other tech thingies. But seriously, together with and thanks to, Goodnotes, it’s the best tool I’ve ever had. I never type on the iPad, nor edit pictures, but I do sooo many other things.

One of them is to keep track of what I’m actually doing in life. School, calendar, lists, information and slips I may need in the future that WILL get lost in the vast expanses of our house (JK, I can lose things on a dime), recipes I want to try and recipes I’ve tweaked to my liking, house things, and... the plant things. Having bought an overwhelming amount of seeds that needs categorizing into each of their month of planting, ways of planting, where they should be located later on etc, and of course the instructions on the packets is good to save for a forgetful seagull like me.

So what does an avid user of GoodNotes do? Start a new notebook of course, complete with a front cover. As you can see down below, not all of my books have covers yet, but I am working on it (in ProCreate on my pad, lavv it)!

I’m still using GoodNotes 4 because the 5th version messed with my documents, so I’m just waiting that out for a while longer.

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One of the things I like, and prefer in the 4th over the 5th version, is that the document pages previews three in a row, instead of four. It’s easier to see what kind of pages I’m looking for when they’re bigger in size. Although, you can opt for adding bookmarks which is really handy when having lots of similar looking pages close to another, making the thumbnails harder to see what you’re looking for, but that is an extra step and you have to add them all yourself.

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I used a simple gridded A4 paper in the GoodNotes (Version 5 has dotted too!) to make a chart of the plants and their schedules. I just used the geometric… button, and lined it all directly in GoodNotes, and then copied it for further use. Preferred months to be planted in brown, pink flowering times, and green harvesting times for edibles.

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I made a chart for where the plants will like spending their time, just to get an overview of what I need to regard when planning the garden. From the top; just outdoors, warm locations/half way sheltered, and then green house. From the left to the right; Sunny, half way shade and shade. And no, I’m not surprised that no plants want to lounge in shady green houses. But hey! In the future, maybe some plants will fit in that category, ey?

I also made small notations about the life span of the plants so I can hopefully make less terrible decisions when it’s time to shove them out into the world. I don’t want to have to dig up plants next year because I’m stupid, not in control of anything and/or forgetful.

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And here you have an example of the specific plant pages. The ones I could find of the internet, I added from there. The ones that I couldn’t find, I photographed and added instead. We’ll see how I like it and keep up with it! I forget so much from year to year so I think it’s gonna do me good to save stuff…

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In conclusion; without the pen, the iPad would be just another random tech thing for me. With the pen, it’s the most awesome tool to do almost anything. We’ll see how long I’ll keep on with GoodNotes 4 instead of the 5th, and if this actually makes me keep track of my shit.

How to do DIY yourself! (yes, it's supposed to be read that way)

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If you’re anything like me, you’re a stubborn, home-decorating DIYer with a flair for the fun instead of the fancy. Aka, you persist on focusing on projects that are bordering on or hover just above your general level of knowledge, skill and for the most part, laziness, and just DO IT ANYWAY.

Maybe I should call it ”DIAer”…

Because even if the simple spice rack is built from like eight bits of wood that have just been sawed off right in the middle, they’re still not equally long, straight, nor even. The thing didn’t even fit right but I... made it fit. Hehehe. *whirrs electrical screwdriver and winks* One shelf leans outwards (I have no idea why) so it’s just a matter of time before the salt and pepper grinder starts sliding closer to its sudden doom. But, if that happens, I’ll just nail a little wood strip there and TADA, problem solved and the spice rack is back to fucking PERFECT again.

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Don’t let anyone fool you. The kitchen table is a perfectly suitable spice rack until YOU say otherwise!

So hey! Here’s my guide how YOU can be as awesome as me in doing home projects and get pleased enough by the result that you’re inclined to make tutorials on the internet!  

1. Wander about your own home, stare at sections of it and feel slight feelings of discontentment. Or get angry with messes and stuff that has no homes, that’s the most efficient one.

2. Research what you want instead. Dream big, gurl! Do you want to paint your entire bedroom a forest green and place build storage perfectly adapted to your needs and add copper piping just because it’s pretty? Save that shit in your inspiration folder. The things you do later on may look nothing like it, but NO ONE CAN STEAL YOUR DREAMS! 

3. Make an actual plan of what needs to be done. Measurements of the place of project, its needs, your needs, prep work, materials, how you like it to be, where you can shortcut the shit out of it (this is important for us lazy people). 

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The importance of having a proper place to DIY is just propaganda from the workbench lobby, I swear.

4.  Invest in or gather all that paraphernalia that you need for your project to go through. I would say that good quality tools are a great way to start, but that makes me sound like some kind of professional person and we don’t want that!

5. This is the most important step; Lower your standards. I know, I know, but the rule of not lowering your standards cannot apply to DIY’s because even the most skilled ones that make magical things the general public drops their coffee cups in awe over, are displeased afterwards. Yes, we’re JUST LIKE the awesome ones! We can do it (on our level)!

6. Do it. Make it. Swear over it. Shove that shit together even though it’s not really fitting together anymore and you don’t understand why. If needed, use screws and glue and tape and industrial straps. If being reaaally careful and finicky isn’t really your thing, just wing it when it feels good! It’s all fine! 

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Some say that need is the mother of invention, but
one should not underestimate the importance of laziness.

7. Fasten your stuff properly; you don’t want your projects to meet their doom in loose screws getting detached from the wall. If anything, they’re gonna end their lives by you getting fed up with them. Install that marvel and finish it off, don’t leave half assed projects lying around. What? What’s in the corner? Oh it’s just the drawers I’m supposed to assemble… later. All those framed pictures on the floor? They’re going up… soon. Hm, what? Oh, that’s just boxes of stuff we’re donating.. shortly.

8. Enjoy your work of DIA-art and use the hell out of it! It’s AWESOME! YOU MADE IT! Yeah, so I COULD BUY a spice rack but why would I want to when I could make it myself and get it… well not exactly as I wanted it, but pretty dang close because everything I make myself automatically gets added awesomeness and forgiveness, and also I lowered my standard! 

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9. Post that piece of wonder on the internet. The internet needs more pleasantly passable DIY’s, more tolerable storage solutions, more decent interior home projects of the ”not bad” persuasion.

10. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

(11.) And keep the fuck away from plumbing and electricity; we're not made for that.

Third time is the charm even for gardening?

Honestly, things kind of just got out of hand. In more ways than one.

I was supposed to cheerily submit a post last week about this topic, but when I sat down by the kitchen table to take some photos of the seed packets I looked around the kitchen and saw things that didn’t belong and you know that itch to instantly do something totally different than the thing you actually set out to do sets in and you find yourself five hours later, having turned the entire kitchen upside down, rebuilt shelves, cleared out the fridge, washed stuff up, sorted, decluttered and gotten annoyed by exactly how many bags of cinnamon you have? No? Come on, I know you do. Oh, and there were four of them. Four. Yeah, I don’t know either.

Anyways, that’s what happened last week. No pictures of seed packets were taken and no plan was made nor any seeds planted. The kitchen looks great, though.

So, today I tried again. I sauntered into the kitchen around 11 AM and made myself three large cups of coffee to kick start up this sack of potatoes of a body and figured I’d just clear the dining room table and sort my packets in there instead seeing as the kitchen table is full of spice jars because what I ACTUALLY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO today was to assemble a spice rack so we can use the kitchen table again, but let’s not derail us any further.

I sat down, spread the packets out on the dining table and gleefully started planning my attack on the beloved activity of putting small pieces of green into small portions of soil and just hoping for the best. I managed to take some photos, go me!

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But then I thought, “We’re supposed to plant all these dang seeds, and gosh jolly there’s a lot of them, but where?” The patio is a fucking disaster and the little plastic pots I’m supposed to plant in are somewhere in the middle of it. I grabbed my witchy cup of coffee and ventured out onto the patio.

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“Dang, there’s a lot of stuff here.” I stared for a long time at the patio, breaking a sweat because even in Sweden, in February, glazed patios hold the lovely temperature of 35C/95F in the sun. I lifted a bag of fire wood, had nowhere to put it, dropped it again and thought; “We should keep these in the garage, but there’s a disaster in there too.”

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“Yeah, plant those veggies, do it. See if you get to keep’em for yourselves. Hint; you wont.”

The garage. I stared at the garage. Dangit. Before I even had time to register the decision, I knew what tree I was barking up. Cue me seven hours later, sitting down for the first time since that faithful second on the patio, having gone through and sorted the entire garage, sorted and cleaned the patio, AND shoveled my way through 50 meters of icy, knee deep snow to reach the outhouse where the dang missing plastic planting pots could be. They weren’t there, nor in the garage or on the patio.

So naturally I haven’t managed to plant any seeds yet. The garage and patio looks great, though.