This made me smile

I can't entirely decide where I stand, when it comes to Hillary Clinton - part from quite a lot of woman-to-woman admiration for her toughness and resilience.

But I do know that this piece of political merchandise, or whatever this particular product category is called, is hilarious (get it?)...

You can buy right here, in the Hillary for America Shop...!!



I saw the French/Mauretanian film Timbuktu last night, and it was one of those unforgettable experiences, that will just linger with you for the longest time. You must absolutely go see it, if you get the chance. It is still on in a few places in Copenhagen, if you are quick. It is stunningly beautiful to watch (and brutal, be prepared for that), and is really worth seeing on the big screen.

It is the story about what happens to peaceful civilized life in a small West African town, when islamic fundamentalists take over law and order, resulting in - among many other things - music, singing and football being prohibited. You could think a painful topic like this, would result in a film filled with rage and chaos, but it is a quiet, almost matter-of-fact story, that lets the events unfold (and tragedy approach) in a slow pace, without noise or any outer big drama. And that makes it so much more powerful.

I promise you, there are faces and landscapes in that film you will never forget.
Also, that it will break your heart, but in a necessary and most relevant way.

You can see the official trailer here - but I recommend you simply go see the whole thing, asap!

There is a wonderful scene in the film, where the village boys play football, but without the ball itself (thus making it non-football, and therefore acceptable?), to mock the Police Islamique. In the beginning of it, you see a youngster being sentenced to forty whip lashes, for playing football, and then you see them playing - or not playing!. I've had to see that scene again and again, and you can too, right here.

One of the most wonderful young actors I have seen for a long time, is the 12 year old Layla Walet Mohamed, who plays Toya, one of the main characters. I googled her, and found a surprising story.

While searching for actors, the director Abderrahmane Sissako visited a refugee camp in Mauretania. He was actually looking for a younger girl, but this particular, much older girl just keept popping up everywhere, and Sissako was persuaded to change the script, simply to create a role for her.

She is so beautiful and touching and you simply cannot forget her face. I hope that her acting debut will be a step towards a proud future for young Layla!

Music plays a very important role in the film, and  to get a taste of what the jihadists forbid in the story (as well as in real life), I will end this heartfelt recommendation with the wonderful Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, who also plays a role in the film, as a girl who gets in terrible trouble for singing. 

Listen to her here, from the official soundtrack: 'Timbuktu Fasso'


Fabric Art by Martine Myrup

I am blown away by the work of this lady. 

She is the Danish textile artist Martine Myrup, and she has chosen a method, for creating most of her strikingly beautiful pieces (she works in many fields, but these words will focus on her work with re-used fabric); she rummages thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales for old men's shirts, aprons, tattered bed linens, table cloths - well you know: those things you find in heaps, and for next to nothing, sometimes.

Then she creates these incredibly sophisticated garments and objects, with painstaking care and craft.

Explore her blog, where she often shows steps of the process, starting with the original thrifted garments and scraps, and ending up with some very surprising designs. Her blog is called Elusive Owl.

I borrowed all these images from Martine's blog, and you can also follow her interesting work on Facebook and Instagram.

Pillows must be a special love for her; she has made so many, and her awesome patchwork skills really shows, when she turns a couple of nondescript old men's shirt into these:

The pillow above (which is made from some rather plain gingham pattern cloth, by the way), she also shows seen from the backside, and that is almost as beautiful as the front (the true mark of an excellent seamstress):

Another specialty of Martine's is her urns (see also the first two images).

This one is made from a ladies blouse, and the not-so-interesting floral print, becomes so elegant, in this delicate 3D object. Check out how she saves a color detail for the bottom of the urn!

And see what becomes of this lovely old peach and blue embroidered table cloth, when she gets her hands on it.

A sleek, stripey pillow - and the most adorable little Christmas ornaments from the leftover square embroidered details.


May 5th is Children's Day

Readers of this blog will know that I have a thing for Japan. And today, May 5th, it is a national holiday in Japan, the Children's Day - or the Kodomo no Hi, celebrating children and their parents. It used to be about fathers and sons only, but that has been officially changed to include all children, and even mothers as well! Read much more about that here.

The reason I even know about this, is because I have always loved those fish streamers you see around this time of year in Japan. They are called Koinobori - literally meaning carp (= koi) banner (= nobori) - and the carp fish symbolizes strength and determination (as it swims upstream) something all children can use a bit of!

The Koinobori are flown from tall bamboo poles, in 'families' - a large black on top, representing the father, a slightly smaller red, representing the mother - then a blue one for the eldest child, and so forth in various colors.

I have them in several colors and sizes, and use them as decorations here or there, all year round, by the way! My son's birthday is on May 28th, and we have a large red and white one (= Danish birthday colors) we usually fly on that day. Mine are from here, they have a variety of different types. 

(pics from top: woodblock print by Haruki Kobayashi via www.sakurafineart.com / color photo via ganref.jp / traditional red and blue koinobori found on amazon.com)

I like how the way these carps are depicted seems to have become very traditional, the way the scales and eyes are drawn, for example. If you would like to print and make a black one yourself, you can find it right here. 

Sometimes you see a more free use of the motif, as seen here below...
Top: Clifton Karhu cotton furoshiki (wrapping cloth) from Etsy shop 'kyotocollection'