Book Review: Smyckeskrinet (Jewelry Box)

This book review is on one of Hanna Karlzon’s most recent colouring books. I bought this book when I was in Sweden last year. I finally got around to colour some of these beautiful pages. I am really loving her books right now and intend on colouring through my other Karlzon books, while I wait for her lastest release.

Smyckeskrinet is Hanna’s fifth colouring book, which came out in 2018. It also cames in an English edition, Jewelry Box. The format of this book is the same as the rest of her books, which you can see from my other reviews of her first two books, Day Dreams and Summer Nights.

This book has a limestone green cover with an black design and gold foiling. The design on the cover doesn’t appear in the book, but has some similar elements that you will find inside. The book format is hardcover, with high quality off-white paper. The line art is on double-sided and there are 96 pages to colour.

This book is consisent with Hanna’s style, however it is themed is Edwardian house and its garden. Similarly to her other books, there is a large variety of beautiful girls, animals, flowers, jewels and inanimlate objects. However, these designs have an old world twist that makes this book quiet unique to itself. Consistent with the title, many of the designs are adorned with jewels, which gives the images a very anique feel. There is also quite a variety of images which take up entire pages, majority, or have quiet blank backgrounds, so you colour within the confines of the designs or make an elaborate background.

This is probably my favourite book of Hanna Karlzons so far. I felt the line art was more intricate and I loved the cute animals and beautiful headdresses. I wanted to experiement a little more then I usually do in Hanna’s books, so I have used quite a few different mediums to give you an good example of what works on this paper. Below I have included a video flip through and photographs of all my completed pictures in this book so far. Any future pictures will be added to my Smyckeskrinet (Jewelry Box) gallery.

The Name plate page was the last page I coloured since it was the one I was most worried about. I initially didn’t want to go with traditional colours for the peacocks, but when I started researching the various colours of their feathers I decided there was plenty of tones I could use to make them very pretty.

The main design was all coloured in Prismacolor pencils and a little bit of white gel pen. As for the background, I used Mungyo Watercolor Crayons. I had already experiemented with these crayons in this book and I was pretty happy with them. I used a combination of purple and light green crayon and activiated them with a water pen. I then went over the crayon with Prismacolor pencils. It did come out a little streaky, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

I did the Jewelled Bettle and Garden Goddess as a two pages spread. I started with the goddess, which I wasn’t sure I really liked when I first saw. But I really wanted to try and make her beautiful and bring out all the aspects of her floral headdress to make it more volumious.

I used Prismacolor pencils and it took me quite a while to lay them down, so that she looked more three-dimensional. I think thats really the key to perfecting my colouring, the more soft layers the better the result. Then I decided to quickily do the Jewelled Bettle, since I used most of the same colours. I also used some white and yellow gold gel pen to bring out some of the details. I am not entirely happy with how I used them on the round and tear shaped jewels, but they do look better then left black.

Next I decided to try out a background that I had seen recently in a video on the Youtube channel Colouring with Olivier. I had actually purchased the Mungyo Watercolor Crayons after watching Oliver’s video review of them. I bought them off Ebay and they are quite an inexpensive alternative to Neocolor, which is very popular at the moment. I really loved Oliver’s Cracked Wall Background, so after watching her video I tried to recreate this myself for this two page spread. I used black, brown and lime green crayons with a water pen to activate. Intitally I went lightly with the crayon on the paper and activated it, then added extra color by wiping the brush directly on the crayon. Afterwards I used a sharp black pencil to add in the cracks. I am extremely happy how it turned out. Although its not perfect, it looks great overall as a two page spread and is quite a quick background to achieve. Another great thing is that the crayon didn’t blead through and there was minimum buckling on this paper.

The Jewelled Kitty-cat was a picture I feel in love with straight away. I used Polychromos pencils with some white Prismacolor to blend and white gel pen for sparkles. Something I always have difficulty with is whether I do the background or objects first. Only thing is background take so long that I sometimes feel less passionate about the overall picture by the time I finish it. The only downside to doing the opposite is that the pencil can stain the background and it can be difficult to erase. Luckily when using Polychromos you do’t have these problems so much. Unlike soft pencils like Prismacolor, they don’t smudge very much at all. They do requite alot of soft layers to get a vibrant color and not to ruin the tooth of the paper. I also like to used the white Prismacolor to blend and remove white speckling, which you can also do with other pastle soft pencils. Anyhow, thats pretty much how I got the depth to the sky and other objects, which really enthused me to use my Polychromos pencils a bit more.

The Black Swan Princess the first picture completed in this book, which I did back in September last year. It was dedicated to the late and great Katrine and which featured in my 7# Colouring Update. I used Prismacolor Premier pencils, white Posca pen for highlights and a black Faber-Castell Artist Pitt pen for the background. You can refer to my previous post for more details.

The Jewel Carriers was one of the last pages I coloured. I wanted use an Autumn colours palette, with bright oranges and deep blues. Since I was using Prismacolor pencils. I started with the background first, before don’t the flora and fauna. I really wasn’t happy with my color choice and wanted to give up on it. But once I added in the white gel pen and completed the pictures I didn’t mind it as much. Its not so pretty but it really packs a punch to your eyes.

This Astro goddess portrait is a relatively small picture and didn’t requite a background, so it was a nice quick one. It’s a really good design if you want to practice doing skintone and hair. I took my time, trying to give her skin a more deeper complection, which is more difficult for me on larger scale. I used Polychromos pencils, so I had to be very careful to be to do soft layers, but I think I am improving in not making such harsh lines on the face. I love how she turned out. I am not so happy with my background. The black lines on around the stars were too strong and don’t look much better with the gel pen. I think I need to find a new solution to this dilema.

You can purchase this Smyckeskrinet or Jewelry Box from:

Nordic Trip

It’s taken me all year, but I have finally finish writing about my fastastic Nordic Adventure. This spontaneous three week vacation, covered varies places in Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland. We explored large city metropolises, small coastal and inland towns, as well as parks, museums and natural reserves. We only scatched the surface of what the Nordic nations have to offer, but I hope it inspires you to visit this part of the world.

Below I have included links to all the posts in this travel series, incase you missed some. If you have any questions feel free to leave a message below and I would be happy to help as best as I can.

Norway

Norwegian Road Trip

Sweden

Finland

Estonia

Finnish Road trip

Finnish Roadtrip: Savonlinna to Porvoo (day 6-7)

This is the end of my Finnish Roadtrip and Nordic Adventure. Since this only covers and a half days I combined it all into this last post. One this day we departed from Savolinna, made a stop in Lappeenranta and arrived in Porvoo. We only stayed on night in Porvoo before making our way back to Helsinki for our flight. I am so happy we made this last stop, because I really loved exploring Old Porvoo.

Savonlinna

We woke up to a beautiful site out of the window of our summerhouse cottage. It was so nice to feel like we were walking up in the middle of nowwhere. It was so quiet and serene, but we need to get up and going to start our last day.

We arrived inn Savonlinna’s town centre for an early morning breakfast. Today was Monday, so we expected that today everything would be open, meaning an end to our Midsummer nightmare. I would have loved to spend time walking along this main shopping drag and also visiting Linnankatu to see the arts and handicrafts. However, we were up quite early and nothing was opening for another hour. So we had to decided if we waited or kept going to our next stop Porvoo.

We didn’t see a lot open for breakfast, but we did spot Herkku Pekka. This bakery offered a range of sweet and savoury pastaries, quiches, sandwiches and cakes. All of which looked delightful for three hungry people. I had the Salmon, Egg annd Salad Crossiant and Perunapiirakka. Marco just had a Crossiant and a coffee and O had a sweet Finnish pastry for the very last time. All the pastaries were freshly made and delicious.

So we decided to keep driving to Porvoo, which was going to take about just under four hours. This was the longest stretch of this Finnish roadtrip so far, so we were eager to get it over and done with.

Lappeenranta

On our way we stopped for morning tea in Lappeenranta. This town is about about two hours from Savonlinna. If only we had more time we could of visited its multiple attractions, but time was off the essence. We only stopped at the bakery, Kesämäen Leipomo Oy, which is somewhat of a workers stop. I read that they had a speciality, Liha-Piirakka, which is a savoury donut filled with meat and rice. Marco was more interested in trying the Hevosenkenkä maidoton (milkless horseshoe pastry) and Viinermukki laktoositon (lactose free apple donut). I don’t know if we ordered wrong or we were expecting too much but the were ok. We may have been happy with some jam danishes. However, on the bright side, most of this stuff was either vegan or lactose free.

Porvoo

Porvoo is the second-oldest town in Finland and was the perfect end to our Finnish roadtrip. This historical trading town was established back in 1380. The Porvoo Old Town is paved with cobblestone, lined with with colourful wooden houses and the waterway features Red shore warehouses, which once held exotic delicacies from distant lands. If you like to wander through bohemian and antiques stores and sample sweet delicies then this is the place for you.

One of the must visit stops is Brunberg’s Chocolate Factory, which has been in operation since 1871. . Here you can sample and buy a variety of different chocolate and confectionary, which I promise you as very high quality. Once we tried a few chocolates we couldn’t leave without purchasing some to bring back home.

A short walk north from the centre of the Old Town is the Porvoo Cathedral. It was originally built in the 13th century and was made of wood. However it was later expanded and rebuilt after numerous fires in the 15th century. It is quite pretty inside and retains medieval feel.

Nearby the Cathedral we came across the Iso Linnamäki Castle Hill. It is free to visit this park, but you do have to use your imagination. It was once the site of an old medieval castle, which overlooks the city of Porvoo. The first wooden castle would have been built here in the late 1200s by the Swedes. It was modernised at the end of the 1300s to include moats and a wooden bailiffs castle, which was built under Germ administration. It was later demolished and abandoned in 1400 by the Scandivians, to destroy any reminents of the German period. It wasn’t until the Great Northern War of 1700-1721 that Russians occupied the Finland and took this hill as a gunpost. Much of what had been preserved was later destroyed by local inhabitance, who illegally took gravel from the hill . Today Castle Hill is a serene, quiet space that has lovely views of the Porvoo. Albert Edelfelt used the view for his famous landscape in 1892, which looks verily similar today. You can even see the Red shore Warehouses, which are one of the most photographed buildings in Porvoo. We weren’t able to get close to them, but I did take a picture as we were driving past later.

Before leaving the centre of Porvoo, we had a later lunch at Hanna and Maria. This little Finnish restaurant is in the centre of the old town and has been arounnd for 30 years. It was named after the daughters of the merchant Oskar Simolin, who resided in Porvoo in the 19th century. It is only open during the day from about 8am until 4-5 (depending on the time of year), 7 days a week. They offers a variety of homely Finnish dishes, prepared with mostly local ingredients and the prices are quite reasonable. They have an variety of steaks and schnitzel, reindeer and liver, served with mash potato and salads. They also have a variety of cakes and sweet treats. Octavia and I shared the Sauteed reindeer/Renskav with lingonberry jam, mash potatoes, salad and bread. Marco had a Wienerschnitzel/Vienna Steak, with mash potatoes and salad. The dishes tasted as good as any homemade dish you would loved to be invited over for and the salads were very fresh.

Our last stop before going back to our apartment was Porvoo Art Factory/Taidetehdas Konstfabriken. Here you can find a few stores, including H&M, a cinema and a gallery. In regards to shopping there is really not much here. Since I arrived quite late I am not sure I was mean to be walking the halls of the gallery, since there was no one around. I only saw a little bit, but I think they were probably setting up for a new exhibition. I’d probably skip this unless your coming for a big show.

Our last accomodation on this trip was at this beautiful Airbnb, located in the suburbs not far from the centre. It had a glorious garden in the backyard and was beautifully decorated inside as well. One of the nicest features was the large bathroom and sauna. It was the perfect place to relax and stay in.

While we were enjoying our accomodation we did get a little bit peckish again, so we ordered some takeaway from Thai Street Food Porvoo. They offer a small, seasonal menu of Thai favourites and they are pretty popular rated place. The dishes we ordered Phad Thai and Stir fried chicken with cashews and noodles. They were both generous portions, tasted spot on and served with a fresh little salad.

The next morning before leaving Porvoo we made one last stop to a bakery Marco had already scoped out the day before. Tuorila’s Home Bakery is a Finnish artisan bakery thats been around for 25 years. They offer quite a variety of fresh breads, sweet and savoury pastaries. The prices were extremely reasonable for some of the best delicious pastaries we had found in Finland so far. We ordered a sweet donut, blueberry danish, and savoury LihaPiirakka (meat and rice filled). I can’t recommend this bakery enough if your in town.

The drive back to Helsinki from Porvoo only took about 30-40 minutes. Since we had a couple of hours before we had to be at the airport to go back home we stopped at Kauppakeskus Jumbo (shopping centre). This is only a 7 minute drive from the airport, so its perfect if you need to waste 1-3 hours. Upstairs we found a nice little coffee shop, called Coffee House, which had decent coffees and a variety of lunch and snack items. As for shopping, you can find all the big brands as well as smaller boutiques.

We that is the end of both my Finnish roadtrip and Nordic Adventure. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did reminising about our trip. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment.

Finnish Road trip: Helsinki to Turku (day 1)

The last leg of our Nordic Adventure was our Finnish Roadtrip. This was over seven days (6 nights), which would return us back to Helsinki to fly home. We didn’t follow anyone elses recommended roadtrip. We designed ours as a round trip, with drive lengths between 2-4 hours. We did consider going along the coastline to Oulu and up to Rovaniemi, Lapland to see Santa and that is definetely do-able in 7 days. But when travelling with a toddler who doesn’t like the car, we thought we would leave that for another holiday. Also because we were travelling early in the summer season, we would not be able to see the Northern Lights, which can be seen between mid-August until early April.

We made six stops on this roadtrip, which included Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Savonlinna, and Porvoo. We booked Airbnb for every location except for Turku, so we got to stay in some very interesting locations. We did make a few stops between these towns, but not as many as we did on or Norwegian roadtrip, just because there wasn’t as many tourist stops that we came across.

Something that needs to be mentioned as well, is that we were travelling during the MidSummer holiday or as I like to refer to, as our Midsummer Nightmare. I don’t recommend booking a trip during this time and if you do try to stick to Helsinki. The reason is because all the Finnish leave and go to their summer homes in the country. They enjoy time with their family and friends in their cottage, light bonfires, have sauna’s, which is all very nice. This also means that all of the shops, restaurants and attractions are closed. The supermarkets were open, but it was hard to find restaurants or cafes open and definetely no clothing or sourveir stores. So all my well researched plans to see and eat the best that these towns had to offer were ruined. It’s our own fault not doing more research on this Finnish national holiday. Everything was shut for 3 days and some shut for a whole week to give employs a longer break. So this Midsummer Nightmare affected our trip by day 3 and we also had rainy weather to top it off. We didnt stay in our apartments and complain, instead we made new plans to see what we could. So in the following posts I will detail what we did and also what we would originally planned to do.

Breakfast in Helsinki

Before we started our roadtrip we needed some Finnish pastries. So we began the day at Finland’s oldest bakery, patisserie and cafe. Ekberg 1852 is located on Bulevardi, in Helsinki’s city centre, which is lined with many restaurants, cafes and art galleries. For the past century Ekberg 1852 has been serving Finnish and international pastries and other delicacies.
Now something we didn’t realise when we arrived is that are two parts ot Ekberg 1852, the cafe and the bakery/patisserie. We were expecting to see the bakery, but because we arrived from the left we found the cafe first and didn’t stumble across the bakery until we were leaving. In hindsight I would of prefered the bakery, because they had so much more to offer and we could of got some takeaway items and kept going.

At the cafe they had a breakfast buffet, which included breads, crossiants, cheese, cold cuts, vegetables, porridge, eggs, hot and cold drinks. At the counter they had sweet and savoury pastaries, sandwiches and cakes.

We arrived just before buffet was going to close, so we just ordered a few of the times at the counter. Octavia and I shared the Brioche and Korvapuusti (cinnamon roll) and Marco had a poppyseed roll with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, pesto and lettuce. We also ordered oak milk coffees. Everything was nice enough, but it didn’t wow us and lacked atomosphere I was expecting. I think I would have found that in the bakery next door, but it wasn’t meant to be.

From there we had make our way on foot to pick up our rental car from Eurocar. So we first cross through the Vanha kikkopuisto/Old Church Park. It is also known as Plague Park, as it is the resting place of over a thousand victims of the plague of 1710 and was previously a cemetary. The 40 gravestones and memorials commemorate the plague victims as well as victims of the Finnish Civil War and Estonian War of Independence.

Not far from there we came across the Three Smiths/Kolme seppää monument in the Three Smiths Square, between Kamppi and Kluuvi districts. It was made by Felix Nylund and was unveiled in 1932. The statue represents there smiths and is thought to symbolise human labour and cooperation.

Turku

From Helsinki we drove straight to Turku, which takes about 2 hours by car. We arrived into Turku after midday and checked into the Scandic Hotel. We didn’t get too much time to see the centre of town as we had to have lunch and have enough time to visit the Turku Castle, so these are a few photos I took from the car.

Before we go on I’ll tell you a little bit about Turku. It is situated on the southwestern coastline/region of Finland and is mostly likey the oldest city in Finland. It was founded as early as the 13th century and remained one of the most important cities over the centuries. Until the 1840’s it was one of the most populated cities in Finland and thus, has had a big impact on the history of Finland. It is also known as the ‘Christmas town’ of Finland, as it has been celebrating Christmas celebrations annually since the 13th century.

Turku Market Hall

On this trip we had seen so many amazing Market Halls, but hadn’t got a chance to have a proper lunch at one. Today we were able to visit the Turku Market Hall with the intention of lunch.

The Turku Market Hall/Turun Kauppahalli was open in 1896 and was designed by the architect Gustaf Nyström, who also designed Helsinki’s Market Hall. It was built to address the unhygienic and disorderly 19th century food trade. Turku’s Market Hall originally had 151 shops, with 53 dedicated to meat products. By 1905, running water was installed, so there were aquariums, with live fish to buy. However, electricity wasn’t installed until 1932, so gas lamps had been previously used. Modern refridgerated counters were installed in 1957, as well as its first florist and stationary store. The hall was nearly removed in the 1960s, to make way for a new market hall and office buildings. This eventually resulted in a renovation in 1976, which replaced the marble counters for stainless steel and reduced the number of stores by half. The front facade of the building remains unchanged.

Inside the market hall today you can find butchers, fish mongers, cheese shops, bakeries, stores selling Finnish and Scandinavian foods, spice stores, resturants and cafes. There are a few international stores/cafes, offering Mexican food, Vietnamese, sushi, hotdogs, kebabs, pizza and vegetarian/vegan food. There is also a tiny little Museo and a text panel with old photographs, so you can imagine what it use to be like and see how much it has changed.

I really wanted to try something Finnish for lunch and preferably with fresh seafood. So we stopped in at Herkkunuotta, which is a fishmonger with a small cafe attached. They had a small menu, which utilised their fresh seafood, cooked right in front of you. Octavia and I shared the Fried Catfish with Roasted Potatoes, Vegetables and Citrus Sour Cream. Marco had the Crayfish Burger Happy meal, which also included a salad with prawns, spinach, roasted potatoes and herb cream, as well as a coffee. These dishes were quite well priced and were very generous portions. The fresh seafood and other ingredients was high quality and so was the presentation. We just loved every bite of it.

Before we left we got some takeaway pastries from the market bakery Hallin Herkku, which we enjoyed at our next stop for afternoon tea. These treats included Raparperipulla (custard and rhubarb), Kotkanwiener (strawberry-apple jam & custard) Kinuskimunkki (carmel donut). They were all so delicious and tasted very fresh, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting from the donut. My favourite was the rhubarb and custard pastry. We enjoyed them at the Turku Castle, which we visited just after this. I will write another post dedicated to the castle as its the major attraction in Turku and a must-see when you visit.

Shopping in Turku

After the Turku Castle, we did a bit of walking and window shopping in the city centre. Turku city centre has a mix of gorgeous old buildings and modern ones. There quite a few shopping malls, filled with Finnish designers and restaurants. One store that I was really excited to see was the PUF Design Market, which offers over 20 eco Finnish brands. I was expecting it to be more of a market, rather then a medium size clothing store. They did have pretty unique stuff though. It is located inside the Forum Kortteli, which has other Finnish designers and International restaurants. We also visited the oldest and large shopping mall, Hansakortteli and walked along the main pedetrain street. Since it was quite late in the afternoon most stores were closing or closed, but it was still worth seeing the centre.

Aura River

Our last stop for the evening was the Aura River. This river runs through the heart of Turku and is lined with museums, city buildings, parks, cafes and restaurants. It is the perfect place to take an evening stroll along the promenade and dine overlooking the water. Even though it looks pretty deserted, the restaurants were all full.

As ususal I had already planned where I wanted to have dinner. It was a beautiful Mediaterrean resturant, Tintå. However, they were completely booked out and we had no luck of getting a table this evening. We did checked out Pub Niska, but ultimately decided on, Ravintola Sergio´s.

Dinner

Ravintola Sergio´s is an Italian restaurant located along the promenade, in an old wooden house. They are known for their authentic Italian pizza, which won the Pizzamest championship in Finland in 2017. They menu offers a selection of pizza, pastas, traditional Italian starters and mains, as well as an imported wine selection. I was quite impressed with the offerings and the atmosphere inside was also very authentic.

Marco and I ordered a couple of dishes to share and Octavia had her favourite Margherita pizza with sugo, buffalo mozzarella and basil. We had the Lasagne with veal ragù, white wine and parmesan cheese sauce and the Capricciosa pizza with sugo, mozzarella, ham, artichoke, salami and mushrooms. I was a bit unsure how the lasagne was going to be since its usually a hit or miss dish and when it came out I was suprised to see the sauces underneath the lasagne. Well, it was to die for. It was just perfectly made and the sauces just added to the favours hit. The pizza was also excellent and was the same quality that I would expect from a good pizzeria in Italy.

Well thats part 1 of our first day in Turku. Next I will take you to the Turku Castle and then on day two we will visit the Turku Cathedral before driving to the city of Tampere. I just thought I would mention that we only scratched the surface of what Turku has to offer. Two or three days would of been idea to visit some of the many museums, such as Aboa Vetus Ars Nova Museum (historical and contemporary) or Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum (pre-industrial open-air museum) and see the Turku Archipelago.

7# Colouring Update

Today I bring you another colouring update, after completing my challenge to colour in pages from my newer books. If you didn’t catch my last post, that was the first lost of completed pages and these are the rest. The majority of these books are from my colouring hauls, which I showed you in my colouring updates 4# and 5#. I am so happy that I got a chance to try these books and get excited about them again, after leaving them on my shelf for so long.

In this post I have coloured pages from Girls with Poem,   Mythomorphia,  Smyckeskrinet, Daydreams and Collage Art. I’m not sure when I will return to this books but I had really enjoyed each one of them so I hope to do a series more pictures in each one before doing a review and video flip through. All of these pictures will be in my Galleries, as well as much more.

Like I already mentioned, I just recently did another haul of colouring books (yes I know I have a problem). So I will show you guys those in my next post. I also intend on working in Colouring Heaven’s Fairytale Special, which I just got yesterday. So I will probably do a review and flip through of that one next before choosing my next book to focus on. Although I’m still mid semester I just handed in my assignment today, so I’m hoping do a lot more colouring now.

 

Continue reading “7# Colouring Update”

Quick stops in Lund and Heisenberg

From Malmö to Göteborg we made a couple of stops in Lund and Heisenberg. Unfortunately, they had to be extremely quick as there was major congestion on the motorway. We needed to be at our next destination by a certain time, so we lost a lot of time in traffic. So I only saw a snapshot of the beautiful little towns.

 

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Eating from Washington to Georgetown

We didn’t expect to really indulge in Washington, but the food here was fantastic. There are so many amazing cafes and restaurants to choose, with every cuisine you could imagine. Many of which are dedicated to local fresh quality ingredients and preparing everything from scratch. Although most of this food was pretty decadent, it was lovely to try American classics and other ethnic cuisines done really well. We were only in these cities for a couple of days, but so much more to try and see when we visit again.

Continue reading “Eating from Washington to Georgetown”