Sunday, January 05, 2014

Happy Happy New Year!

I hope you had lovely holidays and made the leap into the new year with giant, trusting, courageous steps.
In 2014 we in Finland celebrate our beloved writer and artist Tove Jansson (she was born 100 years ago). I have read Moomin books many, many times, but this year I am going to read them once again and am determined to search for some of her other works as well. Tove Jansson has been loved to pieces in our house and not a week goes by without one of us making a citation from her books/comic books or the TV series. Moominmamma is my role model. If you think she is overwhelming because she is too perfect, you need to look closer and pay close attention to her and her behavior. I am beginning my Jansson year by reading the Midwinter book first.
Talking about fairy tales...

Carla Sonheim, my dear art teacher (on-line), is launching a new year-long art journey. 2013 was the Year of the Giraffe and this year is going to be the Year of the Fairy Tale.
Those participating will get 8 assignments during the year, I believe 8 different fairy tales to illustrate with various techniques. I really cannot wait to begin. I love Carla's way of encouraging and teaching and from every single on-line course I have learned a lot. If you have ever dreamed about drawing or illustrating, Carla has a nice way to get you started and inspired.
When Carla introduced the course, she had illustrated few scenes from the Little Red Riding Hood. I have had the fairy tale and her images on my brain for a couple of weeks now and of course I had to take a dip into Little Red's world. My first media is always fiber, somehow I cannot leave that behind, as much as I love to draw and would love to do it more and plan to do more (!!), I always reach for fiber, so my very first attempt was felted Red.
Pinterest is a rabbit hole as has been mentioned many times all over the internet.  Lately I have been fascinated by Japanese Kokeshi dolls. I don't know much about them, just what is there in Wikipedia,
although I would love to know more. Pinterest has lots of Kokeshi doll pictures and with those in mind, I present you my Little Red Riding Hood. (I tried to avoid making her too cute and added roughness with the patchwork nose... when I made it, I was sure about the nose, but I keep having doubts... should I replace it with something else...??)
My Little Red has really long ribbons in her hat, she has to be very careful not to trip over but she did not  let me cut them any shorter. She loves flowers. She is a little bit shy and she is suspicious, don't you think when you look at her face. I wonder if she has already met the wolf and has realized that there is more in his character than meets the eye... or if she has seen the wolf dressed in Grandmother's clothing and is not buying the wolf's act as Grandmother. Anyway, she is not stupid and is not easily fooled.
I am tempted to make the wolf to accompany her. As a matter of fact, I have already started but I am having a hard time making the wolf the bad boy. He seems to be turning out far too nice to be eating Grandmothers. I have not given up, I am battling with the face.
The weather has been very mild, the temperature has been around zero C for quite a while and this has made the walking weather great. Now that I have new ice-walking shoes with very sharp pikes, I have had no problems with icy roads. There is very little day-light, it seems to be grey and dark all the time but the mild temperature feels so good, that I almost feel like going for another round and not wanting to come inside after my daily dog walk. Anyway, this situation is about to change, it should be cold by the end of the week.
Cheers to fairy tales and to a good new year and
Wool with you,
PS. Taking good pictures in this dim light continues to be difficult and impossible...


  1. She s lovely. And I must try Tove Janson now.....

  2. Gretchen18:57

    I love her the way she is. That she is not perfect makes her more real! Happy New Year! I look forward to more fairy tales.

  3. Sandra19:02

    I love her expression! Can't wait to see the wolf :)

  4. I'm going to show the Tove Jansson picture books to a child I tutor, thank you for sharing about that author!
    As for Red, she is an arresting creature, whose nose reveals depths of character. I'm looking forward to your 2014 adventures, wolf and all.

  5. Anonymous19:16

    All these years I thought Tove Jansson was a man! I've been tempted by some Moomintroll dish cloths.....
    Love Red, but I'm not sure about her nose - it's not quite right, in my humble opinion.

  6. Anonymous20:20

    Happy New Year
    Love Red and can't wait to see Mr. Wolf.

  7. Thank you very much for the "MoominMinder". I have been looking for something gentle yet interesting to read for the past several weeks, and I think the Moomin books will be just perfect. I read some of these as a child but they definitely deserve another read from an adult point of view.

    I love Red, nose and all, and look forward to seeing your Wolf, even if he turns out to be not so bad. A very Happy New Year to you and yours, filled with much love, health, happiness, fairy tales, and fiber!

  8. Anonymous21:24

    Wonderful, and even with the problems of light at this time of year, your pictures are so good.

  9. Happy new year, Lene, and thank you for the reminder of the Tove Jansson centenary - she has many British fans, including my family.

  10. Anonymous22:28

    I love Red - that facial expression is perfect - and I am crazy about her patchwork nose! Will see if I can get any TJ books from the library. And I am also looking forward to the wolf. It is ok if he is not mean-looking:- )
    Happy New Year!

  11. I've heard of Moomin before, but never read any of Tove Jansson's novels or short stories. I've been looking them up online and they sound really interesting. I've added some to my 2014 reading list also. Thanks for the idea.

  12. We had the Tove Jansson books in the elementary school library where I used to work! Lovely books, they are.
    And, a truly charming and persuasive wolf might have a very attractive face, indeed, eh? So perhaps your wolf is just showing you the face that he wants you to give to him.

  13. You make me smile Lene. Thank you! I love your Red.

  14. Anonymous09:20

    I am eager to see your 'fairytale' work this year. It seems like a perfect theme for you to work with as your work always has that 'mysterious' quality to it that fits with the world of fairies. :) Helen

  15. Yes - Red looks great - we don’t want her too perfect!

    I love the Moomin books and you have jogged my memory as I planned to read them last year and never did.

  16. Oh, I love her! She is perfect :)
    And I share your love of Tove Jansson, the best "personality describer" I know.

  17. Ellen in Conn00:14

    Well, as James Thurber said, a wolf looks no more like a grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. His Caputxella Vermella had a pistol in her basket. She settled that wolf's hash!

    As for the nose, I find it too distracting. However, you do as you wish.

  18. She's so very cute!!

  19. Lene, I can not imagine her to be any cuter than she is. I love the nose, it adds a nice contrast and texture to her lovely face. She seem to be concentrating a great deal, and frankly to fight the big bad wold she will need determination, a wimpy nose simply will not suit her. Love the flowers, well I just love her.

  20. Another b e a u t i f u l work!

  21. I have a collection of kokeshi dolls that I collected when living in Japan. They are very much like your felted dolls. We in the USA will be very happy to send this Arctic vortex over your way. Happy New Year.

  22. Anonymous00:13

    There is something perfectly imperfect about her nose. The moment I saw it, I took it in as "RIGHT!" Afterward when I looked at it more closely, seeing the hearts, I could understand why you might have had second thoughts, but please, leave her as she is. I am tempted by the Carla Sondheim class, but I have no formal artistic training. I have done some sketching and calligraphy, but not much else. Do you think it would be too hard? I think I need to email her and ask. All best to you in this New Year! I love your blog...and I depend on it, for delight.

  23. I loved Tove Jansson s novel "The True Deceiver" it was serialized on the BBC some years ago.
    I loved the Moomin books and now my grandchildren are enjoying them also.
    Love the grandmother; the nose is inspirational.
    Happy New Year, Lene.........

  24. I love your little Red, but for some reason, I would see her with a tuned-up nose ;-) Maybe that's almost impossible to make...looking forward to the wolf.

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  28. Lene, I have been looking in on your musings for a couple of years. You never fail to amaze me. I have never commented because, frankly, I couldn't figure out how to do it. But,that wolf and Little Red made me determined to figure things out. Your work is so inspiring to me. And, I am fascinated by life in the arctic circle! Bless you. ~susan

  29. Happy New Year Lene! Thank you for your blog and the wonderful pictures. You are so creative! I have a funny question. On twitter a shepherd asked?"HerdyShepherd ‏@herdyshepherd1 OK shepherds of the world... What do u shout to call sheep to feed?
    We shout
    Is this Viking?
    What do Reindeer herders shout to call their animals? Or Alpine milk maids? Or Peruvian Llama herders or Masai to their cattle? Anyone know?" I thought You might know about Reindeer. :-)

  30. Anonymous16:26


    Just wanted to let you know that I had never heard of Tove Janssen before, but promptly requested several through my library. Tales From Moominvalley has charmed me! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  31. I was fortunate that my mother ordered books for me from England when I was a child. And among them were the Moomin books. We both loved the Moomins...both the art and the stories.

    I love Red's forceful nose. I think Red has the strength to persuade the Wolf that a tasty roast chicken, fresh peas, and a glass of wine would be preferable to a meal of Grandmother.

  32. Dear Lene,
    I am positively charmed and inspired and somewhat overwhelmed. Your creativity is truly awe-some! I don't know whether to knit faster and more or chuck it all and admire yours.
    I came upon your blog completely by happenstance and was delighted with your Little Red. And the Wolf! His leer is perfection - you can't kill him off. Freeze him perhaps? Some sort of elvish suspended animation?
    I was enchanted. And then I looked at this Twined Knitting. What could this possibly be? Gorgeous is what it is. Oh my!
    I could go on and on. I too live in a northern country,, though not so far north as you and sadly, I am a village person stuck in a big city. Just for now.
    I shall keep up with you now that you're on my radar. Thank you so much. You've lightened my heart.
    PS. Lene, the red tunic a-line sweater with embroidered cuffs. Is there a pattern for that? It is stunning and I also embroider a bit. (And now my curiosity is piqued with this twine knitting...)