Easter break

Photo : via passerby3 on flickr


 I Wish you all a nice Easter break, eat well and have a nice treat. 
Hopefully you may enjoy lovely sunbeams as well. 


God Påske ~ Happy Easter ~ Joyeuses Pâques !


~ Aina ~



Vintage Garden Tools

Photo : Garden & Wood


During my online search for vintage garden tools I came across Garden & Wood, located in Oxfordshire UK. You can certainly find great deals on Etsy and eBay for used garden tools, or having a stroll around local car boot sales or flea markets, however this shop is rather something very special. Their passion for garden and sustainability with a love for antiques is the perfect combination, evident in their wide collection of unique tools. All original and fully restored. Here you can buy pearls that is no where else to be found. They also offer a restoration and re-handling service, so if you have a much loved fork or spade in need of repair they'll come to rescue.


 


I always search for spades with wooden handles, and handy small tools as hand forks, trowels and plants labels. When I work in the garden it matters to me that the gardening equipments looks beautiful, it has to do the job well and feel good in the hand also. And it gives you an extra pleasure if the tools has a certain patina, don't you think ?  It just means a lot that it was much loved and that it will continue to be so.




I really appreciate the quality, feel and touch of tools of an older age. (often in stark comparison to the modern ones, sorry but they are just not that good !) However you can still buy good garden tools, but I am not sure if they are worth the hefty price tag.


  

   
 Photos : Garden & Wood


Top from left : A brades lawn edger, a large Staniforth`s shear and a large beautiful wooden and metal rake. 
Bottom from left : Asparagus knife, a rare brades spade and a Spearwell Tenderden pattern billhook with original handle. All from Garden & Wood


Photo : Garden & Wood

I also found this beautiful French copper watering can. 


Photo : Garden & Wood


One of the more unique items, a brass bulb grading sieve, which is really difficult to find. Myself use and old wooden flour sieve (sifter) for smaller tasks. That works good also, as long as the sieve has a solid bottom. 


I wish I lived closer to this gem of a shop, however they do offer a mail service order and they will happily send your favourite purchase. They ship all over the world and accept payment by credit card and Paypal through their website. So what is left to say ? Happy treasure hunting !


~ Aina ~




Delight..

 


When spring comes, it is an unmistakable overflowing feelings of delight. There is this simple joy about everything bursting with new life. Winter is tough, I am always counting the weeks, feeling often drained and uninspired. But then, suddenly spring is here and every day is just so promising.




I think everyone has a special tree, or should I say a favorite fruit ? I love our  neighbours plum tree, maybe because it is old and buckled. The twigs are pointing everywhere, utterly charming. It is the first tree to bloom in spring, I look out on it and smile when I work. Did you know that the plum tree is a member of the same family as the cherry and Apricot ? 


Photos © Aina - Modern Country


Hope you all are doing well. 
Have a nice weekend !


~ Aina ~




Spring is here !


Photos © Aina - Modern Country


Yaah spring is here, I`m so HAPPY !! 

Finally a long winter is coming to an end. The weather is definitively changing and we have more bright and sunny days. Which means, it is a clear sign for me to come out of my safe state of hibernation. So much, this morning we ate our breakfast outside as it was such a wonderful sunny morning. Our neighbour said I looked cute drinking tea still half asleep. Looking cute is not such a bad thing right ? Aaah, It feels so lovely knowing soon all the threes will grow little buds and the view from my bed will change from sad brown grey to vibrant healthy green. Also, I am itching to get started digging and fill up our greenhouse with a large number of tiny plants. 


Enjoy a lovely Saturday !


~ Aina ~


Have a wonderful new year !


Photos © Aina - Modern Country
 
  
 Thank you for all the lovely messages during the holidays, it was so nice to read. I hope you also enjoyed your days full of warmth, peace and magic.


I do think I have the most wonderful blog friends you can have. I feel grateful about you coming here ( some of you 7 years in total! ). So thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, the kisses and well wishes, the patience and most of all maybe, the shared excitement for life in general. I like to keep it real, and you definitively are able to see the beauty in the simple things. The little things that many seems to forget. Because sometimes, life takes over and make your days way too hectic. And then, you forget to breath, to listen, to wonder. It is about slowing down, enjoying what you have and making the most of what you have where you live. Because we share so many similar interests I feel connected, a sort of togetherness I really like. I hope we can continue this another year!


This would be a great new year resolution.
More kindness.



    K I N D N E S S    

One of the greatest gifts you can
 bestow upon another. If someone is in
need, lend them a helping hand. Do
not wait for a thank you. True
kindness lies within the act of
giving without expectation of
something in return.

(Author unknown)



  Have a Wonderful new year !


~ Aina ~


 

At the table (2)

   
( lack of natural light made it almost imossible to take good photos today, so excuse the poor quality!)
 
 
 
I really enjoy giving my friends and family personal presents which have been thoughtful wrapped and decorated, but in a simple and natural way. Using brown paper, kraft paper, wax paper, I`m  just adding  finishing touches as twigs, cones, sticks of cinnamon, berries and dried fruit. Specially dried fruit as lemon, orange and grapefruit works really well. I think that looks beautiful on top of a gift.
 
 
 
 
How to dry slices of orange, lemon and grapefruit for decoration :

Dry oranges for decoration by slicing them about a half a centimetre thick and softly squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Try not to squeeze and misshape the slices. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and leave for about 4 - 6 hours at  between 80 -100 degrees to dry. ( Keep the oven door slightly ajar for air circulation )
 
~ It looks beautiful and the wonderful scent makes your home smell amazing also.
 
 
 
Photos © Aina - Modern Country
 
 
I also use natural twine, jute, wool and straw as ribbon. I thought about using strings of handwoven linen also. These whole anise seeds were actually meant as a subtle flavour for my favourite cake, but I think they look pretty cute on top of these small gifts for my mother. Looks like christmas stars.. 
 
How do you like to wrap your gifts ?
 
 
 
~ Aina ~
 
 

Gratitude

 
( Photo : via October Afternoons )
 
 
Recently my husband asked if I had a Christmas wish list. Sitting curled up embroidering, I raised my head and looked straight into his eyes. Thinking about his question, I could not feel anything else than gratefulness. I felt so happy having him near me, I just smiled at him. Having friends loosing their loved ones, babies, mothers and fathers, I feel this huge gratitude towards life. Being healthy, having a home, a warm bed, a kitchen to work in, a great relationship with this caring man and two beautiful cats, my blessings are numerous. I could not ask for anything more. After being restless many years, having difficulties to leave behind certain things and living in different countries, I still marvel at the luxury living here in this old charming home with a quiet and lovely garden. I don`t always feel this way, but I really really should. 
 
 
I once read - 
 Perhaps you're wondering what to be grateful for. Be thankful that you don't have everything you desire. If you did, you would have nothing to look forward to. Be thankful for the difficult people you have to work with. They are improving your patience and understanding. Be thankful when you don't know something, because it gives you the opportunity to learn. Be thankful for difficult times, because it's in times of hardship that you grow. Be thankful when you're exhausted at the end of a day, because you know you've accomplished something. (Mary Hunt)
 
 
 
Much love ~ Aina  
 
 
 

At the table (1)

 
 
Hi everyone.

 
How are you doing, are you well and ready for the holiday season ? Myself are Feeling a bit behind with everything, like I always do. But I try not to worry, so I keep it as simple as possible. I have a motto : buy less and make more. That I find more enjoyable also.
 
Photos © Aina - Modern Country
 
 
But, I did buy something. Last year I started a new tradition, collecting a few simple ornaments. A couple of weeks ago I received these beautiful ornaments from a Dutch online store. There are tons of different ornaments of glass, wax, paper, cardboard, wire wrapped and metal, molded or blown glass made, which can be found at different markets, esty, e-bay etc... I just started collecting so it can be a bit confusing, because there is so incredible much out there. How can you tell about the age, how do you know when they are fake and when they are really antiques? What I do know is that I should watch out for reproductions, conditions and rarity. But, until I am really 100% sure and become more educated I just buy what I find pretty. I really like these. Mostly because of the colour, I love the vintage silver gold finish. I will show you more later on..
 
 
* Happy Wednesday to you *
 
 
~ Aina ~
 
 

Oh what a wonderful trip !

  
 


Out of 8 farms we choose to visit a couple, Sigstad farm because of the delicious food ( mountain air sharpens the appetite! )and Hovinsholm which arranged an old fashioned Christmas market. Situated near the beautiful and peaceful lake of Mjøsa, surrounded by mountains, the view from the car was breathtaking. Farm houses, grass and trees were covered with Ice crystals. Through the misty fog a  ray of sunlight made it all twinkle. It was as cold as it looked, but it was very beautiful. 


 
 
A couple of deer were even crossing the road. They soon disappeared, but I quickly managed to take a blurry image. Can you see them running ?
 
 
 
 
I loved the decorated fence down the hill to Hovinsholm farm, single trees and flare burners. Simple, but such a warm welcome.   
 
 
  
 
When it comes to celebrating the old fashioned way, nobody does it like the Norwegians. As December approaches old traditions take precedence, a fond reminder of simpler days. And that is how I like to celebrate my Christmas also. In a simple peaceful way..
 
 


Inside the barn (one of many out buildings) there were installed a little shop, where you could buy all sort of Christmas decorations.There was a nice open fireplace also, where we could sit and warm up a little bit. Which was great because at one point I thought my fingertips would fall of. (That`s what photographing in cold weather does! )

 
 
Here were handmade crafts, antiques, wood carvings, ornaments, baked goods, Christmas trees, local produced steaks, ginger bread and star shaped pastries, sausages and jams. The smiling vendors were bundled up in winter coats and offering tastes. I bought a couple of spiced fruit breads, a little surprise for my mum later. 
   
 
 

 


To me is not necessarily what is sold on the market which makes me happy. And that's not what makes me appreciate old fashioned Christmas markets every year either. It`s everything else which surround such an event that makes it all so idyllic.


 


 I always remember the small things, the weather, the knitted mittens, the runny noses, Christmas trees in groups, wreaths hanging in clusters, lamps, old red barn doors, crackling bonfires where people gather in groups to warm up, the frosty trees, smell of horses, hay and burning torches. The entire frame around with cold winter weather, the foggy air and frosty trees made our trip this year specially nice and memorable I think. 

 
Photos © Aina - Modern Country
 
 
I would love to hear about what makes you get into the festive Christmas mood.
What makes the holiday season for you ?
 
 
~ Aina ~
 
 
 

Jul På Mjøsgårdene - Christmas on the farms of Mjøsa

  
 

 Igjen nærmer det seg Jul og helgen 23. og 24. November åpner 8 gårder rundt Mjøsa i vakre omgivelser dørene, og inviterer alle til en tradisjonell førjulstemning.
 
 
På gårdene  har tradisjonene gått fra hånd til hånd i generasjoner, og man ønsker å dele denne unike kulturarv med flere. Publikum inviteres derfor inn i jule pyntede stuer og saler, på kjøkken og i bryggerhus til bakeverksted, designklær, matmarked med kortreist mat, julekafé, julebakst, julehistorier, julegrøt, måltider og overnatting i gårdsbygninger for å nevne noe.

 

Møystad gård har matmarked med juleribbe av utegående gris, spekemat, oster, saft og syltetøy med mer, samt bakeverksted for barn.

Sveinhaug gård & historisk pensjonat har «kaffefremmend», førjulstaffel og julevarm overnatting i historiske interiører. Fredag og lørdag klokka 19.00 serveres førjulstaffelet i storstua. Historier fra gården serveres til kaffen. (Bordbestilling).

Edel Design & Galleri Hjerterom viser designklær i lunt galleri og servering av fars økologiske, energigivende solbærshot.

* På ærverdige Hovinsholm gård på Helgøya, skafferiet, arrangeres et stort gammeldags julemarked.

* Lier gård har førjulskafé i julepyntete stuer med mulighet for julegavekjøp i det lille Julehandleriet.

Sigstad Gård har også førjulskafé i julepyntete stuer med kaker, julebakst og lunsj. Einar Sigstad har åpent galleri begge dager 11 - 16 og Biri tapet selger julegaver og julenek. Lørdag fra kl. 19.00. er det åpen restaurant med lokale smaker. (Bordreservasjon).

Minne Gårdskafé har førjulskafé og pepperkakepynting for barna.

Stokke Nedre har bålkos og åpen kafé og salgsboder på tunet.

 
Dørene er åpne mellom 11.00 - 16.00
Det blir også salg av boka «Mjøsgårdene - skapt for selskapelighet» på alle gårdene.
Oversikt og fullt program finner du på Mjøsgårdene
 
 
 
Jeg har hørt at Frostrøyken har kommet til mjøsa og at det nå er ferdig pyntet i alle hus, låver, gårsbutikker og tun. Det er første gang vi tar turen dit, og vi gleder oss veldig !
 
~ Aina ~


 

Autumn

      
     
      
        Photos © Aina - Modern Country 


 It is that wonderful time of year again, when leaves are painted in yellow, gold, deep oranges and reds, and the mornings are misty and crisp. Yesterday I had a walk in my wellies, instantly it brought me back to my childhood memories. Living at the countryside, despite the frosty air we hardly spent time indoors. Mum always made sure to warm all of us up again with hot chocolate and homemade dinner rolls. It is still my favourites on a cold day. But learning how to cook also makes me very happy to serve up a big bowl of hearty, warming butternut squash soup with chilli's and Crème fraîche on top. Firing up the wood burning stove and scented candles in the evenings is pure bliss. I just love the cosiness of Autumn, it always makes me appreciate life more..


I hope you love this season as much as I do.
Have a beautiful weekend.

 
~ Aina ~

 

Embroidering

  
 Photo © Aina - Modern Country

 
I haven't shown much of my work lately. ( Some may think I've quit sewing and embroidering completely ) But I am still enjoying it very much. Since a couple of years ago I have been working with white on white embroidery. I started with simple small letters but gradually tried out bigger and more challenging patterns. I adore the padded look of these monograms, this one I've just started. A few stitches more, then adding the flowers. Excited about the finish. Eventually it will be a part of a Christmas stocking.
 
The weather is lovely, it's like the sun is giving me a tight warm hug. Makes me happy. I think I will take my work with me outdoors...
 
 
Wish you a beautiful day too, and a great start to the week. 


~ Aina ~


 

Inspiring place

 
 
Via one of my favourite blogs on tumblr, Bread & Olives, I recently discovered Walnuts Farm. A rustic shoot location house, used as film and photographic shoot location in East Sussex UK. The location can be used throughout each season and props are available to compliment the shoot. It is a traditional farmhouse built around 1800 with a separate two storey granary outbuilding, with an exceptionally beautiful garden surrounded by meadows and woodland. Nick & Bella`s inspiring farmhouse is also featured in Ros Byam Shaw`s sumptuous book Perfect English Farmhouse with beautiful photographs by Jan Baldwin.
 
With a neutral colour palette, particularly the many different shades of faded grey (painting from Farrow & Ball) I am entranced by the atmospheric layout they have achieved decorating both exterior and Interior. This place gives me endless ideas !
 
 
Tranquil...
 
 
 
Beautiful oak framed porch. I like the colour of the door also.
 
 
The workshop
 
 
Bags and baskets to use as props
 
 
The library
 
 
Sitting room - painted with farrow & Ball`s "downpipe"
 
  
The kitchen - just marvellous
 
 Photos : Walnuts Farm


 
With these alluring images, have a beautiful weekend !
 
 
~ Aina ~