quote no. 4


the japanese art of furoshiki

four days to go.

if your roll of christmas paper runs out before you intend it to, turn to furoshiki. i'm loving the simpleness of this japanese-styles gift wrap. the best part, it's painstakingly simple. what more could you ask for at this time of the year?

[image: 1.bp.blogspot.com]

what you need:
  • a generous supply of silk scarves or squares of pretty fabric
  • furoshiki instructions
the word furoshiki refers to the actual cloth used to wrap gifts and parcels, more traditionally bento boxes. you can buy these at most japanese import stores but if you have a wealth of silk scarves or handkerchiefs then these work just as well. 

prepare to be amazed.

[image: weheartit.com]



only a few times have i ever lived in a flat, with neighbours. i always imagined when i did, i'd know them, invite them over to tea in the afternoons. they'd be young and creative with as much spare time as i have. in budapest, this wasn't exactly possible for me to do, my hungarian is, to put is lightly, brutal. their english was non-existent. neighbour case closed.

here in london i live on a neighbourhood high street in a cosy building with only four flats. perfect i thought, when i moved in. finally i'll have the chance to meet the neighbours. this isn't exactly easy to do. our chance encounters are few and even then, an abrupt hello is all i ever get or have the chance to give.

last winter david and i travelled to turku in finland while the city celebrated being the european capital of culture. while at the library we came across some very nicely designed postcards and our finnish hosts translated them for us.

good neighbour!
you're very welcome for a cup of coffee!

as a community project, a local artist made up these cards for the locals to invite their neighbours for a coffee. just one cup, a simple gesture, which surely leads to building a community. at the least it leads to a warmer hello when you meet in the hall or staircase. at the most, you could be living next to incredible people and not even know it!

do you know your neighbours? why are we so scared to talk to them? to meet them?


nesting // writing

how cosy does this writing space look?

sometimes you just need those days to regroup and recoup your brain. find a cosy spot with a view, sketchbook and notepads, idea boards, pens and paints to record recent inspiration. it's so easy to neglect these simple little pleasures that give so much more space in your mind.

i've been working through michael atavar's how to be an artist book in the last few months (i first wrote about it here) and i wanted to share a few lines that have really inspired me lately. at least i'm drawing more, which is already progress.

- "just do one thing today. it doesn't really matter what it is. just do it." (nike was really on to something when they chose their motto)

- "art is often created through the re-imagining of ordinary things."

- "one of the simplest and most effective techniques is to slow something down."


modern japanese ceramics

everything about this blue and white tableware is beautiful and elegant. simple lines, simple shapes. i am definitely taking some inspiration from these designs for etsy's "pimp my table" workshop on friday night here in london. taking plane jane ceramics and jazzing them up with colour and design. 

[images: Jamie Hayon x KUTANI CHOEMON and dezeen]


haiku on hétfő: amour by the tail

"ne bouge pas amour"
let me catch you by the tail
"attrape!" you're caught, amour


hétfő means monday in hungarian. for a long time i've wanted to begin a regular feature here on the blog, alas here is what it is: one haiku a week, on mondays since it's the only day of the week that starts with h

other haikus: olives, idealism


activity advent calendars

i came across the idea to do an activity advent calendar from this season's copy of anthology magazine.  running out of time before the first of december, i put together 24 paper boxes made out of old magazines and a christmas catalogue. i even enlisted the boyfriend to help, but he gets distracted by making videos very easily. by the end of the evening we had 24 boxes plus quite a cool iPhone video to go along with it.

take a look!

if you still want to make your own activity advent, check out this one by jordan on oh happy day. i used a lot of the same activities she mentioned there, as well as adding some local london events to the mix and customizing others.

for the paper boxes, i used instructions from this video.


one pair of hand warmers

nothing bothers me more than having an unfinished project on the go. i am a slave to lists and love the feeling of crossing something off. the same goes for knitting. i cannot concentrate, i cannot work with a knitting project sitting on my desk... staring me in the face saying "finish me, finish me" all day long. at times, i actually have to pit it away in a desk drawer so i can concentrate on my work for the day.

at least i finished my latest project, these hand warmers were quite easy to knit up and quite quick too. next time i'd go for bigger needles and chunkier wool. sometimes i just can't be bothered with size 2 needles, they're so small!


lomography: Diana Mini roll #1

at first glance i'm not totally impressed with the results of my first roll taken with my new Diana Mini from lomography. i think next time i'll keep it in one format, instead of switching it constantly between the 24x24 and the 24x17 settings.

there are a few great ones though which i'd like to share. i think the more i shoot with this the more i'll get a feel for what works with it. the foggy day photos turned out well which was a nice surprise. does anyone have any experience with this camera? which type of film works best for you?

all of the above were shot this past weekend in richmond park on a very foggy morning. our shoes were damp with dew in seconds but we kept traipsing, hoping to catch some shots of the deer but no luck. 

underneath is a photo of chiswick house, without a doubt one of my favourite places in sw london. gorgeous house, gorgeous gardens.

p.s. the guy at the kodak store felt bad some of the shots had multiple exposures so he gave me £3 off. little did he know i did it on purpose :)


knitting wish list

you know the thing about hungary, england and knitting?

in hungary it was considered irrevocably "nagy mami" (grandma) to knit and even worse, to sew.

imagine someone in their 20s wanting to do either of those two things... in public.
double gasp//

in england, and even more so in canada, it's actually quite trendy now to knit, handcraft and create with two hands. somehow that just hasn't caught on in eastern europe yet. but alas, i can knit on the train and tube with ease. i can still remember the curious looks when i would knit in the underground in budapest to and from work. the wide eyes, like they had never seen double-pointed needles in their life.

it seems every year my wish-list of knitting projects to execute gets longer but here are some of my "must-knits" for this season (the hand warmers are already on the needles).

herringbone cowl

colourblock hand warmers

short row sweater

what are you knitting up?



Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

how incredible and moving is this?


this is what a road trip in england looks like

this is what a road trip looks like in england.

london - manchester - exeter - london in a two bus caravan of 100+ people and a buddhist lama. travelling and meditation, i can think of few things better than this especially when so many friends are along for the ride.


on unexpectations and last minute flights

the funny thing about life is that you find yourself in places you'd never expect.

// at the last minute.
here i'm writing this from my childhood bedroom in niagara, a southern pocket of canada. i had no plans to travel home at all this year but i'm here, travelling on a ticket i bought 15 hours before the flight. last minute. in my family, it takes a death to bring everyone together from around the world and across the country.

but we're here. packing my carry-on for another flight to saskatchewan tonight. there's something about me that loves the canadian prairies. 2 day at home, 3 days in saskatoon, 2 days at home then back to london.

it's a whirlwind but i love that life takes you places you'd never expect.

// at the last minute.
don't you?


a bar at the folies-bergère

by edouard manet.
painted between 1881-1882.

this painting has always stayed in my mind since art history class in high school. there's just something about it. maybe it's the sad look in her eyes. the extravagantly dress gentleman looking at her that you can see in the reflection of the mirror. the end of an era in paris.

another thing crossed off my 25 before 25 list!


little paint // long way

i've been doing a couple projects around our flat this week. i asked on twitter last month if it's worth it doing diy projects on a rented space. the consensus was yes! just enough to make the place feel like home but not too much to undo before leaving (whenever that will be).

upon much deliberation, i decided to paint a wall the same colour as our bathroom towels (probably lame) and i managed to pick out the exact colour at the shop without even bringing in a sample... what an eye.

[dulux fauna 4]

next came the dining chairs. you remember ivar, right? i painted these untreated wooden ikea chairs using the leftover wall paint then sealed them with a clear wood varnish. ta-da!
all this place needed was a little colour.


from film: the indian in the cupboard

there were so many nice shots from the last roll of film i got developed and thought to share another batch, taken in my apartment in budapest before i moved to london.

do you remember that film indian in the cupboard? i must have been twelve when i was gifted the vhs version of it, complete with my own little plastic indian. i must have locked it up in my own little cupboard wishing so hard that it would come alive just like in the film. it hasn't, yet.


haiku on hétfő: idealism

idealism spurs
even the most lazy minds
to realise there's more.


hétfő means monday in hungarian. for a long time i've wanted to begin a regular feature here on the blog, alas here is what it is: one haiku a week, on mondays since it's the only day of the week that starts with h

other haikus: olives


from film: the deer of richmond park

when you start experimenting with multiple exposures and light settings on film cameras every roll of film comes out dramatically different. Every frame is your canvas, although you can never be sure how it is going to turn out in the end.

i love the mystery and suspense of shooting with film.

a few weeks ago i took advantage of an afternoon off and wandered into richmond park to draw and take photographs. hot and sunny, i took a shortcut through a tall field of ferns to get home at the end of the afternoon. whistling my way along a narrow path a rustle made me look up.

there i was, face to face with a few deer. their antlers sticking up out of the safety of the ferns. their black eyes stunned by the presence of an intruder. sorry dear! i was just as much startled as they may have been, as i've rarely been that close to wild deer before in my life. i slowly raised my camera to my eyes, focused and shot. lowered it.

i made a quick 180 out of that field of ferns to take the long way around. hope i didn't disturb them too much. here are a few shots from that afternoon in the park.


how-to: ivar

attention, attention!

david and i have made our first video together in london.
thank you to the 8mm iphone app (totally rad, download it if you haven't already) and a trip to ikea. i think the result is pretty funny, especially the epic (and equally corny) instrumental soundtrack.



how to be an artist

i an effort to draw more (part of my 25 before 25 list) i picked up this book, how to be an artist by michael atavar. okay, i know. probably most "artists" would say that someone can't tell you how to be an artist or that "everyone is an artist in their own way" but let's face it. i'm out of touch.

practically no arting went on at all while i was living in budapest. mostly because i had little spare time between a full-time job, teaching english, writing freelance articles and spending a lot of time at the buddhist centre.

but since i've been in london, i find myself with (almost excessive) free time, my fingers have been aching for creative-making these last weeks. so, it's time to get into it again. i picked up this book because it's a simple guide for getting starting, taking an idea and seeing it through to a finished project. then finally, getting that piece out into the world. it's written simply, with some great exercises along the way.

this book is about developing your creativity.

pick up a pen and without thinking begin to write. it's not important what it is, or what you say, simply write.

easy enough? not! there's nothing more intimidating than a blank white page staring back at you!
i just started the book, but so far i'd recommend it to anyone who needs a practical guide to getting back into their old artistic groove.


impressions from the tate

i met up with a special friend this afternoon for some art and coffee. we met in high school, in small-town spain outside of madrid. we both we exchange students there for a semester and our host partners were best friends. we both ended up not really liking our host families and bonded over rose wine and valencian beaches, frida kahlo and brooding in a small cafe called jamaica.

cafe con leche please.

that was 8 years ago and we still seem to find each other in cities around the world, catching up and travelling apart again. i really like that about us, both of us are everywhere yet when our paths cross it's like distance is just a concept.

we took in some great pieces at the tate modern before heading for lattes and cappuccinos at monmouth near borough market... only the best place on the south bank for coffee.

[clockwise from the top left: giorgio de chirico, joan miro, cy twombly, jackson pollock]


25 before 25

okay, i know this is lame, or at least seems to be but somehow making lists is cool and somehow because i will turn a quarter of a century old in but a few months i should get down and accomplish something. as if being an expat by trade isn't an accomplishment but really. i saw mygirl.thursday's list the other day and thought, now i should really write down some goals too. now, let's see... i've got about 5 months to get on it. that's enough time, right?

so here you go.

1 - go to a new country. [UPDATE: ireland]
2 - go to another new country. [UPDATE: russia]
3 - make a dream catcher. [UPDATE: dreamcatcher]
4 - read charlotte brönte's jane eyre before i cave and see the movie. [reading + coffee]
5 - take my camera out for a date and use a whole roll of film in one day.
6 - start a knitting project... and finish it! [UPDATE: cosy hand warmers]
7 - visit Goldsmiths and apply for graduate school. (aaaah!)
8 - cook thanksgiving dinner for four... with 2 hobs and a microwave oven.
9 - buy cheap dining chairs and spruce them up! [UPDATE: IVAR]
10 - visit at least 15 english heritage sites in the uk. [UPDATE: 9 down, 6 to go]
11 - treat myself to a mani/pedi for the first time ever.
12 - draw more.
13 - visit a third new country? can i do that? [UPDATE: kazakhstan]
14 - make a brooch like this one.
15 - meet someone from the royal family. [david met princess anne, does that half-count?]
16 - surprise someone far away with a care package made by hand.
17 - see a painting i studied in art history in person. [manet's a bar at the folies-bergère]
18 - publish a zine. (ideas: illustrated guide to east sheen? diy? craft?)
19 - get my hands on another rad lomography camera. [UPDATE: welcome to the family diana mini]
20 - master cooking a new vegetable. kholrabi? romanesco broccoli? beets? [UPDATE: not a veg, but  as an ex-vegetarian i'd say i'm making big steps learning to cook creative meats like pigeon breasts and ox cheek]
21 - give high heels a try. (never have i ever)
22 - make a 5 minute short film!
23 - upgrade a dress following these easy steps.
24 - stick to my budget (so i can afford to travel to russia in january). [UPDATE: departing jan8!!!]
25 - by the time i do this one, i should be twenty-five. so i challenge myself to get all prettied up and go out on the town like a real londoner would. [UPDATE: celebrated in budapest, but wow, what a wild party!]

it actually took me at least a week to come up with this list. and to be honest, nothing on it is out of my reach (okay, except maybe the royal family bit) which is cool but really, should challenge myself to be wilder. one step at a time.


wall art

here is my inspiration for introducing some colour into my radically neutral apartment. would my landlord go crazy if i painted a wall without asking. should i take the chance?

anyways, the blonde wood and white needs some sprucing up and i thought about recreating this painting for the wall above our bed. cool, no? i sketched it out in watercolour on graph paper. now, to get my hands on some cheap and large canvas, not an easy task even for those who know where to look!

finding countless inspiration at the park lately, in jane austin's short stories and by the bottom of my coffee cups.


berger on drawing

"For the artist drawing is discovery. And that is not just a slick phrase, it is quite literally true. It is the actual act of drawing that forces the artist to look at the object in front of him, to dissect it in his mind's eye and pit it together again; or, if he is drawing from memory, that forces him to dredge his own mind, to discover the content of his own store of past observations." p3

Berger on Drawing // John Berger


chiswick house

introducing chiswick house and gardens.

as far as i'm concerned, there are few places as beautiful in the south west of london (outside of richmond). how gorgeous is this house? the slow-moving river and the beautiful railings, a conservatory full of camellias which unfortunately don't bloom until february.
i realise, the more i go to these heritage houses and properties that i'm a hopeless romantic at heart. i've surprised myself how much i love the english gardens, how the ivy clings to the brick walls. how i can't help daydreaming about what i must have been like to live in a house like this.

does anyone else have the feeling sometimes that they were born in the wrong country and wrong era?


re: revisiting the gaze and mr. berger

i've long been crushing on john berger's mind.

for a good while now and finally picked up another one of this books, about looking. because it's saturday morning and i'm feeling particularly intellectual at the moment (it's fleeting so i should grasp it while it's there) i wanted to share a quote from the book and something i jotted down in my notebook while on the go.

"The eyes of an animals when they consider a man are attentive and wary. The same animal may well look at other species in the same way. He does not reserve a special look for man. But by no other species except man will the animals' look be recognized as familiar. 
Other animals are held by the look. 
Man becomes aware of himself returning the look." (chapter one: why look at animals, p4)

an animal looks. their stare stops other animals in their tracks. they're stopped. arrested in time. yet man does something different. he meets an animal's stare but it's with a look of power and dominance. some argue the animals don't have a gaze, because they're not aware of themselves looking. man is the only species who sees himself in the reflection of the water and knows it's himself looking back.

we see ourselves looking and when confronted with an animal, we also recognize that we are being looked back at. does it all go back to when narcissus first saw his face in the pool's reflection?


le parc richmond

i love going out for the first time in a place, a new neighbourhood when everything is fresh. it's so big because it's your first time. new shops, new cafes, new streets and new parks. i'm just getting to know east sheen and i already love it. it's got that small town feel to it, but is still just a 20 minute train ride from waterloo station.

the other bonus? our new home is minutes from richmond park. in 1637 good 'ol king charles the first decided he wanted a park, for his deer (both red and fallow) and so you have it, richmond park. it's so quiet in the evenings, last night we spotted more than 50 deer grazing. their huge antlers! i'm not entirely a city girl, but there's something so magical about being able to get so close to wild animals, and know that you can just walk and see deer in the forest and fields just a few minutes from your apartment. i like this a lot.

figures though, that i didn't bring my phone with me last night in case we ran into any rioters.

but here are some photos from a previous walk in the park, enjoy!

(as you can tell, i'm definitely into instagram right now, if you like, you can follow me, i'm kfar)


hello london, it's nice to meet you

i'm very good at ignoring this blog. did you notice? or at least moving is such hard work that i've hardly had a moment to sit and contemplate. reflect or muse. until yesterday.

at last. a full afternoon to do things i think i never did in budapest but i remember so fondly doing when i was spending a lot of time in european capitals a few years ago. i took tan early afternoon train into the city and got off the tube at euston station. a friend recommended a trip to the wellcome collection, so i headed there to see what's the hype about.

you must go. honestly. there is no other place on earth that you can see a pair of florence nightingale's moccasins, napoleon's toothbrush and a lock of henry v's hair + some funny japanese sex aids all in one room. for real this guy, sir henry william wellcome, kept a collection of some pretty curious objects.

post-museum and a serious case of square eyes i made my way to a park for some fresh air, then to a very old bookstore where i perused. i picked up a copy of john berger's about looking. i'm already pulled into the way he writes about something so simple as a glance, as complicated as a gaze.

a tall flat white later, i headed back to euston station to pick up a friend i hadn't seen for ages. we found the tackiest and cheapest chinese buffet in camden town we could find and ate our hearts out. it was a perfect day. i miss just wandering around new streets, picking up new literature nad feeding my mind on art and philosophy. those were the good old uni days and i had another little taste of it yesterday. time to go for my masters? i reckon it is about that time.

image one: pretty scientific bottles
image two:canvas bag from the wellcome collection shop
image three: classicly british, on my walk