Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Visit to the Norwegian cultural heritage museum in Oslo (Norsk Folkemuseum)


Last Sunday we took a little family excursion to  the Norwegian cultural heritage museum in Oslo (Norsk folkemuseum). The museum is open most of the year and while it must be amazing to visit it during the summer, it was actually quite nice to go in early spring as there was almost nobody there; at least when we first arrived right when it opened at 11am. The 7th of April is still a little fresh so we only stayed about 3 hours, but by  the time we left the parking lot was already packed full with cars, so we were happy we had arrived extra early and this also gave me the chance to take some photos without tourists in the background.

The main attraction of the museum would be the stave church from the 1200’s, a  wooden church covered in dripping tar, with wooden engraving and a peculiar smell of old, very old wood…. Inside it’s small, dark and cold, you can feel it is very ancient and it makes you think about the lives of people so long ago who would have found comfort and solace but also firm rules and guidelines for their lives in the teaching and instruction of the church. 

Life then must have been hard with little comfort, as is seen in the other exhibitions and houses from the distant and near past that make up the rest of the open air museum. 

As you walk along the paths you can see and in some cases enter small timber houses, barns, stabburs and other farm buildings, then an Oslo building with eight apartments spanning over a century makes an interesting discussion point regarding how our style of living has changed. But what was special for me personally was entering the small homes of the average working family with low roofs, and tight living quarters from the beginning to middle of last century. It reminded me so much of the little red house from 1824 we lived in for 8 years when our children were small, and where Rosaline was born. 

Next time I would like to book a guided tour as some of the buildings are not open to the general public. Also on the wish list is to visit the gardens and the new exhibition about life in Finnmark during the great war; which will  open later on in the year.


Stave church from Gol, from circa the 1200's

Details of the entrance

You could see the thick layers of tar that preserve this old wooden church



Small timber house
Inside the timber house


Old Stabbur. These were small wooden houses which were traditionaly used on farms for storing food items.



Replica of a city street from the turn of the 1800's

Nostalgia - An old Beetle and gas station

Lot's of lovely liverwort (blåveis) on the grounds at this time of year.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Pretty Princess cat - The story of a little white cat.


How do you even begin to  explain how much a small cat meant to you, how it was part of the family, and how much your heart bled when it passed away ?

Princess came into our lives in 2008, I am not sure when she was born but if I remember correctly it was around 2004/2005. 

In 2003 we moved into a little old house in Holmestrand, the house was from 1824 and we had mice ! So I got our first cat, Pervy. He grew into a handsome, sulky fellow but was never very good at catching mice. So we got another cat, Kiki-boy.  Kiki was a little ball of orange fur and cute beyond measure, his personality clicked more with the kids and he was a great hunter, and abit of a show-off bringing half alive birds and even squirrels into to the house.

But, then as it happens when you have children they wanted more pets. One day when Roland was home from kindergarden due to a bad cold , to cheer him up we took a little walk to the pet shop in front of our house and came back with a hamster. Then we got birds, one particularly expensive orange canary lasted exactly one day, Pervy jumped on the cage, it fell to the floor, burst open and the canary became cat snack.

Then Alain started asking for a white poodle after a family member gave him a stuffed dog toy, but when I realized how much they cost I realized that was not going to happen. But  one day when I was on the website with the small adds (finn.no) looking at the freebies, I saw one person was giving away a white cat, so I sent them an sms asking for more info. Later on that day I got an sms back with the person saying they would be at my house in 20 mns, or something like that. My husband noticed my face turned a little white as I read the message and he asked me what was that all about, I mumbled ‘It seems like we are getting another cat !’. Need I mention we lived then in an 80 sqm house, with four children….. it was tight as could be !

A little later a car drove up in front of our house, and a man dropped a white cat into my arms, said something about her age and a name I forgot at once, and that was that ! I walked into the house with a cat so pretty and white with the most beautiful green eyes, she looked so much like a princess we decided to call her that.

Princess was very easy from the start, found her way around, did not run away and made no mess in the house. But her arrival woke up something inside my boy cats, and one day there was a little hissing situation between Pervy and Kiki which ended with Pervy biting me quite hard.  The same day both boys were taken to the nearest vet and neutered ! I don’t know why I hadn’t done it earlier, I guess I had then a very relax relationship to animals due to having travelled a lot in my youth and never really had a pet of my own for very long. Beside, we didn’t have a car in those days, so I relied on buses, the neighbor and even the pet shop for help driving my pets to the vet. 

A short while later Princess had a litter of cute-as-could-be kittens, then before I had time to breath there came another litter and that put an end to her baby making days and she also took a trip to the vet for sterilization. 

Sometime later we did get a dog, a four years old Husky who came into our lives the same way as Princess did via the small adds on finn.no. I was looking at dogs, but not certain it was the right time when the title of an add caught my eyes ‘ Who will want me ?’ with the picture of a thin, thin Husky.  Naturally I called the person who had the add out, and on my birthday they brought me a dog, a bag of food (Which she refused to eat) and a contract. I paid the small fee and walked home with a dog !
The boy cats couldn’t care less, same with the hamster, and birds. But Princess took it very personally, she creeped up behind Føyke and pounced on her with full drawn out claws and the poor dog jumped back in fright.

So that was the way the two girls got introduced, and from that moment on Princess tolerated the smelly, annoying dog and Føyke kept a respectful distance between them.

Princess was always very curious, once I couldn’t find her for a couple days and started to worry until I heard a faint meow coming from the roof. She must have followed me into the attic and got stuck there, thankfully I found her before she got too dehydrated or starved.

She pulled the same trick with the neighbor, got into his attic too and thankfully he had an outdoor door and latch and I managed to get her out. I kept a good eye on her, but she was always putting her little nose where it didn’t belong.  Once she followed us across town to the park, another time she followed me almost all the way to work.

In 2011 we moved to a new house a little farther away from our old place, Princess got used to it right away but not Pervy, he kept on going back to the old place and waited at the door until the neighbor would call and I would go downtown to pick him up.

By then Kiki boy had passed away after a short illness, and he was replaced by Garfield who lived only about two years and died in my arms suddenly while I was picking him up to put him in a safe room while waiting for the vet office to open.

After Garfield, we got Moumousse and in-between we lost the birds, and the hamster of course did not live very long. Then Mr Kitty came into our lives, another ginger puss who had lived too long in an Oslo apartment and needed the freedom to go outside at will. With four cats, and one dog in the house our lives were complete for a while, but nature is nature and we eventually lost both Pervy and Føyke to cancer. 

Now, the children were getting older, they were teenagers and could not remember life without Princess, she was the one pet who had outlived all other and even though she was aloof and distant when younger, she became affectionate and cuddly as she got older.

She had a little quirk regarding water, she was always drinking and asking for fresh water for her little cup in the bathroom. But despite her fresh water obsession, she had no problem drinking from any and all water containers available – The pool, puddles, buckets, flower vases, dirty dishes, the toilet, anything really that contained liquids.

By 2018 I noticed she stayed longer indoors, and chose to sleep in warm, and soft places. She lost weight and there was a little ball growing on her neck, we realized she was getting older and doubled our attention of her. She was let out at will, but each evening we all made sure she was indoors and we even kept a little box with blankets on the porch so she could wait for us to open the door without being too exposed to the elements.

But, last weekend  she just collapsed.  We had fed her a box of soft cat food, a favorite treat, then let her out…. I found her a little later with her head laying low, and looking like she had difficulties breathing. We put her in the bathroom with a litter box, extra towels on the floor and turned up the floor heating. By Sunday morning  she did not look any better, her breathing was fast and labored so we called the vet and drove her to Tønsberg.

The vet took one look at her, and with her advanced age, thin frame and obvious cancer she recommended what I already knew had to be – Princess was put humanely to sleep that afternoon with my petting and reassuring her  through the process, telling her that she was a good kitty, and was loved. 

I’m crying as I write this, Princess was nothing more than a couple kilos of white fur, two green eyes and a bit of a haughty, sassy little thing, but she was part of our family for 11 years and we will never forget her. 


2008 - I wasn't able to afford the poodle he wanted, but Alain and Princess bonded right away.

2008 - A boy and his cat !

2008 - The time Princess followed us all the way to the park - Dulpen in Holmestrand. Roland was worried she would get lost, but she made it home before us.

2009 - The poor mama cat looks tired, kittens are quite demanding at times.

2009 - Young, and happy. Shortly before getting sterilised.


2009 - Looking at the town. I wonder what she was thinking ?

2010 - Those two always kind of liked each other. Pervy ( Born 2003 ) and Princess.

2010 - The famous photo of Princess posing amid the flowers.

2010 - The first time I caught the two of them getting along.

2011 - My beautiful little sister, trying to pose with my equaly beautiful cat.


2011 - The trio relaxing on a summer day. Pervy, Garfield ( Hiding ), and Princess.

2012 - Føyke just couldn't figure out that cat - She's always drinking !

2012 - Graceful and beautiful ! The words that describe best our little Princess.

2014 - Such a beauty !
2015 - Looking at birds, or looking at her own reflection ?
2016 - Caught drinking from the shower again, at least it was better than taking sips from the toilet.

2016 - Mr Kitty and princess tolerating each other.

2016 - Her favourite spot in the living room - on top of the piano.

2016 - Princess and I trying out the selfie thing, we were never really good at it.
2017 - Always thirsty, and putting her head into things that contain water.

2017 - The Princess at rest

2017 - Sweet Princess and all the white hairs she left all over the furnitures
2018 - Getting visibly older

2018 - But still playful.

2018 - This photo is a classic, Princess helping herself to the big bucket while Mr Kitty looks on jealously from a respectful distance.

2018 - The last year Rosaline and Princess were inseparable

2018 - Spring 2018, Princess posing in the fallen apple blossoms -
2019 - Until the end she kept her dignity and beauty

2019 - The last photo, Princess hiding under the bathroom sink, fighting to keep her dignity as she slowly faded away.... We will always love you sweet girl !

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Garden blooms - Cross stitch pattern

Daisies, fuchsias, rose buds, lilies of the valley, and nasturtiums.

Garden blooms 1 & 2 are delightful repetitive patterns suitable for cushion or furniture cover, while the individual motifs can be stitched and used to decorate cards, clothes, or added to a spot sampler.

Re-charted from antique, hand painted original Sajou designs number #3160, and #3161

Find the patterns here: ETSY, website


Sajou in Paris - 1st class medal at the universal exposition of 1855
Choosing the colors


I don't have time to stitch all the patterns I re-chart, but I thought it would be fun to stitch some of the motifs to test out the colors, different stitches and such. So I looked in my stash and found a piece of 28ct linen that was not too big, but large enough that it could be turned into a little spot sampler. 

Here you can see the original hand painted pattern, my digital re-charted version and the first item on my new spot sampler, the little daisies.

The best way to store a work-in-progress is to store you embroidery rolled up, this will keep it from getting crease marks. Here I used an old kitchen aluminum foil  roll.


Cross stitch, petit point and Gobelin stitches.



Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Écarté card game

Here is an 1800's French card game called ' Écarté ' .

Écarté is a  two player card game that was popular in the 19 th century, you can read more about it, and find the rules at the link below :
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cart%C3%A9

The cards, and the deck were bought seperatly, one of the cards has a little blue tax stamp saying :
Republic francaise
Decret du 12 Avril 1890


French Écarté cards from the 1890's

Card game tax stamp




Sunday, 20 January 2019

Antique crochet sampler book


Someone many, many years ago took the time to save small pieces of crochet and knitted lace and pin them in the pages of a simple handmade album. I don’t know anything more about the album apart that I purchased it from the Uk so I presume it originated from there. 

Many of us knit small swatches or try out samples before working a larger project, or like me crochet small rosettes or lace bits just to practice or try out a new thread or yarn. Wouldn’t it be nice to save those pieces inside a nice album? It could become a family heirloom. 

But like I said in the video – whatever you do that is creative, sign, and date it! 




Crochet sampler book with a handmade canvas cover

First page, with crochet samples

Lovely little pieces of crochet lace, filet crochet, and knitting

Knitted lace samples, and pattern

Detail view

Detail photo of the binding