I happened to be watching a Rick Steves show on Denmark and in the show they were describing a way of living that they had. It was called hyggelig (hoo.gl.ee). This hyggelig meant you always have a drink, some food, and at the very least a candle between you and your company. It meant feeling cozy at the very base translation of the word but actually much more, it was your surroundings without anything that would make you feel ill at ease or emotionally overwhelmed. It was actually the pursuit of serenity, of comfy, of homey, of anything that brought that warm fuzzy to your soul.

My jaw dropped at this Danish discovery of self. That one single word summed up the pursuit of my entire life. Hyggelig!!! This blog is about just that, all the things that make me feel hyggelig. My only hope is that they inspire you to find your own hyggelig too. Imagine a world full of hyggelig, just imagine...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life Changing Moments Captured In Chapters

my Grammy almost 90 years old and still utterly chic

My life chapter one...

For the first ten years of my life before we moved away to Europe I had my Grammy and my Grandma. Grammy was a chic cosmopolitan woman who lived in a very chic high rise apartment with poodles, all by herself. Her apartment, her car, and most definitely herself always smelled so amazingly delicious. It was like leather  mixed with dried baby rose potpourri, mixed with whatever perfume she was wearing. She was feisty and would stomp her foot at us when we'd hide all our room mess under the bed for the reward of the change in her chic little change purse of a clean room. She'd get all worked up and flash her dazzling blue eyes at us with her finger and say, "you little shits better clean this up right or else!", while me and my older sis would giggle and know we'd gotten Grammy all wound up. We knew she would reward us in the end after we'd done it right. She would speak to us in french and call us her little darlings. Oh, how I loved being called, "my little darling", how I loved her harmless temper, her delicious smell, her culture, her independence, but most of all I loved her chicness. This is a woman who never not once didn't have herself pulled together into perfection. Everything was thought of down to the glamorous nightgown with fancy robe and slippers to match she'd wear on visits. The way she chose just the perfect unique jewelry piece for her ensemble like the star on top of the christmas tree. She was my sophisticated Grammy and I absorbed every bit of her as much as I could. Sometimes there are those people in your lives that really shape you into who you become. I got my Grammy's DNA and I tried to absorb the rest.

On the other hand I had my Grandma, the quintessential definition of what comes to mind when you think of the word. She baked us birthday cakes and all sorts of the most delicious food made with love, she made us clothes and quilts, she took me and my older sis camping with her and Grandpa, she made sure we always had lots of handmade gifts for all our birthdays and christmas. She had patience and love and lots of cuddles and I loved the way their home always smelled of clean bleached laundry mixed with what was cooking up in the kitchen. In Grandma's sewing room there were stacks and stacks of fabric just waiting to be made into something. I would sneak in there just to admire and dazzle myself with the sight. Once Grandma caught me standing in there in her room that wasn't for little girls to be playing about in. She asked me, "what are you doing in here you know you aren't suppose to be playing in Grandma's sewing room?" I only answered in all honestly and told her I was just admiring all those lovely bits of fabric and oh how I wish when I'm older I'll have such a room just like hers to make all kinds of things with them just like she does. I thought I was gonna get shooed out of there with a warning not to go back in but something amazing happened instead. Grandma started gathering up a little bag of fabric scraps and trim remnants then she turned to me and said, "see what you can do with these." Oh, what joy! My very own fabric and trims and even some thread I think. I was never excited to return home but this time I was dying to get back to my barbie doll! She was gonna be my model and I her fashion designer and by the time I was home I knew exactly what each piece of fabric would be turned into.

I think I was barely four years old when this happened but it changed my life forever. All of a sudden I was giving the idea that I can make it. I can take what is in my mind and try to make it! After that I was a regular at the school library trying to teach myself all I could learn about about anything I wanted to teach myself to make. I spent happy hours all alone in  my room away from the craziness of the rest of the home immersed in my own wonderland of books, paper, fabric, glue, thread, and anything else I could scrounge up to design and create. I started making clothes for all my dolls and even for all my sisters dolls including my older sister's Mandy doll. If there wasn't a doll around to sew for I'd sew one up myself just so I could dress it. I had daydreams of becoming a fashion designer someday...

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