Wednesday, January 28, 2015

IF: Passion

This weeks theme on illustration forum Illustration Friday is Passion 

For me horses has been my big passion since I was a small girl. I started to ride in the local riding school in Vingåker when I was four years old and only wanted to ride the stables biggest horse, Swedish girl aka Flicka. I still remember the disappointment if I had to ride one of the small Shetlands ponies called Jolly and Polly. At 7 years old I got my first own pony/bestfriend, Ballerina, the cutest of the cutest welsh mountain ponies who stayed in the family for 17 years. Ballerina was just as novice as myself and so everything we learned we learned together. She had a heart of gold to say the least. After Ballerina came Mr Herbie, Pojken, Pikona och many more through the years. So I more or less grew up in the stable where we (big group of girls in the same age) did more but sometimes less horsey oriented activities. And every other weekend was spent at competitions. The passion for horses also took me out in the world. After I finished school I moved to Holland to work at an internationally well-known showjumping stable, Stal Tops and I stayed in the horsey world for some years. 

Today I don't have the chance to be around horses living in a big city and I actually don't feel that I have the need of it either at the moment, but everything has it time and one day I might be back in the saddle or at least stand on the side to give advice to our small girl. 

I don't draw horses too often and that is because as much as I have through the years practiced to draw them I have not improved one little bit. They still look just as bad as they did 15-20 years ago!! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Moscow farmers market - Danislovsky market

Loren who loves nice, fresh and natural groceries has done some great research about Moscow's supermarkets and farmers markets since we moved here. Danislovsky market is one of Moscow's oldest and biggest indoor markets and the best thing is that we only live 15 minutes away. Located on Mytnaya ul 74 with nearest metro station Tulskaya. Last Sunday Team Nikolovski did our premier exploration to this fresh products paradise. An explosion of colors from all the fruits and vegetables met us and the atmosphere was great. For me coming from Sweden this is very exotic as we don't have this kind of markets but also for Loren who has been living away from Macedonia for a long time. You can find more or less everything here not only fruit and veggies but also eggs, meat, fresh cheese and bread. Also babushkas selling homemade marmalade, jam, pickled vegetables and many other for me unknown products.

An Colombian restaurant and a couple of interesting café´s with fresh products and coffee smelling divine was located at the back of the market hall. We bought some nice stuff for dinner and we will for sure be back soon. The market is open every day until 21.00 so we can even come here instead of our normal weekly supermarket shopping. The prices are high as it is Moscow we live in and with the currency crisis food prices has increased a lot in very short time, however the market prices stands up pretty well compared to the supermarkets. Some products are cheaper and some are more expensive.  Loren has asked colleagues about controls of the products and they claim that it is very heavily controlled the origin and hygiene standard etc ( so this is what we want to believe )  A lot of the vegetables & fruits comes from Azerbaijan but also Turkey. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Family portraits

Most of my illustrations are based on myself, my family or other people around me and the scenarios are either self experienced or heard of. Lately I have been asked to draw family portraits. A great privileged mission which is fun, scary and challenging in a great mix. I want to capture the family ( without being able to make it photo like) as well as the surroundings to make it a fun identification of that specific family. I will put together a collage of my family portraits I have done but for now I start to present an illustration I made while I was in Sweden in October. A great friend of mine ordered a portrait of her sweet family. It was a fun mission to try to find artifacts and details that makes the illustration to fit them and who they are. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finally we made it to Red Square

One new year resolution was to make the most out that we are living in Moscow. It is a lot to see and explore in and around this big city and most of it is unknown to me. A must see places in Moscow is Red Square with it's famous cathedral (Saint Basil) building with its colorful tops. Team Nikolovski finally made it here last weekend.  It was a grey but not so cold day. The Christmas music, decoration and lights were still in full bloom which felt a big strange as I feel very done with Christmas for this year. Mila got to go on the old fashion carousel before we had some nice soup and coffee in a café close by.

Quick short facts 
  • 400 by 150 meters big square 
  • Established in 15th Century
  • Located in the heart of Moscow
  • On its four side of the square you find Kremlin, GUM department store, State Historical museum and St Basil cathedral (centers of government, commerce, history & religion) 
  • On the square you also find Lenin´s tomb a big grey granite mausoleum. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Get out through the door with a 2 year old can be pretty challenging!!

Yeah what to say?! Great inspiration to have a two year in the house indeed. Maybe one or two parents who recognizes the challenges of get out through the door. I hate winter and winter clothing. Please let it soon be spring ( we are expecting -22 in Moscow next week....)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Moscow adventures & and back in business

It has been so hard to update something on the blog since we moved. Not because I don't have illustrations, thoughts or ideas but because I have too many ideas and not enough energy and time to put pen to paper. But now it is a new year and with that comes new years resolutions and a feeling of a new start. Right?! Happy New Year 2015!

Team Nikolovski is back in Moscow after a long and relaxing winter vacation in Sweden (more about that in another post) Back in Moscow we have pretty wintery weather with snow but very mild so the snow is now as we speak turning into brown slosch very unpleasant for shoes and not so pretty. I never had chance to write about my first experience with Moscow and living here so here is a short summary of my thoughts before I moved connected to this illustration I made ages ago:
  • I was pretty scared of Russia and Moscow before I move here (maybe I still am, who knows!!) coming from Scandinavia where something bad is written in media everyday about Russia no wonder I had a rather negative view. Yes I admit I thought I would be shot on the street for no real reason when I first arrived a feeling that slowly going away.
  • I had a view of angry looking military dressed men walking up and down each street and believe it or not I have not even seen one just a few young men with no sense for fashion wearing military influenced trousers on the street. 
  • I thought that I would see spies standing reading newspapers and looking at me with suspicion in each street corner (like in the movies) I still haven't seen them but maybe because the mask that well.
  • I also thought I would see ladies in big fury coats or hats everywhere and yes this I was actually right on 

Moscow is big but I mean super big with its 12 million + inhabitants and that make it a very logistically hard place to live in. The people we have meet is actually nicer and more helpful then I thought. Parts of the city is communistic and ugly and other parts are fancy and modern. We do have food in the supermarkets despite the fact of the embargo. The food is pretty similar to Scandinavian cuisine so I can't say that I miss anything. Internet is fast and nothing is limited as I thought before I moved.

There you are a short introduction to Team Nikolovski's Moscow adventure and a new start for more frequent updates on the blog ( it would also be nice with a comment from you sometimes!!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mila approaching 2 and things to remember

I made this illustration some time ago before our little Mila turned 2 years old as memory of her current interests. She is developing so fast at the moment with her language it is new words and cool sentences everyday. I heard somewhere that they pick up 10 new words per day in this age. To illustrate some of them is a way for me to remember as it is so easy to forget cool stuff too fast.

So since this was illustrated a lot has happened so this is a recap of Mila in November 2014 mainly for me ( proud mother with short memory) so you are excused if you don't feel like reading this...

  • She is still constantly singing or asking us to sing rock a bye baby ( Check it out on youtube... It is a super extra boring lullabye song if you ask me!!!) she also put toys in something and swings them back and forth as she sings. If me or Loren are asked to be involved in this game she will for sure get upset (very upset with crocodile tears and throwing herself of the floor kind of upset..) with us as we are simply to stupid to understand how you rock a baby properly. Lately she also wants us to draw rock a bye baby every time we are drawing together (which is everyday...) Is there no end in the tunnel of this rock a bye baby interest?

  • A grey day in October she sat by the table and load and clear said "Jättegott" (very tasty) as she was eating my delicious dish spaghetti and butter, that made my day. Not sure if I was mostly impressed that she can said jättegott or if it was because she actually liked my spaghetti.

  • Since we came to Moscow from Sweden in November where we spent some time after we moved from Prague Mila has everyday ( hundred millions times a day in fact..) told us that the dog is not allowed to eat her sandwich, her porridge, her yoghurt, her cockie etc etc.
      "Inte macka vovvov! " "Inte kaka vovvo!!" So as much as she and Chili dog don't get a long obviously she cant stop thinking about her (typical hate love relationship I guess). Slowly after a month with this firm statements every two minutes she is giving up on the poor dog.

  • One day while we were in Stockholm. Mormor Mi (grandmother) was driving and I was sitting next to her and Mila in the back seat. From out of the blue Mila from her seat  asked for"Sushi namnanam!". As she is not a big eater I am not sure if we were more chocked over the fact that she asked for food or if it was that she specifically asked for sushi. We stopped at Mörby centrum and ordered a sushi take away for this very Japanese influenced two year old just in time for going and spend time with her again..

  • Mila has a crush on Christmas and Santa. One of her first word ages ago was "tomte" (santa clause) and if you ask what Santa says she says "Hohooooo". She has one book about Christmas but apart from that one I have no idea where her passion from Christmas has come from! When she found my box with Xmas decorations she was overwhelmed and started to hang decorations an every piece of furniture in the apartment. So I gave in and let her put up a Christmas tree ( Fejka from IKEA so no mess with needles on the floor) on first of December!! (gahaa I don't even like Christmas trees)  She spent hours on her own decorating the three and when she was done she was laying below enjoying her tree and has spent hours during December reorganizing her tree and laying below it. I have only helped with lights and financed some glitter and new decorations.

    She has also learned to sing a long to 4 different Christmas songs, it sounds soooo cute when she sings and I am sooooo proud that she can sing that I nearly fall of my chair :) 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thank you Prague and see you later!

And so I finally found my camera in all moving mess and can do a short update what has happened lately. Lets move back a bit. End of October Team Nikolovski said bye bye to beautiful Prague. We have really enjoyed our time and made Prague our home so it was very emotional to pack and leave. I think it is the place that was the hardest for me to leave. The size of the city is perfect, the beauty and it is a very comfortable way of living. But hardest was to say bye to our friends that we have made and that Mila has grown side by side with since she is born and they have really become great friends. We have had such a great play dates and lunches and will miss it a lot. We knew that we most probably was not going to stay in Prague but even so hard to leave when you feel nice and comfortable somewhere. Prague will always have a special place in our hearts and will always follow Mila in her passport, you never know maybe we will be back one day, but for now Thank you very much Prague for great years. And to all our friends please come and visit us in Moscow and/or Sweden!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Update is coming soon when I am done with all the boxes !!

Reusing this autumn illustration of me 
Team Nikolovski's adventures continuous and it has been a lot going on with moving from Prague to Moscow with a longer then planned stop in Vingåker, Sweden. Updates are coming very soon I promise!! While staying in Sweden a lot of creativity as a result of the limited access to internet but to show it I have to transfer creativity to computer ( not my favorite part of the process). Also I am drowning in boxes to unpack here in Moscow apartment. God damn it I am so super extra bored of unpacking boxes and trying to organize things as I want it. I know it is fun to make it nice and home but first Lundsätter and now here, is there an end to it? And I still can't find my stars and advent lights for this weekend.

Moscow has treated us well so far, but we are just getting use to the neighborhood really and UNPACKING BOXES.

I will be back soon with more moving details and moving thoughts.

Mila and neighbour cat at Lundsätter on of many grey November days 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prague Zoo crossed of the to-do-list

Not far before Team Nikolovski is moving from Prague. Me and Mila is squeezing the last out of these days with great friends. On our to do list before leaving Prague was of course to visit the zoo. Together with Miki and Lisa we had a great visit this morning. Autumn grey but not so cold day. We managed to time lunch during a shower of rain.  Mila was mostly impressed by a muddy water puddle she found next to the elephants but gorillas was pretty fun also. I was super impressed by pappa gorilla, such a big animal. Also I liked the polar bear who was having a great swimming show for us. Prague zoo is cute, tidy and well organized. I can highly recommend a visit here. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bedtime mood graph with a 22 month

To get little M to sleep has lately been a struggle ( read nightmare) and I am going insane!! I am not proud of my lack of mood control and I know she is not not sleeping by purpose, but MY GOD she drives me crazy. I mean which human being would keep calm during endless bedtime? Or is it just me ?
First tired happy to go to bed then it starts waving arms and legs, need of water (ever 5 minutes) and after a while she says "namnamna" hungry (even though she has already had big porridge and sandwich just before bed) Please let this phase pass asap or else I will go totally insane !!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Feels like coming home!

Good Monday morning!!
I moved my blog to my webpage on wordpress and I have really tried to feel at home there, but I just can't get use to that environment so I am back here at Blogger. I hope my inspiration and more frequent updates will return now when I am back "home". 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Swedes abroad on Sweden

On a Facebook page for Swedes living abroad I found the greatest inspiration to a collection of illustrations about Sweden. 198 comments (gold mine) about how we Swedes living abroad see Sweden and Swedishness. My creative jumped up and did a high five with itself (?!) and out came 6 illustrations about my favorite observations from Sweden that I recognize and that I have been thinking to myself that maybe it is just me.. But obviously it is not just me, sooo many more  also see this weird things even though we love Sweden ( for a week or two)
If you are Swede living in Sweden you can jump down to the last one because you will most probably not agree or understand the other once ( no offense) If you do read them anyways and think to yourself that I am not fair and don't have the right picture, that is ok and also typical Swedish.

Jag fann fantastisk inspiration på Facebook i ett forum för Svenskar bosatta utomlands. En tråd full av observationer ( 198 kommentarer!!!) som vi utlandssvenskar gjort när vi varit hemma i Sverige på semester. Den höga igenkänningsfaktorn fick mig att skratta och min kreativitet att hoppa högt. Det finns fler som ser vad jag har sett tänkte jag medan jag tecknade några ut av mina favorit svenska konstigheter. Är du svensk boende i Sverige känner du förmodligen inte alls igen bilden av Sverige mer än möjligtvis den första och sista bilden. Det är ok att du tycker att jag har helt fel bild, det är helt normal del av din svenskhet..

Jag spar Allsång på Skansen, Systembolaget, ny vecka ny diet & bubbelvatten i miljoner konsgjorda smaker till senare tillfälle. Förhoppningsvis kommer några av illustrationerna att publiceras senare i år i ett samarbete med en svensk/internationell projekt.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Coming home with new words

Mila turned 1 year & a half while we were in Sweden. I can't believe how fast this year and a half has past. It is amazing to see this little girl grow and see all her new skills and funny ideas. During our stay in Sweden her linguistic skills burst out in bloom and all the blabla start to make more and more sense and formed more cute little words . This is a mammas proud memory post about her new words.
Mila is already a big Pippi Longstocking fan and she is saying Pippi in the cutest way and wants to listen to Pippi song all the time. Ko (cow), kaka ( cookie) & boll ( ball) is also new words frequently used .

But maybe her most important and useful word is mormor (grandmother) which is making her grandmother extra super proud. She wakes up asking for mamma, pappa & now mormor.

And aunty Sofie she calls Bee

Monday, June 30, 2014

Midsummer summary

Team Nikolovski is back from a great week in Sweden. Midsummer time is amazing with the light nights and it is easy to loose track of times ( read remember to put Mila in bed and to feed her in decent time..)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Playcorner for small girl

I have taken great pride in organizing Mila's own corner. Millions of books, cuddle toys & plastic things. On the wall she has mamma's illustrations and mammamade pocket organizer as well as cute french dresses. I have also bought nice wooden boxes that I am having fun painting and decorating.
It is cute that she has her own little space and she likes to play here although most of the time she transfer toys from her corner to the living room or actually spreads them out in the whole apartment.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Heading off to celebrate Midsummer 2014

Team Nikolovski is packing. 
We are heading to Sweden tomorrow to celebrate Swedish midsummer
We will head to Lundsätter to stay with my dad and to breath some quit forest air. 
Midsummer eve ( always third Friday in June) we are heading to my mothers summer place where preparations for midsummer started half a year ago. 
We are a pretty big gang and we have already received roles, responsibilities and a detailed schedule for the day.

This is a summary of how our day will look like!
Collect flowers for the maypole, make the maypole, Eat herring lunch & strawberry cake and sing snaps songs and drink snaps. Dance around the maypole, Midsummer Olympics with 6 different competitions, BBQ, Campfire, sauna and swim in freezing lake & at midnight hotdogs. After this we will sleep very very well I am sure!!

If you want to know more about Swedish midsummer here is a fun video for dummies!!  

Swedish Midsummer for Dummies 

 And why we celebrate Midsummer, well I guess it is because it is the longest day and the sun don't even set up north of Sweden. Where we are it will set just to rise up again. After midsummer we are heading towards darker times again, but lets not think of that now!

Happy Midsummer// Glad Midsommar!!