Umeå from above

Mixed architecture

Apparently me and Markus have been engaged for 4 years now! 😀 In total we’ve been a couple for almost 9 years actually, so it’s been a long run.

Normally we don’t bother much with anniversaries. I understand and remember the excitement about the first couple of years, but after being together for almost a decade adding yet another year to the counter isn’t all that spectacular.

Although it should be, shouldn’t it?

Clearly we must be doing something right if we’ve managed to keep it up for this long, but that doesn’t mean we can just drop the ball and stop making an effort. Where’s the fun in that?

This year we decided to celebrate with a trip to the neighbouring city of Umeå, 2 hours south of here.

Umeå (pronounced you-me-oh) is the biggest city in north Sweden and so has a lot more entertainment to offer than our home town.

We drove down on Saturday morning and then spent the whole day strolling around town, doing some shopping and just generally having a good time.

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Golden eagle

Guys, I have to tell you about my Christmas gift from Markus… He gave me an “eagle safari”!

A professional wildlife photographer (Conny Lundström, his site is in English so check him out) has a cabin set up in a golden eagle territory a few hours inland from where we live, and Markus arranged for him to take us there to observe and photograph the eagles. We got to borrow cameras and objectives too, so we had real professional equipment to play with.

To avoid disturbing the wildlife we had to go out to the cabin before sunrise and stay until dark, which in north Sweden in January means from 7 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

Conny had put some fish on a field outside the cabin to attract the eagles, but of course that doesn’t guarantee any of them would show up. I was a little worried that spending the whole day in a cold little cabin might get boring if no animals showed up, but I had no reason to fear. During the day we saw 3 eagles, 2 foxes,

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Starting my first Day in the Life on a Monday in January must be the worst idea ever. Its like, the dullest type of day one can imagine. I should’ve done this on Saturday or something, but it is what it is now. 😛

Was a rather typical Monday here.

Got myself to work, answered emails, had a meeting, coded some. Markus was going to play board games with his friends tonight, so I’ve been having the evening to myself.

Imaginary Karin - office monitors

My workstation. 🙂 I always have a large sketchpad on my desk so I can make notes and doodle.

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I know Christmas has come and gone, but I have one little thing left of the holiday: I’ve received another Spooky Box! It actually came the day before Christmas, but I haven’t gotten ’round to photograph the items until now.

Sidenote: do you know how irritating it is to try taking decent photos when there’s NO natural light at all and all you got is regular ceiling lamps? Where I live it’s pitch black pretty much 24/7 right now… *grumble*

The Hexmas Box

Imaginary Karin - Spooky Box Hexmas

Imaginary Karin - Spooky Box Hexmas

This time the box was stuffed with purple paper strips and snowflake sequins! I love that even the packaging is part of the current theme. Makes the whole experience feel like someone put in a little extra effort, and I appreciate that. 🙂

And the money for this box goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Quite the mouthful, but a worthy and appropriate cause.

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Imaginary Karin - yule goat drawing

Despite the best efforts of pre-medieval evangelists, Scandinavian culture is still full of old pagan traditions. One of them is the Yule Goat, an old Christmas/Yule symbol.

There are many theories where it comes from, but its true origin is lost in history. In some traditions the goat is actually the one bringing presents to children instead of Santa, but I don’t think anyone follows that today. All I know is that it’s very common to have goat decorations up during Christmas, usually goat figures made of straw and wrapped in red ribbons.

And I’m still trying to figure out ProMarkers…

They feel rather unforgiving compared to coloured pencils, the thickness of the tips makes it difficult to be precise and add fine details. I also keep forgetting that I can’t vary the opacity just by changing the pressure on the paper. But at the same time that intensity of the colours is what drew me to ProMarkers in the first place. I just need to keep practising.

Maybe I should try working with bigger drawings? And try some more cartoonish styles,

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