Väggarna är mina vittnen// The Walls Are My Witnesses

Ventilationen spinner lågt, en kaja pratar med en annan kaja utanför i en björk, ett flygplan flyger någonstans ovanför molntäcket som inte vill släppa igenom en endaste stråle sol till oss idag. Väggarna står stilla. Kaffemaskinen knäpper till då den slår av sig själv. Jag läser en bok på soffan. Inga kaoskrisakuta nyheter brottar sig in genom dörren, inga oroliga röster vädjar genom telefonen, inga blombuketter behöver desperat plockas och bildörrar snabbt stängas. Det är tyst här. Väggarna är mina vittnen.

Småfåglarna vaknar, en hackspett har tagit sig ner till marken och letar bland löven, svanparet har återvänt till vår vik från sommarvistelsen längre ut i skärgården med tre grå ungar i sitt kölvatten. På avstånd betraktade jag när de byggde sitt bo för dem och nu är de här. Tallarna står kvar. Jag sätter två brödskivor i rosten trots att jag inte vill äta. Jag är inte sugen på någonting, ingenting ser gott ut när jag öppnar kylskåpet igen. Jag pliktäter. Går ut på tomten i sandaler och pyjamas, tar av fiberdukarna från pallkragarna, låter tomaterna andas frisk luft och broccolin få rent dagsljus. Så mycket det blir av det idag. Klockan är ett och det är dunkelt.

Här kan jag lämna mina anteckningsböcker öppna. Jag kan lämna utan att vara rädd att aldrig kunna återvända. Jag behöver inte dubbeldubbelkolla att inga spår av mig finns kvar för här får jag lämna avtryck, här får jag den plats jag aldrig fick, inte kunde ta, inte fick hjälp att försvara eller bevara. För den var ju min. Den var min, men den togs ifrån mig. Kanske den också togs ifrån oss. Det finns inga gökungar här, ingen konfliktpolis, inge som försöker dela vattnet, förorsaka oljeolyckor och tända på. Jag har svårt att ta det till mig, ta emot det, att det är tyst här. Väggarna är mina vittnen.

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The ventilation purrs low, a crow talks to another crow outside in a birch, an airplane flies somewhere above the cloud-covered sky that does not want to let through a single ray of sunlight to us today. The walls stand still. The coffee machine snaps as it switches itself off. I’m reading a book on the couch. No chaotic crisis news break in through the door, no anxious voices appeal through the phone, no bouquets of flowers need to be desperately picked and car doors quickly closed. It’s quiet here. The walls are my witnesses.

The small birds wake up, a woodpecker has descended to the ground and searches among the leaves, the swan couple has returned to our bay from their summer stay further out in the archipelago with three gray chicks in their wake. From a distance I watched them when they bulid their nest for them and now they are here. The pines remain. I put two slices of bread in the toaster even though I do not want to eat. I’m not craving anything, nothing looks good when I open the fridge again. I duty eat. I go outside in sandals and pajamas, remove the fabrics from the pallet collars, let the tomatoes breathe fresh air and the broccoli get clean daylight. So much it can get of that today. It’s one o’clock and it’s dusky.

Here I can leave my notebooks open. I can leave without being afraid of never being able to return. I do not need to double-double-check that no traces of me are left because here I am allowed to leave an impression, here I get the place I never got, could not take, did not get help to defend or preserve. Because it was mine. It was mine, but it was taken away from me. Maybe it also was taken away from us. There are no cuckoos here, no conflict police, no one trying to divide the water, cause oil accidents and light a fire. I have a hard time accepting it, receiving it, that it’s quiet here. The walls are my witnesses.

Plant Pot Coasters pt.2

Our large flowerpots make ugly, yellow marks on our floor because of the humidity. I had to solve this problem.

Cork is naturally water-resistant but not fully. When cork grains are heated they release a substance that works as a natural glue. When pressed together at the same time it is possible to shape the cork grains. You can buy cork sheets that do not have any other material or substance added to them, which makes them fully bio-degradable.

Beeswax is a natural material obviously and is fully water-resistant. Added together with flax oil it is used to varnish wood, such as a table for example.

I bought sheets of cork, beeswax, and flax oil and went into my workshop.

Cutting the Cork to Size

Mapping out the size of the bottom of the plant pot’s plate.

Sticking the paper cutout to the sheet of cork. I used a sheet that was 8 mm thick.

Used my jigsaw to cut it out.

Making sure it fits well.

Making the Beeswax Varnish

Melting the beeswax.

Measuring the flax oil and writing down every step.

Beeswax and oil mixture done.

Beeswax and oil mixture cooled down and set.

Spreading the mixture onto the cork plates like butter on bread. 🙂 The mixture filled in the small gaps in the cork which made the cork’s surface look way nicer. 🙂

Since the flax oil I used contained turpentine, which is a derivative from pine trees, its scent was strong. I let the cork coasters sit outside for a day in order to absorb into the cork and to aerate them.

The Final Result

I am so proud I completed this project. I started out with thin cork sheets, glue and sheets of plastic (see the previous post with the same title). When that did not feel right nor go well I looked for other solutions. This new version of my plant pot coasters you can compost if you no longer need them, which feels really good.

Grilled ‘Cheese’

Since I cannot eat milk-based cheese I have now dove into the world of vegan cheese. Understanding how I best make a grilled cheese sandwich on this new premise has taken a while but I am getting there. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp mayonsaise
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • many slices vegan ‘cheese’
  • 2 thin slices of ham

Directions

I use a sandwich grill and switch it on when I start making the sandwich. 🙂 If you do not have a sandwich grill you can fry your sandwich in a pan on low heat. You want to give the cheese time to melt without burning the toast. I would also suggest not put mayonnaise on the outside of the bread at first but instead use olive oil and then spread mayonnaise onto the outsides of the bread just a minute before it is done.

Spread mayonnaise on both sides of both bread slices. Then on the insides spread the dijon mustard and then cover both sides with thin slices of ‘cheese’. Add the ham. Flip them together. Fry them slowly until the outside is crispy and the cheese has melted and there are no longer any visible slices left, just melted cheese lovelyness.

Basic Side Table

Building

Sawing the material to size.

Depending on what saw blade you have, in what directions the teeth are, the cut is ugly or clean on the side that you have towards you while sawing. I have read that if the sawblade’s teeth are tilted upwards it helps pull down the material towards the workbench you have it rest on while sawing but it also makes the upside ugly. So you have to score it with a knife before the cut to ease the pressure in the top layer of the plywood. This will make the cut slightly better on the upside as well.

We were off to a wonky start. Just trying out the fit of the pieces to see if I am even in the ballpark.

A beginner’s challenge. Just because I am a beginner I make these kinds of mistakes and so the entire process takes much longer because I have correct all these mistakes. Once I learn it goes faster and much smoother, and I do not have to figure out how to adjust according to my mistakes as much.

I decided that I wanted a partition as well. First and foremost for stability since I made this side table kind of long, but it is also functional because magazines are not as sturdy as books with hardcovers and so they need support to rest on.

I tried to figure out how to make a proper 90° corner without having a special clamp, and I think I did pretty well. 🙂

Then I bought special corner clamps and could then keep the entire piece together. It took me a good while to glue it together and then make all corners as perfect as I could, meaning aligning the materials in all directions.

I tried to find a way to make shallow holes into the plywood to lower down the screw’s heads without the plywood chipping too much. The carpenter who helps us out in our house has previously shown me how to do it with a large drill. It worked so so. I asked around among my classmates (which is new for me) and they gave me the tip to tape before drilling. It went so so as well. So I am still on the hunt for a good method.

Painting

Since I wanted to keep the material honest I did not fill in holes or gaps or scratches. I also taped the edges so that the beautiful layers of the plywood would be kept intact. It took some time to do. In the picture above I have painted the first layer of foundational paint.

Here I have painted the first layer of the paint color I went for. Farrow and Ball Dead Salmon, which for some reason showed up more cooled toned than on our walls in the house. I decided to use a roller to paint and so I managed to keep the structure of the wood. Even though I ended up painting three layers of paint and three layers of varnish the structure of the wood is still there, which I appreciate.

I was not satisfied with the paint color I had chosen at first so then I redid the painting on the outside with a slightly darker hue. It felt so much better.

Final Result

This is such a basic piece of furniture that I have made, and because of it, it has taught me so much. I need to be able to make these basic objects before I can move ahead to more complex things. I am trying my best to be patient and be OK with the fact that I am a beginner, I am a student, and I am learning and growing with each and every object that I make and when I try my best (current best) to solve the problems it provides. Honestly, I feel proud I have made this basic side table. 🙂 That is a new sensation. 😉

Inside Or Outside

När stressen kommer inifrån, när det handlar om att jag måste orka prestera och orka fortsätta försöka, kopplar jag bort kroppen. Då struntar jag i att känna och istället råkar jag trampa på mig själv. Jag äter för mycket och lägger mig för sent, jag säger för mycket eller är istället helt tyst och undrar sedan om jag gjorde fel.

När stressen kommer utifrån, när den är bortom min räckvidd slappnar jag av in i hjälplösheten. Jag ger upp försöken att kontrollera mig själv och tillåter mig själv plötsligt att känna och följa det, respektera det. I maktlösheten känner jag mina behov. Jag skjuter tallriken ifrån mig och somnar på soffan trots att det är eftermiddag, jag säger vad jag tycker och låter andras reaktioner tillhöra dem.

“jag är inte bara någon som behöver få fram ett resultat utan någon som också ska leva genom processen”

Jag undrar varför jag hanterar inre och yttre stress så olika, och varför jag fått för mig att vara inkännande mot mig själv står i vägen för min prestation. Det är en metod från förr som inte gett utrymme för mig, för allt som jag är. För jag är inte bara någon som behöver få fram ett resultat utan någon som också ska leva genom processen. Jag undrar hur min process, och därmed mitt resultat, förändras om jag tillåter den målinriktade att möta den inkännande. Jag undrar vad de skulle ge varandra om de fick mötas, vem jag skulle vara om jag vågade låta mig vara en hel människa i varje steg.

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When the stress comes from within, when it has to do with my ability to perform and to be able to keep trying, I disconnect my body. Then I ignore the feelings and instead I step on myself. I eat too much and go to bed too late, I say too much or am completely silent instead and then wonder if I did wrong.

When the stress comes from outside, when it is beyond my reach, I relax into the helplessness. I give up trying to control myself and suddenly allow myself to feel and follow it, respect it. In the powerlessness, I feel my needs. I push the plate away from me and fall asleep on the couch even though it’s afternoon, I say what I think and let other people’s reactions belong to them.

“I am not just someone who needs to produce a result but someone who will also live through the process”

I wonder why I deal with inner and outer stress so differently, and why I believe feeling empathy for myself stands in the way of my performance. It is a method from the past that has not given me space, for everything that I am. Because I am not just someone who needs to produce a result but someone who will also live through the process. I wonder how my process, and thus my result, changes if I allow the goal-oriented to meet the empathic one. I wonder what they would give each other if they got to meet, who I would be if I dared to let myself be a whole person in every step.