Swedish Royal Palace (day 2)

On day two of our visit to Stockholm spent a few hours at the Swedish
Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten). It still remains as the offical residents fo the royal family and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It is located in the oldest part of the city Gamla stan.

Within the palace there are three splendid museums that are opened all year around. These are the Royal Apartments, the Treasury and the Museum Tre Kronor. However, during the summer season from May to September, the Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities is also open. There are palace tours, which you can pay for in addition to the entry price. However, audio guides are also available, free of charge.

On our visit we saw the Royal Apartments, Museum Tre Kronor and
Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. We probably spent the most time in the apartments and in combination with the Tre Kronor is very much worth the visit. We paid about 160SEK for these three museums, which at the time was about 24AUD.

I hope you enjoy a sneak peak through the Swedish Royal Palace!


The Royal Apartments

When we first arrived we purchased our tickets from one of the adjacent curved builds that are adjacent to the palace within the Outer Courtyard. I was concerned before visiting the palace that we would have to purchase tickets prior to our visit. However, after emailing and getting a response, I was able to purchase the tickets on the day without much wait. The toilets on the other hand had a long line. I don’t remember seeing toilets as we went along our visit, so perhaps its best to get that over with at the begining of the visit.

The Apartment of the Order of Chivalry

We first began our tour of the Royal Apartments by going left and walking through the Apartment of the Orders of Chivalry. These have been open since 1993 and display the Swedish Award System and Royal Orders of the Knighthood. We walked through three session halls, which included the the Order of Vasa, the Order of the Northern Star, the Order of Sword and the Order of the Seraphim. The fourth room was a meeting hall for the Chapter of the Royal Orders. These rooms were modernised in 1866-67, by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander.

The Hall of the State

The last room we came to before entering a grand foyer, was the Hall of the State. This room was used by the King from 1755 to 1975 to open the Parliment every year. It was designed by architect Carl Hårleman. Unfortuntely it was going through restorations, so it wasn’t as grand with the scafolding. Before going onto the Bernadotte Apatments, I cam across this marble sculpture, The Wave and the Beach. It was made by Theodor Lundberg in 1898.

The Bernadotte Apartments

These apartments were often used by the King for cermonial audices, presenting medals and meetings with his advisory council. The furnishings are from the 1730s and 40s. It was resided in by King Adolf Fredik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika, as later by Oskar II and Queen Sofia.

From the begining of our tour of the Bernadotte Apartments we were able to hire free audio guides, which are available in English and Swedish. I found these really helpful to explain exactly what I was seeing and give more meaning to the history of the furnishings, decorations, achitect and purpose of these rooms.

The Guardroom was originally used to house the lifeguards, who protected the monarch. In the centre of the room there are items referincing the rule of Queen Lovisa and Karl XV. Along the wall there is a painting of the corinationa of Karl XIV John in Stockholm Cathedral in 1818, painted by Per Krafft the Younger in 1924. There is also a wall clock over the fireplace dates back to 1750.

The Pillared Hall was originally used by King Adolf Fredrik as a dining room. The ceiling was painted in 1730 by the Italian artist Alessandro Ferretti and it depicts Mother Svea (Swedish personified) and the seasons. This room was moderned in the 1780s by Gustav III, under the architect Jean Baptiste Masreliez. It included the overdoors and statues of Venus and Apollino by Johan Tobias Sergel.

The Victoria Drawing Room has been re-decorated many times, but this present interior was designed in the 1860s by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. the crystal chandeliers were from Vienna, the oval tables from Munich the procelian cabinets were gifts from Napoleon. The most recent edition were the busts of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, which were made by Italian artist, Giancarlo Buratti. One of my favourite pieces was gold clock, depicting the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

The West Octagonal Cabinet is a small corner room, which dates from the 1730s and is in the Rococo style. The decorative wall carvings are by Jean Bourguignon and the phorphyry urns were made by Älvdalen porphyry around 1830.

Oskar II’s Writing Room were able to be seen behind clear screens. The current interior is from 1870s and includes some modern innovations, including electric lighting and a telephone, which was conneted in 1883-4.

I don’t remember what the name of this hallway, but it is had over 40 paintings of the royal family, as well as silver, busts and another interesting clock.

The Breakfast Room was furnished for Oskar II and Queen Sofia in 1873-1874. It has carved rococo panels and a silver chandelier (gift for the silver jubilee 1897), with a crown supported by cupids. This was another room we could not enter.

The East Octagonal Cabinet is larger to the western cabinet. It was used for King Carl XVI to hold formal audiences and private converstaions.

Possibly the most modern room in the palace is Carl XVI Gustaf’s Jubilee Room. It was designed by Åke Axelsson and was offical opened in 2001. It showcases Swedish materials and craftmanship and the theme is a Swedish summer’s day. It is used in conjunction with the East Octagonal Cabinet for formal audiences.

Perhaps my favourite room in the house is Lovrisa Ulrika’s Audience Chamber. It was designed by Jean Eric Rehn for Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1754. I just love the tapestries, gold throne and the painting of birds above the door.

Lovisa Ulrika’s Antechamber is another beautiful room. Someting that stood out to me straight away was the Madonna and Child by Piero di Cosimo and the spider webbed ceiling decorations.

Lovisa Ulrika’s Dining Room is another beauty, was restored to the 18th century style in the 1950s and is today sued for large receptions and offical meetings. Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted the paintings over the doors reprent wind, water, earth and fire; as well as the large deer-hunting scene.

The Guardroom is slightly more modern room, which depicts portraits of the Swedish royals during the 20th century.

We then made our way up the outer hallway, which was similar style to the hall we arrived from.

We then entered another Guardroom. It depicts members of the Palatinate dynasty, Queen Kristina from the House of Vasa and Karl X Gustav. There are also small portraits of other famous Swedes from 16th-18th century. The mosaic table was a gift from the Pope Pius IX in 1870s and the large malachinte empire urns were gifts from Russian Tsar Nicholas I.

The Empire Salon was originally Duke Fredrik Adolf’s antechamber, but is now a salon. The chairs and softs are in Swedish Empire style, made for Prince Osker I and Josefina for their wedding in 1823.

The Margereta Room was a room with quite low hanging ceiling. However, it is known for the artwork painted by Crown Princess Margareta, first consort of Gustaf VI Adolf. It is joined the Inner Salon, which is in Pompeian style and was inspired by the archelogical finds of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Just through the doors is the Inner Bedchamber, which was originally used by Fredrik Adolf’s valet. Today it is often used by visiting heads of state, if they don’t wish to use the Great Bedchamber.

The Great Bedchamber is today sued as a guest apartment, just as it originally used when Prince Fredrik Adolf resided here. It has been restored to its original colours and contains original antique furnishings.

The Meleager Salon is today used for offical gifts and orders of chivalry for state visits. The tapestries depict the tragic classic tale of Prince Meleager and were made in Brussels for Ulrika Eleonora’s dowry in 1680.

The State Apartments

At this point we entered a hall, which took us to the State Apartments. These are used by the King and Queen when they are entertaining guests, gala banquets, cabinet meetings and offical ceremonites. It was previously used by Gustav III and Karl XIV Johan for residential purposes.

The First Guardroom was used in the 18th century to house the royal miltary guards. It has baroque furniture, typcial of the era. In the cabinets there is 18th century European procelain from Meissen, which was just gorgeous.

The following room is another Guardroom, whic hwas used by the body guards to protect the monarch, during Gustav III and Karl XIV resign. There are marble statues of Swedish kings, as well as more cabinets with ordiments and diaramas. The older Tre Kronor Castle was destroyed in May 1697 by fire, but this is how it would have looked before that. Later we will visit the Tre Kronor Castle in the bowels of the palace.

The Council Chamber is another splendid room which is used a few times a year for Cabinet meetings. It has the most enormous chandeliers and yellow and blue explosed panels were designed by Axel Nyström in 1826.

The Audience Chamber was originally meant to be a state bedchamber, but was instead used as a room for Gustav III to hold audiences. The exquisite ceiling was painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau around 1700. In the centre there is the lovers, Venus and Mars.

Gustav III’s State Bedchamber was used a sthe bedchamber and where Gustav III held reception during his morning toilette. He actually died in the room, after being shot by masked ball in the opera house in 1792. The ceiling was also painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau and depicts the upbringing of Karl XII.

Perhaps the most exquisite room in the palace is Karl XI’s Gallery. It is designed in Swedish baroque. It is often used for banquets and long tables are placed in the centre, seating 170 guests. It was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and each window corresponds with the mirror on the adjacent wall.

The next room we came across was Sofia Magdalena’s State Bedchamber, furnished by Jean Eric Rehn in 1770s. The ceiling depicts Mother Svea and females of the four continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

The Don Quixote Room was perhaps more beautiful exciting in the last room. It has tapestries adorning the walls, telling the story of Don Quixote and were made in Paris.

The last room we saw in the State Apartments was The White Sea. This room is so gorgeous, colourful and airy. It is used as a large salon, when banquets are held in Karl XI’s Gallery. It has oak parquet floor and beatiful ceiling paintings by Domenico Francia and Guillaume-Thomas Raphael Taraval.

So that was the end our our visit to the Royal Apartments. At this point we gave back our audio guides and moved on to the next part of our visit.


Museum Tre Kronor

The next part of our visit was visiting the Museum Tre Kronor, which is underneath the Royal Palace. Here you can see some of the original parts of the castle and learn about the fire of 1697, which ravaged the palace.

The fire was originally started in the Hall of State attic and five people were immediately including the Chief Fire Watcher and his assistants. All were released except the Chief and two assistant, who were sentenced to death. The King decided to communte the sentence to running the gandet seven times and six years hard labour. This punishment had the prisoner running between two lines of solders and beaten with sticks. Only one of the assistants survived this punishment.

Its not all doom and gloom down here. There are also reproduced historical costumes, which would have been worn by people living between 1250 and 1697. There are also items saved by the fire, like Queen Dowager Hedvig Elenora desk. Archaelogical discoveries have been made, which found animal skeletons, which would have been on the menu. Octavia had fun dressing as a little soldier too.


Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities

The last part of our ticket to the Royal Palace Museum was the Gustav III’s Antikmuseum. We actually had to enter from the side of the building and present our tickets inside. Here we saw the classical sculpture from Italy, that were purchased by King Gustav III. Within this museum there are two galleries, which include mostly scuptures and a few contemporary works. If you love Roman sculptures then you will probably enjoy this museum, otherwise it does feel a little out off place in a Swedish museum. This museum does have an audio guide, which is helpful to understand the significance of what you are seeing.


I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Swedish Royal Palace. Next I will take you to the Swedish Historical Museum.

Book Review: Fairy Tales

Hello friends, today I have another colouring book review for you. Fairy Taleshas been on my wish list for a while, so I asked Santa to bring it for Christmas and it is just as sweet as I could of imagined.

Fairy Tales is by the freelance artist and illustrator, Emelie Lidehäll Öberg. Emelie is based Timrå, Sweden and has a background in graphic design and communications. If you want to know more about her, Color with Iris did a great interview with her. It talks of her life as an artist and how she began creating colouring books.

Fairy Tales actually the English edition of Emelie’s first book Sagolikt (2016)
and was published in April 2017 . Emelie has also published Sagor Och Sägner, En Sagolik Vinter (postcard book) and Hem ljuva hem. I actually have Sagor Och Sägner, and did a book review quite a while ago (see book review and gallery). Since Sagor Och Sägner is one of my favourite books I was sure that I would love another book by Emelie. Unfortunately for many, there is currently no English edition of Sagor Och Sägner, however Fairy Tales is alot easy to hold off (see end of post for distributors), and is quite similar in theme and style.

Fairy Tales has a soft cover that features one of the illustrations found in the book and is decorated in soft pinks and limestone green, with gold foil accents. The inside covers also have french flaps which open out to feature many of the designs found inside the book. This book is square and measures 24.9 x 24.9 cm. It contains 96 pages of gorgeous illustrations, which are printed double sided on high-quality cream paper. The pages are able to lay quite flat, which makes colouring and photographing pages quite easy. I did find that this book can handle both soft and harder pencils quite well, as well as water soluable pencils, with no bleed through.

The line art in the book is inspired by Swedish fairy tales and is whismical and true to Emelie’s unique style. There are woodland animals, sweet doll-like girls, quite an array of birds, wallpaper designs, wooden structures, teapots, tea cups and plenty of flowers and sweet foods to colour. All-in-all there is alot of variety, so you don’t feel like your fliping through she same designs throughout the book. What makes Emelie’s work unique is the that many of the elements in the pictures are quite oversized, which can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t coloured her work before. However, as you will see from pages I have worked on, the illustrations really come to life with a bit of colour and little bit of shading.

Below I have included a video flip through of Fairy Tales, which includes all the finished pictures that I did. I have also included five full sided photographs of the pictures I coloured with some details on what I used. These are in order as they are found in the book.


The Name plate page was not the first page I coloured and to be honest not one I expected to get to. There are so many elements in this page and that I was a bit overwhelmed. But I started colouring each picture in colours that came naturally and slowly I was able to use complementy colours for the pictures I wasn’t sure about. Its not perfect but I am happy overall how it turned out. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, which work beautifully on this paper and don’t need to many layers to get a nice result.


The Princess and the Frog is one that I was really excited to bring to life because I just love everything about the design. Since I had already experiment with Derwent Inktense pencils in the book, I decided to try them out again. So I first layed down one or two colors for each element with the Inktense pencils and used a water pen to blend. Then I went over the top with Prismacolor Premier pencils to give a soft, chalky and vibrant look. I found that the Inktense pencils were also quite helpful for forming clouds, since I am really terrible at drawing them in. I also used a white gel pen to bring out some of the details and cover some of the black lines. If I could do this page again, I may give a bit more distiction to parts that are submerged in the water. But other then that I’m very happy with it.


The Storybook Mansion reminded me of a grand Swedish house. For the colour scheme I was inspired by the Korstäppan Hotel and this bright floral print. I decided not to do a background, as I just wanted to do something colouring, fun and quick. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, which also work lovely on this paper. To blend I did use a white Prismacolor pencil and the Derwent blender. This picture wasn’t ovely complicated to do, but the large scale of the flowers really make it something special.


The Pup Prince was one of the pictures I just had to do in this book. I don’t often come across dogs in my colouring books and this one was just so regal and elegant that I had to give it some colour. This is one of the few pictures that I knew the colour scheme before I coloured it. I just wanted the background to be fairly simple so that I could make sure my pup would stand out. The hardest thing was giving the pup the furry texture. I don’t think I nailed it because I found it quite hard do a short hair. I was inspired by this Rodesian Ridgeback by EscyKane. Mine doesn’t come close to this artwork, but then again this illustration isn’t mean to be true to life. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils. I was going to use a Slate Grey Posca for the background, but changed my mine at the last minute, since the tip wasn’t thin enough to get inbetween the flowers. Initially I wasn’t happy with this picture, but once it was finished and I looked at it with fresh eyes I didn’t mind it so much.


The Mole Family was the very first picture I coloured in this book. It is definetely my favourite of the bunch. It took me a bit of seaching to work out what animal was being depicted in this picture, since I havent’ come across these furry friends in Australia. But once I realised what they were I had to makes sure they were very flurry and just as cute as the real thing.

Since this is the last page in the book I thought I was experiement with Derwent Inktense pencils. So I coloured the entire picture with with Inktense and activated it with water. I then went over it with Prismacolor Premier pencils, to add brighter colour and depth. I found this method is a hell of a lot quicker, produced vibrant colour and makes it easier do create an more interesting background. The only downside is that it can look a bit scratch in some areas where I wasn’t as careful. I found this paper really didn’t buckle much and I had no bleed through. Well actually there is one spot on the backside of this page that had a faint blue spot. However, I think I did by accident when I lift the page and it would be very easy to cover up. To cover the black lines in some aspects of the picture I used a white thin tipped Posca pen. Its not perfect but its just so magical and I love it.


If you’re interested in purchasing Fairy Tales you can find it from:

Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 2)

Hello everyone and thanks for checking back in with me. It’s been a while since I wrote about my Nordic adventure and today we continue in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of this post is dedicated to delicious foods we consumed and shopping our way through Gamla Stan,
Norrmalm and Östermalm. However, we did spend a good portion of the day visiting the Royal Palace and the Swedish History Museum, but I will write a separate post to share with you some of the marvels we found.


Södermalm: Breakfast

Its always great to start you day with a big healthy breakfast, especially if your up early. I found the perfect cafe in Södermalm that offers a wholesome breakfast and some great coffee. Pom & Flora is trendy little cafe, which offers wholesome breakfast bowls, fancy toast, fresh baked breads ith eggs and more, gluten free breads and a selection of coffees, juices and smoothies. They have two locations, so if your not in
Södermalm, you can also visit their other location in Vasastan.

For Octavia and I, we ordered the Seasonal fruit with whipped coconut cream and Steel cut oats cooked with oat milk and cardamom, stewed rubhard, nuts and cottage cheese. Marco had the Grilled Croissant with cheese & ham. We also ordered some cappuccino with oats milk. Everything was really fresh and delicious and the service was relatively quick.


Gamla Stan: sites and lunch

Next we headed to the Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Here you can find the Royal Palace, some of the best restaurants and cafes, museums and little bouquets between the narrow streets.

First we headed to the Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten), which is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is still the offical residence of the King of Sweden. It contains five splendid museums that you could easily spend all day exploring. Since I took so many photos I will write a special post just for the palace and the museums that we visited. The photots below are just of the Palace exterior, views from within and the Parade Square (Outer Courtyard). It was here that we caught the end of the changing of the guards.


Afterwards we wondered through the streets of Gamla Stan and did some window shopping before stopping for lunch. I just loved the hussle and bussle of the streets. The main streets are Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the city is the building in Stortorget, a small public square. Some other interesting stops are the momument to St George and the Dragon and the extremely narrow Prästgatan (The Priest Street). Unfortunately I got to this narrow street just as a whole lot of tourist arrived to gawk and walk down it. We decided we were too hungry to go down that rabbit hole.


There are so many amazing place to lunch in Gamla Stan. I was considering Resturang Tradition, which offers high quality classic Swedish food and some of the best meatballs in the city (also lactose free!). However, since we were on a budget we went for another exciting but less expensive option. Strömmingsvagnen is a food truck offering traditional Swedish fried herring. This sounded delicious to me, but Marco wasn’t convinced until he tried it. Octavia and I shared the Nystekt Strömming med Hemlegat Potatismos (Fried herring with mash potatoes) with the choice of pickled cucumber, creme fraiche salad and lingonberry. Marco went for the safest option, the Herring Burger. It was all so delicious! The herring wasn’t greasy at all and tasted fresh, without the fishy flavour. The mash potato was creamy to perfection and the salads and jam fresh. The burger was also amazing, as the fillings really brought the best out of the herring. For a cheap lunch, I can’t recommend it enough, even if your not a fish lover. Afterwards Marco and Octavia got some Icecream from the Hell Dog Food Truck and which they both highly recommend.


Norrmalm to Östermalm

After lunch we had to go back through Gamla Stan to make our way to the Swedish Historical Museum to see the Viking exhibition. So we walked from the south west of Gamla Stan across the bridge into Norrmalm and along the Lilla Värtan river towards the museum. It was a long walk on a really hot day. You may be wondering why we didn’t take public transport. Well, the day before we did get a day pass and we barely used. So today we decided to walk, which we did. It only took about 30 minutes, but it felt longer because of the heat. It was still nice to walk along the Nybroviken, which is a small bay, which separates Norrmalm and Östermalm.
Östermalm is a beautiful beautiful and afflutent part of Stockhom, where you can find plenty of shopping, beauitiful architecture and museums.

After visiting the museum, Marco and Octavia went back to the apartment to have a rest before dinner. I didn’t want to sit around the appartment, so instead I went shopping. I walked back from Östermalm to Norrmalm. I window shopped my way from Nybrogatan to Birger Jarlsgatan to Biblioteksgatan. I even found an Eataly, which I didn’t know about in Stockholm. The one and only Eataly that I’ve been to was in New York, which I loved. If I had more time I would have loved to come back to dine there.

It was so hot out and I was getting really thirsty, so I stopped into Joe and the Juice. This is a Danish juice bar, that has since spread across Europe, America, Asia and Australia. This is my first time visiting one of their bars, but I do remember trying to find one in Sentosa, Singapore. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, as well as plenty of savoury and sweet options for lunch or afternoon tea. I ordered the Prince of Green fresh juice, which was sweet, earthy and very refreshing. I would have got something else, but I had to have dinner soon. Not long after this I had to make the dreaded walk back through Gamla Stan to meet my family back at the apartment for dinner.


Södermalm: Dinner

For dinner I already had a place in mind, which was near the apartment in Södermalm. Krogen Soldaten Svejk is an Eastern European Restaurant which offers hearty dishes at an affordable price. They have good reviews and we saw plenty of customers on arrival, which is aways a good sign.

I ordered Vepřová du chef Jurajda (roasted loin of pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). Marco ordered the Schnitzel Feldkurat Katz filled with ham and cheese, with fried potatoes. For Octavia we orderer the Cheese and Sausage Plate. The food was exactly what we were hoping for, it was well cooked, hearty and so delicious. The only disappointment was the Cheese and Sausage plate, since we didn’t know that it would be processed cold meat. However, we probably should of asked a few more questions. It was still good, but nice exactly a kids meal. Octavia didn’t mind tucking in to our dishes anyway and we had an extra side dish.

To finish the night off we head to a local grocery store and bought some Swedish Icecreams. Their grocery stores full of interesting foods and plenty of dairy free and other healthy alternatives. You can probably guess which ones was mine.


Since this post has mainly been able food I will share with you some of the other places I would have loved to have tried. Unforunately this was our last full day in Stockholm, so I wasn’t able to try them this time.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had or having an amazing time celebrating the end of 2018 and a new start to new year. I am actually really excited about the upcoming year. So many exciting things are going to happen and so many possibilities.

I don’t intend starting the new year with any resolutions. But this year is hopefully going to be fresh start for my health. Once I am feeling 100% I intend to grow my family by one more, followed by my dream Disney wedding in Hawaii. So there is lots to look forward to and prepare for.

This year for this blog I’m hoping to continue to write about travel and colouring. I will also focus more on food and tell you about my new found passion for genealogy.

Before I completely move into the new year, I thought I would take a look back over the last year.


Live

So this year I did quite a bit of spontaneous travel. We visited Singapore and Nordic Europe. I am still in the process of writing about my trip through Sweden and Finland. We saw so muchand I have been a bit lazy in getting it all written up. If you planning I trip to either of these place do check out my posts to see some of the amazing places that you can visit and eat.


Eat

I didn’t post that many recipes this year, but these are the ones that made it onto the blog. As you can see its mostly pasta, since thats a big part of our diet. You can find all these recipes and more in my Recipe Index. Probably my favourite recipes for this year were the:


Colour

Adult colouring still remains a big part of my life. I find it to be a great creative outlet and I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon. I know its not trending so much for regular folks, but the colouring community is still alive and well. This year I review quite a few book reviews, including:

I also did a few of themed colouring projects:

Here are a few of my favourites from this year:

All the best for your new year and I look forward to bring you more travel adventures, delicious eats and colouring inspriation this year!

Book Review: Menuet de bonheur

Before I finish out the year I wanted to bring you my last colouring book review of the year. I have been working on this book for a little while towards the end of the year and its was one of my goals of 2018 to do a review for this beautiful book.

Menuet de bonheur (Minute of Happiness) is a Japanese colouring book by Japanese artist Kanoko Egusa. I originally bought this book sometime last year from Amazon Japan, as it was hard to get hold at the time. It was quite pricey, but I couldn’t help myself since it artwork is just spectucular and its become one of my most prized book.

The artist, Kanoko Egusa is from Sendai-shi, Miyagi prefecture (3 hours north of Tokyo). She studied design and drawing at university and became a freelance graphic designer and later an illustrator. A few years ago she was asked to create a coloring book, which lead to the release of both Menuet de bonhear and Rhapsody in the Forest in 2016. Both of these books have become very popular within the colouring community for Kanoko’s unique style and her adorable of animal illustrations. These two books have also been published in Dutch editions, however the Japanese edition is not too hard to get hold off. This year Kanoko was also featured in Colouring Heaven Magazine for the issue Secret World of Animals Special and she also published Waltzes for the Seasons Colouring Post card Book. I haven’t heard if she will be bring out another colouring book, but I’m sure it would make many of us very happy. 

This Japanese book has a soft cover, with a lite dusky pink removable dust cover, which is decorated in a collage of beautiful animal images found inside the book. It has 92 pages which are printed on both sides. The paper is white, medium quality. It is not very thick, however watercolour pencil can be used with care. The texture of the paper does take some getting use to as it is not smooth like other books.

The illustrations include cute domestic and woodland animals in both natural and human-like scenes. There is quite a bit of variety in terms of theme and style of the images. There are scenes in the home, the city, the forest, garden, mandalas and collages and there are also 18 double page spreads. There are a few themes in the book, which include the birth, market place, countryside, in the garden, summer holidays, halloween, christmas, Parisian culture, Japanese culture and marriage. Another additional extra at the back of the book are two postcards and five memory card/oraments that you can colour, which is printed on light brown paper.

I adore this book and I highly recommend it if you love colouring true to life woodland creatures in more domestic settings. My only issue with this book is the paper, but after colouring a bit in it I have gotten use to the texture.


Below are the images I have coloured in this book so far. I have included my most recently pictures as well as the others I coloured for last years for Christmas and Halloween colouring.  I have also made a video flip through, which features all the completed pictures.


This first picture is the one that brought me back to Bonheur de Menuet. I always like to colour the title page of a book, so I have something to see when I first open it. It also takes away some of the inital fear when I first go to start a new book. Since I already started this book last  year I was eager to get to this page first. 

I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils for this page. This pencils work well on this paper and don’t need to much layering to get a good result. I really had a nice time colouring this page and bring each element to life. Since wanted this picture to flow I coloured the fruit and animals first since I knew what colours to use. Then I coloured the rest of the elements with colours that would contrast eachother. I also tried to reuse as many of these colours to be more harmonious. I find this technique works best for me as I’m not a great planner of colour schemes. 


The next page I coloured was this adorable bunny fashionista. I switched to Prismacolor Premier pencils, which I hadn’t used in this book since Halloween. I really didn’t like how these pencils previously worked on this paper. However, I am more experienced now and have learned to colour with many light layers. So this time around I really enjoyed using Prismacolor and continued to do so as you will see below. This is another picture which I didn’t know which colours to use. So I started with the each item of clothing and slowly used contrastly colours for each to complement the last. I decided to colour the bunny with grey blue fur like adorble little guy


This next picture I did for my daughter, who is obsessed with ginger cats. I enjoyed colouring this page the most, but it probably took the most time. I modelled the background on this farmyard picture. It took me a while to find the right picture to inspire my background and the rest was easy from there. The grass however took forever. I tried not to rush it to give as much depth as possible. The stars of the page, the kitties, I left until last and although they are a tiny part they are definetly the most important and gorgeous part of the picture. I had again used Prismacolour which work like a dream on this paper and was great for layer and blending. 


This last picture is probably my least favourite of the bunch. I had high hopes for this page of goats but it just didn’t come together like I imagined. It was a bit diffcult to make all the elements cohesive and the background is a bit vanilla. So I was really happy when this page was done. Besides Prismacolor, I also used a white Posca for the fur and details. 


These last pages were done for Christmas and Halloween projects last year. The very first picture I coloured in this book was this Halloween picture. I used Prismacolor pencils and it was ok for the small details but the sky was a disaster. I really didn’t like the way the pencil had layed down on the paper, but in hindsight I was probably pressing too hard.

The next page is a very special one for me, since it was acutally my first page that made it as a daily banner for the Facebook colouring group that I am a member of. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos, a white Prismacolor Premier pencil for blending and a white gel pen for details. This page taught me about that mistletoe was white and holly was red, since I thought it was the other way around. I also found out after extensive searching that these are chipmunks, which we don’t have in Australia. I really liked using Polychromos pencils on this paper, but I tried to be careful since these pencils are quite hard and the paper is quite thin. I also coloured the adjacent page with Prismacolor and quite a bit of gel pen. I am quite happy with both.

This book can be purchased from:

Book Review: Johanna’s Christmas

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and/or happy holiday time with your family and friends. I also like to wish you a Happy New Year over the next day or so, depending where you are. Today I have finally have for you my review and finished pages from Johanna’s Christmas. This is the only other book that I worked in over the past month.

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book is a Christmas themed colouring book by the great Johanna Basford. It was published back in October 2016 and its been quite popular during the last two holiday seasons. I wasn’t sure about buying it last year. However, a few months ago I found it for a really good price, so I though why not add another one of Johanna’s books to my collection and have plenty of beautiful pages to colour during the holiday season.

Johanna’s Christmas is a similar format to Johanna Basford’s other books, but it doesn’t have removable dust cover. Instead it has a soft cover with a french flap, The front and back covers are decorated with a collage of Christmas inspired drawings and has gold foil detailing on the front cover. Inside there are 80 pages, which are perforated for easy removal. The paper has a nice, soft texture, ivory in colour and is thick like Johanna’s other books. Although there are 80 pages, there are only 37 pages of illustrations, which doesn’t include the title page, name plate page or colour palette tester page. On the back side of the pages there is a pattern that has been printed in grey ink. Through out the book there are three different patterns on the back side of the pages. You could colour them, but they are more decorative or allow you to feel more free to use different mediums with ease. I know some people feel that they are getting less for their money, however it really didn’t bother me. I liked having the freedom to use wet media, which I normally don’t in Johanna’s books because I am paranoid of bleed through. I also liked that I didn’t have to worry about colour transfer onto the other page, however there are quite a few double pages spreads. I am careful to place a piece of paper on those pages to protect the facing image, even when storing the books. Just note the I have UK edition, so if you would like to see a comparison to the US edition, see this great article by Colouring in the Midst of Madness.

The images in this book undeniably Christmas inspired, however there is plenty of variety and all have Johanna’s signature style. There are drawings with wreaths, mandalas, round and full page collages, full page scenes and images with large blank backgrounds. There are plenty of Christmas trees, baubles, winter animals, presents and much more.

All in all, I am very happy that I bought this book for Christmas colouring. I love the format of the book, that gave me the freedom to experiment, I love the variety of pictures, which included many cute animals and cosy scenes. The paper is just fantastic and takes pencil and watercolour like a dream. My only criticism is the the black french flap, attached to the cover is in black, which has left black marks on both the front title page and back colour palette test page. Although this can be erased it will be constantly rubbing and I will have to protect it with paper for storage.


Below I have included a video flip through of Johanna’s Christmas and photographs of seven pages that I have coloured from the book. They are listed in order as they appear in the book, rather then when I coloured them.




The Christmas polar bear is one of the first pages I coloured for the holiday season. I have seen this page done in a variety of ways, but I wanted mine to be more unique, so I created a background, which was inspired by the northern lights and forests in Scandinavia.

I first roughly drew in the tree line and tried to mirror it the best I could for the lake. I then added in the skyline, which was also mirrored on the water. This took quite a while, but on this paper my Prismacolor pencils blended quite well. Next I coloured the polar bear and ice and added white gel pen for the fur and to go over the black ink lines. Lastly, coloured the water line, scarf and presents. I tried to reuse the same colours from the background, with an additional pop of limestone green and yellow orange. I also did some extra detailing for the stars and presents with white gel pen. This pages didn’t turn out perfect but I am happy with the pastel colours and the concept.


The Gingerbread houses is a double page spread, which I coloured last in this book. I didn’t take this one too seriously, I just wanted to do something fun and pretty.

Since there was so much to colour, I put a base of layer of Inktense pencil activated with water. I found that this worked really well with another one of the pages I coloured below and it really sped up the colouring time. Since I had to go all the way to the edges of the page, the paper did buckle a little, but over the next couple of days it did flatten out, by having the book closed. The texture of the paper was affected in anyway, so its was lovely to colour over the top with Prismacolor pencils. I quite liked how the pencil was quite chalky over the top and helped soften the black ink lines. In saying that I did still go over all the black lines with a white gel pen. I was nearly able to finish it however I did have to use a bit of white Posca pen when my gel pen ran out. This was not idea, since its just absorbs into the paper, but it was only a small section.

For the sky, I had originally just coloured it with darker pink Inktense pencil and light pink Faber-Castell Albrecht pencil. It was a little flat though, so I tried to draw in some clouds with different shades of pencil. I did end up outlining them with white gel pen and going over the sky again with pink Prismacolor, just to give a point of difference. Its not perfect but its better then having no sky and it was quite easy to do.


The Rocking horse was the first page that I had used Inktense as a base and Prismacolor pencils over the top. I found this technique really sped up the colouring time and gave a richer colour. It also softened the black lines and the pencils gave a lovely soft finish. The only thing that I am not happy with and was a learn curve was the green circle background. I originally went in with a dark green and white Inktense pencils. After activating it with water the texture looked horrible. When I tried to go over the top with light green pencils, it just looked very scratchy. I think the problem was the white Inktense pencil. Overall then the paper took the water quite well, since I didn’t have to colour to the end of the paper. So I have mixed feelings about this one.


The next double page spread is my least favourite of the bunch and was more of an experiment with Mungyo Pastels. I am a bit nervous to use pastels, since when I have used them over pencil they kinda washed out the pencil vibrancy. I know you can use a colourless blender to protect the pencil but it seems I still worry doing a rich layer of pastel. So I thought for these pages I would do a really rich layer of pastels and then go in over the top with pencil. The only thing I didn’t count on was that I was not able to erase the pastel as well as I hoped. So it was a little hard to cover the drawings with pencil and it took on some of the background colour, hence why my gold is so orange. I don’t think I would do this again but it at least now I know.

The last picture is my favourite and is the first picture I did for the Christmas season. I took quite a while filling in the background before colouring the rest of the picture. I don’t normally do this but it was well worth it because when the other colours did smudge on the background I was able to erase it. Although it looked like quite a simple design it quite a detailed picture and it took me a while, but I just love it.


I hope you like the last of my Christmas colouring for this season. If you are curious about this book and see it for a good price I really recommend buying and putting it away for next year. I think it will still be popular next year like all of Johanna’s books and it’s just a beautiful quality colouring book. At the moment, the prices are quite low but also look out price drops prior to the next Christmas season.


This book can be purchased from:

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Some of you may be celebrating Christmas or Christmas Eve today. In Australia it’s Christmas Day, so I will be spending the day with family.

During this past month I haven’t been able to post anything on this blog, do Christmas shopping and prepare for today, as I have been very unwell. After initially getting a virus, I recovered, then my daughter got it and she recovered. However, then I got a mutated version which lead to a viral and bacterial infection. So I have been bedridden most of this week. However, today I am feeling well enough to be around people and enjoy one of my favourite days of the year.

Christmas Presents

Unfortunately for my family they won’t be getting any presents from me today. I normally start doing my Christmas shopping in November but I was a bit late to start this year and then I wasn’t able to do any. I guess I’m also not feeling as materialistic this year. In saying that Santa and Marco did leave me some presents. I got a these gorgeous two dresses from Baby Lemonade. The cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat. I am so excited about this book after watching her series, Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix. As for colouring books I finally got Johanna Basford’s new book World of Flowers and Emelie Lidehall Oberg’s Fairy Tales Colouring Book. I am a big fan of both these ladies work, so I knew eventually they would be joining my collection.

Christmas Colouring

Over this past month I planned to do as much Christmas colouring as I could. I didn’t do as much as I would like to since I wasn’t feeling up it, but I did about nine pages in a few books. Today I will just share a couple page, since the rest are from Johanna’s Christmas. I will do a book review and flip through, to showcase that book in the next few days.

The very first picture I did for Christmas colouring this year is from one of my recent books that I had yet to start. This Christmas Angel is from
Creative Haven Beautiful Angels Coloring Book, by Marjorie Sarnat. I coloured her with Prismacolour and used white gel pen for some of the details and cover some of the black lines. The paper in this book is quite good, but it was a little challenging to blend too much with Prismacolor. I also find most of the pictures are quite busy, so I tried to just reuse the same colors. I am not too sure about the flowers and the pink, but I prefered not to use red. Overall I’m quite happy because the original sketch is quite flat so I think I bought a little dimension to it.

The next picture is from ESCAPE Collage Art by Marty Nobles. This is my second picture in this book and the perfect Christmas image. The paper in this book is a little different. It is thick but its closer to a old children’s colouring book. I do find that soft Prismacolor pencils work well, which is what I used. I just found it challenging when layering for animal fur. It took me a while to do this one as well, as I wanted the right colors that would be harmonious and more old fashioned rather then bright and modern. My background is a bit strange, but I had to give it a little texture. The snow dots where actually already drawn in the picture, so I just used a white gell pen to bring them out. I don’t mind this picture so much now its done. What I reallly like about this book is that you can focus on different sections, which don’t take too long to complete.

Marco’s Birthday Feast

The last thing that I will share with you today was Marco’s birthday dinner, which was a week before Christmas. If you remember last year I made him the Feast of Seven Kingdoms. Well I didn’t go that overboard this year. Octavia had just gotten better and I was on day one of my second bout of illness. I took a couple of short cuts, but I tried to make everything from scatch. We didn’t have a huge amount of guest, so there was plenty for food for that night a couple days of leftover.

So when they arrived to served this platter, which included Proscuitto di Parma, Organic Nitrate Free Legham, gerkins and Rice Croquettes. These croquettes are my Nonna’s specality, which she makes at every family event. I finally tried my hand at making them. I also made a couple gluten free for my nephew. According to Marco mine were really good, but not as good as Nonna’s since she fries hers a bit longer.

For the dinner I served homemade Papardelle with a Traditional Bolgnese sauce. I used this recipe from Food Nouveau and it was pretty good. The traditional ragu uses butter and milk, white wine and much less tomatoes. I cooked it for three hours and it was just so full of flavour. I think the secret is really pushing the meat to carmelise. Since I’m not in the habit of using milk I did use lactose free, hoping that it wouldn’t affect anyones allergies. I also made homemade Gnocchi with pesto and topped with Pecorino Romano. I normally make my own pesto but I used a good quality organic brand to save time. I also made Baked Tuna Canneloni, which had Fontina cheese in the bechemel and filling. Everyone was surprised to really enjoy this one. I also made a green salad and sauted kale with raisens (forgot the pine nuts). For bread, since Serbian’s need their bread I made Focaccia. My sister and brother in-law actually have their own Pizza restaurant, so I was able to use their dough to save time. I added lots of EVO to the dough and a salt brine and let is rise a couple of times. I should have probably split the dough in two, so that it would be more crispy and not as high. Nobody cared, they actually really liked it and there was really not much left at the end of the night.

Lastly for the birthday cake, I purchased this as an impulse buy from a the French bakery, Jocelyn’s Provisions. It was a small Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Small Round, topped with white cholate ganache and sprinkled with
candied violets.  It was extremely rich, but really delicious.

If you made it this far down let me know what you did for Christmas? Any special art projects, cooking or eating endeavours?

Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 1)

Our next stop on our Nordic Adventure was Stockholm, Sweden. We have been to Sweden a couple of times, but this was our first time visiting the capital city. Stockholm is the most populous city of the Nordic countries and the centre for cultural and economic centre of Sweden. We allocated two and a half days for Stockholm and if we had more time we would have loved to stay longer. The food, the shopping, the architecture and the sites, make it an amazing destination that you don’t want to leave.

Our first day in Stockholm was relatively lay back by my  travelling standards. We experiences amazing Swedish pastries, had family fun at Skansen open air museum, did fika with our cousin, window shopped in the old town and finished the evening with a plate of Swedish meatballs.

 

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Halloween Colouring

Happy Halloween y’all! Did you do anything special for the All Hallows’ Eve? We had our Halloween fun over the weekend. We Trick-a-Treated at shopping centre and did some other Halloween events for kids. Tonight we have treats ready for the two lots of kids that visit our home. Halloween is really not a popular holiday in Australia, but this year there is definitely at lot more interest then previous years.

Over October I decided to just colour in Halloween inspired pictures from a variety of colouring books. I could only get done seven pictures , since I didn’t finish the university semester until mid October. It’s been really fun to colour pictures with the Halloween spirit and revisiting books that haven’t got as much love as they deserve. The books I coloured include the Romantic Country Series, Fantasia and Colouring Heaven Anime Special.

 

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 3: Sunnfjord Museum (part 2)

While we were in Førde, we made one more stop at the Sunnfjord Museum. I wanted to dedicate a whole post to this museum, since I really enjoyed it much more then I expected to. This museum offer us a personalised experience, which really made me appreciate this history of this region and was a great ending to this road trip.

The Sunnfjord Museum is an open air museum and is one of the four regional museums in Sogn og Fjordane. It is presents the day-to-day life of the farming and tenant families of the traditional district of Sunnfjord in the mid 1800’s. The main feature of the museum is the cluster of 25 buildings which originate from different places in the Sunnfjord district. It is situated on the spectacular location at the end of the Movatnet, which gives it an authenticity to the landscape.

The museum consists of 32 antiquarian buildings, a herb garden, mountain farm and cultivated landscape. Three of the buildings are in their original location, and the rest are from other settlements in Sunnfjord. These buildings are great examples of the building techniques and traditions from the 16th to the 19th century. Many of the buildings can be visited inside and are furnished as they would have been back in their day. If you want to get a closer look at some of the objects you can see them on the Digital Museum.

The museum is opened all year round (opening hours) but they only offer daily guided tours during June to August. However, there are exhibitions, special events and educational programs offered a different time in the year. They also offer exhibitions and educational programs for kids. They encouraged visitors to make the most of their visit, by having a picnic on the grounds, or swiming and fishing in the lake. Also from the museum there several walking paths with information boards describing the natural and cultural history of the area.

 

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Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Hash

It’s been a while since I have posted any recipes. I haven’t been as passionate about cooking recently, while I’ve been juggle uni, a testy toddler and constant onslaught of the flu. Cooking has been more a chore of late, but I’m hoping that now I’m on holidays I can experiment with some new recipes. I’m really excited to make some homemade pasta after watching the new docuseries, Salt Fat Acid Heat. If you have Netflix you must check it out and have your passion for food renewed.

So this recipe is just a quick lunch I prepared for myself and my partner, while our daughter was having some Nonna time. I was inspired by Spinach and Potatoes Baked with Eggs from Scandinavian Comfort Food. Since I was missing some of the key ingredients, I italianized it with what I had on hand. I also got to try out my new Lodge caste iron skillet, which I bought as an non-toxic alternative. It was a great to cook with and easy to clean.. Well easy for Marco to clean, since I’m the cook.

This dish can serve two hungry people or three, if you add another egg. I served it with a fresh green salad coated with my new favourite ingredient, Cobrum Estate Lemon Infused EVO. I also used this oil in the hash to infuse it with a fresh lemon flavour. If you watch the first episode of Salt, Fat Acid Heat, you will get why I’m a bit obsessed with EVO right now.

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