Blog is back in business again, and it's M-Day!

Oh, Madonna. Lady Madonna. Happy birthday! Sixty today, and still able to cause a stir, make some serious noise and fill the dancefloor. Unapologetic, controversial and fearlessly fashionable, from the day she was born I imagine, and such an inspiration for my generation. 

From the moment I first laid eyes on her, sometime around Like a Virgin (an album I purchased immediately on it's DK release in 1884), I was smitten. And I still am.

The photo above, is taken by Richard Corman in 1983, just six weeks before her first album was released, and her almost immediate stardom was a fact. And no wonder, huh? It just shows.
Read about his work with a 24 year old, yet quite unknown Madonna, right here.

Here are a couple more of his great, great shots!

I loved that early phase of ruthless accessorizing, and her first, bouncy Jellybean ('Holiday' is, and will always be, one of my favourite Madonna tunes) and Nile Rogers produced hits. 

But she has remained a personal star and inspiration, because no matter what crazy, surprising turns her musical and personal style have taken, she has practically always felt just right and like exactly the thing you needed! How does she do it? And I say practically, because some of her work has been more marginal - but that has never been a problem for an artist who has the guts to experiment and develop. 

But there is consistency, oh yes! Because of course that gypsy/punk princess of the Richard Corman photos could be a film noir fetish godess. Or a geisha. Or a cowgirl.

The circa 1990 Blonde Ambition phase, the razor sharp looking Gaultier / Dolce & Gabbana clad superstar, was another highlight for me. If you haven't seen In Bed with Madonna, you should!

Vogue will make me dance anytime, anywhere (and I will still try to do voguey arm gestures, and be crappy at it), and the video is breathtakingly cool. I literally get goosebumps, every time I hear that opening chord. Just did, again. 

I could go on. But I won't.
Listen to your own Madonna Playlist today, celebrate a feisty woman who continues to grow and go new places, and is wonderfully age defying, when it comes to dress, style and propriety. 

I will end with a couple of some of my later favourite looks - connecting to my favourite Madonna title track: Ray of Light and my perhaps favourite-as-a-whole album: Music. Meet the healthy yogi with a suntan (!) from 1998 (photo by Mario Testino), and the folksy rhinestone cowgirl from 2000 (photo by Jean Baptiste Mondino)....

Ray of Light - a song that caused one of my worst running accidents, because I just can't keep my energy under control when I listen to that track. I simply flew along to it on an icy park road, onto which I fell, as long as I was - with smashed eyewear and much facial bloodiness as a result.

"Quicker than a ray of light I'm flying..." - and on my face and ass I landed.

From the brilliant Music: Listen to: Don't Tell Me or Amazing


Spring explosion and April recap

Exactly a month ago, we had the last snowfall this spring (I very much assume) after a very, very cold and snowy March. And then everything just exploded! We have had a historically summery April, and have had lots of fun, and been very busy.

But wow, is everything splendid, right now....

These first two images are exactly one month apart: the first snowdrops from our garden - and a glorious cherry tree I passed somewhere, yesterday.

The month went by in such a rush, starting with Easter, of course. 

We did a lot of those things we always enjoy: had several days off, went to lunch-parties and sent out a lot of Easter Fools Letters, or Riddle Letters, and even got a few. The fabulous green egg-shaped vintage vase below, was a prize for a such a letter, given to me, by my dear midcentury-modern aficionado friend. Lucky me!

We even went to Berlin for a couple of very eventful days!

We went to Berlin for two very specific reasons (if you ask me): First we did a little run in the sun (it was seriously hot) - and to celebrate that, we had my very special favorite Shiso Burger with fresh, minty apple-lemonade and lots of fries.

In Berlin it felt like actual summer, and had only done so for a few days when we arrived. But the evenings were already warm, and everywhere people were out and about....

Later on we celebrated the race just a little bit more at the cosy Mikkeller Bar in Torstrasse.  

And I have to show you the view from the hotel roof terrace (and sorry for that extremely poor cropping of the TV tower)!

The legs are feeling rested now, and we spend most of our time trying to get our garden + small summer residence in some kind of working order. On a personal, professional level, I am very busy looking for new jobs and projects at the moment, and blogging is going into summer slow mode. 

My son gets in the last word (as usual) in this what-ever-became-of-the-last-many-weeks post. He is presently very interested in mixing sticky and oddly non-related substances together, in order to make play slime - which is the thing, right now. At least hereabouts....

Good thing they can do it outside, now. It does get kind of messy, I can tell you.


Pleated Easter Eggs

Pleating is not origami, but another great way to manipulate paper into strong three dimensional objects, and this year's Easter DIY project, is fun to try, if you have never tried pleating before. 

There is only one horizontal pleating line in this design - and I have made it super easy for you, because all the necessary lines are clearly marked on the design.

I made six different designs for these easter egg like little lanterns, and I have made some variations to them, by pleating along different lines, and turning them some of them - so some are egg like, others more hot air balloon like, if you see what I mean. 

I also made you a little tutorial, with some photos showing the process and a few bits of advice. Pleating is hard to explain, it has to be tried and experienced - and then it becomes easy!

I went a bit color crazy - I long for spring and warmth and sun - and these are a bit more circus and carnival than traditional Easter decorations, but perhaps you feel the same?

Have a colorful Easter, and happy folding and pleating!


Palm frond weaving - an Easter tradition

This morning we woke up to another snowy day in Copenhagen! Easter starts this Sunday, and we are all more or less desperate for some real spring. So let's enjoy ourselves a moment with a lovely Easter tradition from some of the sunnier places in the world (such places where palm trees grow).

Making beautiful woven ornaments from palm fronds or leaves, is an Easter tradition for Palm Sunday (the day commemorating the triumphant return of Jesus into Bethlehem, where all his followers would wave palm leaves and greet him as a king). 

I have been curious about this tradition for a long time, having seen it on Pinterest and other places where folk art, DIY or crafts are shared - lovely and intricately woven crosses, flowers, crowns or animals - many Christian symbols, of course, but also poles or flower like pieces, like the palaspas above, from the Philippines, where the tradition is very strong. The palaspas are carried in great Easter processions, and sometimes also adorned with straw flowers.

There seem to be almost no limit to the many pattern variations and techniques - and the tradition exists in most of Latin America, in many catholic churches in USA and is also widespread in Italy.

In Florida and other places in the Southern USA, I have seen street vendors making quite non-religious sun hats, roses, grasshoppers and other pretty little things, so of course the material and the techniques are used for all kinds of things.

I find all these simple and so beautiful weavings very inspiring, and would love to try and have a go at it, if I can find some strong enough grass like plant in Denmark, that would do. LOTS of tutorial videos on YouTube, just search for 'easter', 'palm weaving', 'palaspas' and you'll find them. 

And to my joy, I discovered that it is also big in Ethiopia, a country that holds a special place in my heart (our son was born there), where the orthodox Christian community has a big Easter feast called Hosanna, where they give each other home made palm leaf rings - called Hosanna-rings! Aren't they great? The technique used here, reminds me of these paper necklaces.

Image credits, from top:

Palm Sunday in Mexico, Pinterest
Philippine 'palaspas' by Elmer Nocheseda
Domingo de Ramos palaspas from the Philippines, by Mike Alda
More Philippines: flower palaspas, and procession outside church, both Pinterest
Details both by unknown protographers, but the wreath is by Cecilia Woodrome
Hosanna rings and Ethiopian Hosanna procession, also found on Pinterest


Amazing creations by Mariko Kusumoto

Mariko Kusumoto is a Japanese born artist, living in Massachusetts.

She works in several different materials, but I discovered her, through amazing images of her sculptural polyester fibre jewellery, on Pinterest and places like that. Her amazing craftsmanship leaves me breathless, and I have been wanting to share some of her work here for a long time. 

When I did a bit of research, I also discovered her mind boggling and intricate metalwork (links later in this post), but I will focus on her delicate jewels here. 

Apparently she creates these objects by heating thin, filmy polyester fabrics, and then moulds them, in some fantastic way, I am hardly able to imagine. This Is Colossal has an article, where her technique is somewhat explained. 

Nature in all shapes or forms - and colours - seem to be represented here, there are flowers, jellyfish, fungi, corals or micro organisms studied in a Petri dish, all mixed up in the most delightful way. 

As I mentioned, I came across a lot of writing about her metal work, and it is every bit as stunning and full of detail as these creatures.

It is more weird, fairytale like, full of images and symbols. Go check out this article from New England Home, wich also tells a bit about her unusual background (she grew up in a Buddhist temple!).

In this video she demonstrates a metal sculpture, which is almost like a Victorian puppet theatre, or some kind of three dimensional, magical in-a-box-world.

And here she is!
You can follow her on Facebook as well....


Almost a tradition: Valentine's Origami

The last couple of years, I have done a Valentine's origami project for the blog, where I have done special patterns, tutorials and such, but this year I have been too busy. 

The other evening I did try these three dimensional puffy hearts, though, and they were fun to make. I found them on the Paper Kawaii YouTube-channel - a really great place to go, if you like origami. The instructions are very well produced and super easy to follow. 

Have a cosy, or perhaps even romantic, February 14th. Be good to someone, maybe especially yourself!

Go check out the flat origami hearts from last year - or perhaps the Hidden Heart origami letters from 2016. That year I also posted some Valentine's themed traditional Menko and Tato folded origami letters.


Yes, it's that time of year

It's friday and I'm packing for the annual skiing trip to Sweden, a topic I have covered in great length before - but I hope you'll forgive me. It's simply that I am always so delirious with joy that we are going, and can hardly wait. I get like a five year old, when I look at the images from the other years, to me it's better than Christmas (well, almost) and New Years put together, and the best thing we do all winter.

It also gives me an excuse to post silly or nostalgic skiing outfit pictures, so today I am presenting to you (above) the lovely Lady Clementine Churchill, in two piece wool, Hermès scarf and St. Bernard dog. 1937 in St. Moritz, of course, where apparently most truly stylish skiing takes place. She gets to go first, because I just watched the very see worthy 'The Crown' on Netflix, where she is portrayed in a very sweet manner. 

I adore these ladies as well....

However, I could not see myself doing much skiing in heavy wool trousers, fur and stiff leather boots. Skiing I find complicated enough as it is, and modern, functional sportswear are one of the reasons it is doable. 

Except this polka dot number from a sixties editorial in Italian Vogue. Now, that I could go for. 

(images are from Getty Archives and Condé Nast Traveller)


Suits January perfectly: Brutgroup on Instagram

My favourite Instagram flow at the moment is this one: @BRUTgroup - a curated selection of images submitted from all over the world, with one theme: Brutalist architecture. Now, this is an architectural style most people have lots of opinion about, and no wonder, as it often has a kind of totalitarian-regime-vibe, and seems to be more about elaborate, over-the-top visions, rather than constructive ideas. 

But if you follow this account, and see the generous flow of images from all corners of the world, you get a much more nuanced idea, and sometimes simply a bit of a laugh - some of the projects are really absurd (and beware: a few of them are created in Photoshop!).

But there is something really beautiful here, I think. At least it's sculptural and eerie, and just perfect as a kind of architecture of the soul for this January, with its usual lack of sunshine and eternal howling wind. 

All images are from BRUTgroup on Instagram. From top, buildings from Morocco, UK, Brazil, Japan and Vietnam. Some are old, some more recent. Go check this cool account yourself!