Life of Johanna

A milestone

Monday, July 18, 2011Johanna / 9 kommentarer
This Saturday I did something I have never done before - I ran 10 kilometers. I took it really easy and it was only the last kilometer (which was very hilly) that I felt truly exhausted. All in all the run was really joyful, on a dirt track in a beautiful forest and ended up taking me 70 minutes. The actual 10k race is in late August and I guess I am ready now. However I did expect to feel a tad bit more excited, since this is a huge accomplishment for me - I was the chubby child that always came last in school runs and couldn't even muster a 2k run without stopping several times. I can still remember the feeling of sandpaper in my throat and a heart that felt like it was going to explode.

But I think I have been so into training and chasing times lately that I haven't really put things in perspective. I have tendency to get single minded about things and now I have this goal of keeping a speed that is less than 6 min per km. I know for many this is easy, but speed is so not my thing. Even my 9 year old daughter can sprint faster than I do, and she hardly exercise at all. I think I need to remind myself that while I am not naturally athletic I do make gains. And I feel proud that I have been so consistent - running twice a week every week since the beginning of May, increasing the distances and speed slightly every week. 

That said, I know I will be a little disappointed if I can't finish the race in less than an hour, so hopefully I'll be able to get a little quicker even though training will be sparse in Croatia. Though I'm going to bring my running shoes and heat permitting I'll try to crank out a few runs at least. The <60 min run is still on the horizon.

A trip to Malmö

Saturday, July 16, 2011Johanna / 1 kommentarer

Me and my daughters spent the first part of the week in Malmö, visiting friends. It's a friendship with special ties. When my eldest daughter Stella was in kindergarten she befriended a girl and soon me and my now ex-husband became friends with her parents. And then we both had a second child who also became friends. Sad for us, but good for them, they moved to another city. But we have remained in close contact and visit each other as life permits. We have been through a lot together, some wonderful things and some less so, like separations. Another twist where our lives intertwined was when the mother 30 and threw a big birthday bash, which was when I fell in love with her friend who is the man I now share my life with. 

I have moved a lot, both as a child and in my 20's, and I've had difficulties maintaining many of relationships that I have formed over the years. Therefore I'm very grateful for my special friends in Malmö, which feels more like an extended family really. And it always warms my heart to see what a natural friendship the kids still have with each other. Even with the littlest one who turns one in a few weeks.  
outfit Shopping

French Connection shorts

Friday, July 15, 2011Johanna / 3 kommentarer

Sometimes I find things in stores that I know I will never be able to replicate or make better. Like these shorts from French Connection. The print, the fit, the subtle piping and the long rows of fabric covered buttons make this such a precious garment, almost reminiscent of something you could find in a vintage shop. They were pricey, so I mulled for a long while in the store and in the fitting room, even toying with the idea to recreate them at home, but then I realized that they are truly unique and not something that I would easily be able to make myself. So I gave in and forked up a good amount of cash, and I'm glad I did - they now seem to be out of stock, at least on the website (though you can still get a playsuit in the same fabric), I bought mine in a store in Stockholm. I am not a shorts person at all, I prefer skirts in the summer - in fact these are the first ones that I have really liked. Perfect for next week when we are travelling to Croatia.

Shorts: French Connection
Top: Mango (BTW I love this top, wear it all the time) 
Made by me

Burda workout top

Thursday, July 14, 2011Johanna / 6 kommentarer

What a quick project this was, I actually finished the top the same day that I blogged about starting it. Then I went away to visit friends in Malmö for a few days. But now I'm back and today I managed to both take some photos and go to the gym in said top. I thought it was okay when I finished it, but now after wearing for a large part of the day, I can safely say that I love it. A bit looser fitting than my usual preference and not something I would wear when running or doing stuff like Zumba, but great for a weight workout or just as plain lounge wear.  

A lot of top stitching as you can see, but I like it, both doing it and how it looks. I also did a review of the pattern if you want to know more details. Unfortunately the pattern doesn't seem available on any Burda site. I do wish they would make a bigger archive with downloads. As sdBev said in the comment section, many Burda designs looks very current even though they are from a few years back. This one is from 2008. Oh and the neckline is raised quite a bit, which I am very happy that I did.

Straight from the kitchen

Sunday, July 10, 2011Johanna / 7 kommentarer

The summer holliday is finally here! I'm on the second day and have decided that my workout wardrobe needs an update. So I picked up an old Burda magazine issue (nr 11/2008 to be precise) and got started on a top. Am working on the kitchen floor today, everyone is home so I had to carve out a little space for myself, where I could also watch Tour de France. I used to be quite a fan and the tour also coincides with my holiday mostly, but the novelty has worn off a bit, plus you kind of loose interest when so many top racers get busted for performance drug use. But lately I've started to miss having the racing humming in the background and this year there is no clear winner, which will make it even more interesting. 

Anyways back to the pattern. I will pretty much do it as is, but raising the neckline a bit, this one is seriously low. I do have a high cut sports bra, so that will cover some, but I don't want the whole bra to show through!
Fashionable movies

Movies worth waiting for

Wednesday, July 06, 2011Johanna / 3 kommentarer
My current fashion movie obsessions that I'll probably have to wait quite a while before I can see them.

The new documentary about street/celebrity photographer Bill Cunningham.

The movie about legendary fashion designer Halston - Ultrasuede: In search of Halston

And finally the Vidal Sassoon documentary, the story of the hair dresser behind several iconic hair cuts and a big saloon and product empire sounds intriguing. This one is at least available for pre order.

We don't have something like Netflix here in Sweden and we can hardly buy anything with moving pictures from the Apple store, due to regional distributions limits. So all I can do is wait. 

This and that

Tuesday, July 05, 2011Johanna / 2 kommentarer
I added a review of the dress, ahem blouse, today. You can read it here. Apparently others have also noted the tight fit of the waistband, and it might even be so that it is made too short, i.e. a pattern error. As for the mishap, I do feel a slight need to remedy my mistake and will probably make another proper version soon. But I will definitely wear the blouse, it works with pretty much everything luckily!

Also dear reader Gail asked about the Burda twist top, it is from an ancient issue of Burda magazine (2005). From what I know they have never made this available as a standalone pattern, and I don't have the original pattern myself, just a traced version since I borrowed the magazine from the library. The proper name is 04-2005-112 Twist Top. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can help with how to obtain this coveted pattern? Or have suggestions on good substitutes. I would like to know this myself as my traced pattern is near disintegration state!

Made by me

Once this was a dress

Monday, July 04, 2011Johanna / 8 kommentarer


In Sweden we have an old folktale about a man who visits a tailor with a piece of fabric. He asks the tailor for a coat, and the tailors says "no problem". But when the man returns he is greeted with the news that the coat never happened, instead the fabric became a pair of pants. But the pants are not finished so the man is told to return again on Saturday. But when he comes back he finds out that the pants are now a waist coat, and so the story continues, until the only thing that is left is nothing. 

This tale was something I thought a lot about during my making of the Cynthia Rowley dress. Yes it was meant to be a dress, but during some late night sewing I ended up cutting the back skirt piece, not once, but several times, as I thought it was the remaint. And I had no extra of this precious fabric, so I tried using another fabric for the skirt, which didn't work and then I decided to turn the dress into a blouse. Not ideal, because this is not what I had planned, but for a top I think it looks nice.

As for the pattern I plan to write a review on Pattern review tomorrow, but to sum it up - I really like the style and it is easy to assemble. A few things worth noting though: Firstly this pattern is very fitted and runs really true to size. I made a size 12 and my waist is 2 cm (4/5 inches) bigger than the pattern size, and I have to tell you that the fit is pretty snug. If I do this pattern again I need to adjust the waist a bit. Another thing is that the gathers in the front adds a lot of volume in the bust area. Personally I love it, suddenly my slight A/B cup looks like a C. But for someone with a fuller bust, this might perhaps be something that is less desirable?

As I mentioned in a previous post I did this "dress" as something of a treat. I have had a lot of bacne since I was a teenager and tried several prescription treatments with dismal results. But since late March of this year I have been using AHA and BHA acids, both as peels and lotions, and while I still got some zits, the majority of the bacne is now gone. I still have pigment spots but they will fade over time. And as for the scars, they are not that prominent, so I feel okay about them.

My back after three months of glycolic and salicylic acid treatments. Still pigment spots and some scars, but hardly any acne.