One holiday/seasonal celebration I've not really kept up with since living in England is that of Fastelavn. This falls on the Monday (and/or the weekend before Fat Tuesday). Fastelavn is a carnevale celebration. Children get dressed up and there are parties where you have fastelavnsboller and 'beat the cat out of the barrel'. NOT literally, of course! But apparently they used to in the old days. A black cat would be put in the barrel and people would hit at the barrel with a baton.
And this is what people still do, minus the cat. Instead the barrel is filled with sweets and oranges. And the child who hits the bottom from the barrel is named 'cat queen' and if you knock down the last remaining piece of the barrel you are named 'cat king'. And you get to wear a crown. But I think what most children are more interested in is diving into the pile of sweets that have fallen on the floor!
It is also traditional to have a bunch of twigs (a fastelavnsris) that are decorated with various paper decorations and sometimes sweets as well. Traditionally, children will wake their parents by whipping them with the twigs! I can't remember doing that as a child, but I guess I must have..
This year is the first I've made a fastelavnsris. I didn't really have a good place to put it in the flat.. but now we live in a house!! :-)
And children also dress up and then go around the neighbourhood, ringing doorbells and when people open the door, the children will sing a special song. It is a bit like trick or treating, but it's done in the daytime. And the children might get a fastelavnsbolle for their troubles, but usually they are given spare change.
While everyone in England (and other English speaking countries?) start the period of Lent with pancakes, Danes do it differently. We have fastelavnsboller which are sweet rolls that can be filled with all kinds of yummy things: marzipan, chocolate, jam, cream or a combination!
I have made fastelavnsboller here before, but not since I've been vegan. I'm happy to report that these turned out really great! And they were extra delicious with the addition of whipped coconut cream. Yum-my! :-)
Hey, so you know what? I'm gonna do it. I'm working on a new class which is all about editing photos: Light & Colour. In a non-scary way, without techie talk. I've not had any professional training in photo editing, so if I can do it, you can do it too. What I do have, is more than a decade's experience using photo editing software, both Photoshop and the Gimp. My photos have been used both in my own book, books by other people and in various magazines.
The photo at the top of this post is an example of one of the things I'll show you in the class. Taking a fairly dark photo and lighten it but without it losing any of its brilliance or contrast. I'm not going to promise you that you can do that with all photos, but most photos can be improved a lot!
I use the Gimp when editing my own photos and that is what we'll use in the class as well, but a lot of the skills would be transferable to Photoshop. If you have no experience with photo editing, we're going to start with the basics of using the Gimp and with exercise build up some editing muscle!
Maybe you're asking, what is the Gimp? What's with the funny name? Gimp is short for: GNU Image Manipulation Program. It can do a lot of the same things as Photoshop, but doesn't come with the hefty price tag. In fact, the Gimp is absolutely free!
You don't need a fancy camera to take part in this class, a point and shoot camera is fine. Even a lot of smart phones take decent photos.
The class will have 3 modules.
• Gimp basics: I'll show you to download and install the Gimp. And we'll go through the main areas of the program, including, the workspace, tools, saving and exporting your images.
• Techniques & tips: This is the main part of the class and I'll show you lots of ways to improve the photos you have taken. There will also be some fun tricks that you can use with your photos.
• Improving your photographing: I will share some tips for improving the photos you take, so you have a better raw material to work in editing.
The Light & Colour class is for you if this sounds like you:
- you want to improve the photos for your blog
- you want to add decorative elements to your photos
- want to learn how to add textures to images
- you want to learn about adding text to images
- you've opened a photo editing program once but closed it straight away because it seemed totally confusing
The class starts on April 7th and runs for 8 weeks. You can sign up now and until April 1st.
As if having a pattern in Hoop-La! wasn't enough, there is one in the current issue of Australian Homespun too! And by coincidence that one also has birds in it! I worked on this piece last year in the middle of that heat wave we had, while we were staying at Tony's parents' for a couple of weeks. Because it was so hot during the day, I would get up early-early and sit in the garden by 6am and embroider this, listening to the early morning chorus.. There are worse ways to spend early summer mornings. :-)
This embroidery was quite time consuming. Because of all the straight lines I did more unpicking and re-stitching than I normally do. You can't have wonky straight lines, right? And it also took a while to get the hang of a technique to make the birds look just right. Embroidery isn't always as simple as it seems. I like the challenge of that! :-)
I changed the look of the blog! Quite a lot, swapped the position of the posts and the sidebar. Gone is the horizontal header. And I've even made a patterned background. It feels pretty different.
I've felt like it needed an overhaul for a while. So I've been playing around with it since January and more tinkering is probably going to happen. I feel like I need a more minimalist blog that is still full of colour. It's a bit of a balance. But I'm really happy with it so far. :-)
Please write comments in English - or any of the languages below. For other languages than these I won't be able to tell if the comment is nasty or spam, so I'll have to delete it. I don't want to delete legitimate comments! Thank you for understanding! xo, Carina
Languages I can read: Danish, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch.