Ísland

I am a little late in getting this post together, but here is Iceland from my visit in late July. xo

Flying over Greenland means we are almost there

Flying over Greenland means we are almost there

Elf houses

Elf houses

Icelandic horses near Esja 

Icelandic horses near Esja 

Kerið Crater, Iceland

Kerið Crater, Iceland

Aurora and Clementine at Gullfoss, with so many tourists we had to block the waterfall to get a picture of just these two!

Aurora and Clementine at Gullfoss, with so many tourists we had to block the waterfall to get a picture of just these two!

Scrapped fishing boat in Þorlákshöfn  

Scrapped fishing boat in Þorlákshöfn  

The new high school in Mosfellsbær. Gorgeous design and architecture are an everyday thing here.

The new high school in Mosfellsbær. Gorgeous design and architecture are an everyday thing here.

My daily coffee and kókósmjólk date

My daily coffee and kókósmjólk date

Hallgrímskirkja, famous church in downtown Reykjavík. And too many tourists! 

Hallgrímskirkja, famous church in downtown Reykjavík. And too many tourists! 

Bus stop in downtown Reykjavík  

Bus stop in downtown Reykjavík  

The famous hot dog stand by the sea, Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur

The famous hot dog stand by the sea, Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur

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Harpa, the stunning concert hall in downtown Reykjavík, with walls made of honeycomb glass.

(For scale)

(For scale)

Vala, in old downtown Reykjavík  

Vala, in old downtown Reykjavík  

Clementine, with one of my grandfather's paintings

Clementine, with one of my grandfather's paintings

Alafoss, the famous yarn shop where I buy all of the Lopi yarn I use for my hand knit bunnies.

Alafoss, the famous yarn shop where I buy all of the Lopi yarn I use for my hand knit bunnies.

Only Clementine lol

Only Clementine lol

Viggó, Krummi and Ársol/Cousins

Viggó, Krummi and Ársol/Cousins

More cousins, outside my grandfather's art studio, in Mosfellsbær...

More cousins, outside my grandfather's art studio, in Mosfellsbær...

And a lot more cousins in Kopavogur...

And a lot more cousins in Kopavogur...

And ofcourse, Sverrir too. Cousins. xo

And ofcourse, Sverrir too. Cousins. xo

2017 part 1

woodcarving x 3

viggo in Barrio Anita, (where I grew up) + Frank's restaurant + Karamelo King

knitted bunnies x 3 

tiny paintings

 

reading - Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav (authentic power and eternity) and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins (motivation).  

enjoying locally - Karamelo King (Hass tacos!) and Frank's Diner (any breakfast).

watching - The Sopranos, finally. And it's the best television I've ever seen. 

travelling - to Iceland to see my family. Pics to come, next post!  

 

xo Maja

 

 

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February 2016 (+2015)

A year of: 

Daily struggles and little triumphs.  Of gratitude and surrender, (to each day and what it brings).  And of endless prayer, (that I can learn to love better...through my scattered fears, through the overwhelming beauty, through the grind of this modern parenting/job having life). 

-Woodcarving + woodworking (kept me distracted in the best way, in the way that only working with your hands can)

-Making puzzles again, playing with a new color palette. 

-5 Points Market,  gracious enough to have my work on their walls for this winter.  (Thank you, Jasper. xo)

-My old studio, missing everything about it except the heat in the summertime.  But grateful that I can now work at home,  painting and woodworking.

-Listening, mostly to nothing new...old rock and roll...CCR, Van Morrison, Paul Simon and such.

-Reading, The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, (a brilliant book about developmental trauma and all that we can do for ourselves and others to recover from it)

xo Maja

 

 

Sketch to start

Sketch to start

Carving

Carving

Finished

Finished

Carving

Carving

Painted and varnished

Painted and varnished

Horse Carving

Horse Carving

New Hand-painted Wood Pig Puzzle 

New Hand-painted Wood Pig Puzzle 

Backside of puzzle pieces

Backside of puzzle pieces

New Hand-painted Wood Circus Elephant Puzzle

New Hand-painted Wood Circus Elephant Puzzle

Letters and Numbers

Letters and Numbers

Good read...

Good read...

Viggo + Hendrix, playing with stone carved blocks, made by my father

Viggo + Hendrix, playing with stone carved blocks, made by my father

Viggo. last summer, at our favorite snow cone shop, Oasis Raspados.

Viggo. last summer, at our favorite snow cone shop, Oasis Raspados.

Viggo's crew 

Viggo's crew 

Last year's studio

Last year's studio

Hand-carved frames, ready for mirrors. 

Hand-carved frames, ready for mirrors. 

Viggo + friends, at 5 Points Market

Viggo + friends, at 5 Points Market

  

October 2014

It's mostly me and Viggo these days, as the girls are always busy.  I am back in my studio, painting and carving frames. We now know that we are moving in November, so we are soaking up our last few weeks on La Cienega and, unloading whatever possessions we don't need to make this move a little easier.

Still a little sad about this move, but mostly grateful.  A fresh start, in beautiful weather, with my family...it will be our little tiny adventure.

xo Maja

 

Listening to...  Shovels & Rope / Swimmin' Time (album) + Aretha Franklin / Baby, Baby, Baby (track)

Cooking...  pumpkin bread + fresh pico de gallo 

Enjoying Locally...  Upper Crust Pizza + Anita St. Market (tortillas + empanadas) 

Morning palate

Morning palate

Afternoon palate

Afternoon palate

Making pumpkin bread

Making pumpkin bread

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Viggo, at Upper Crust, our favorite pizza joint

Viggo, at Upper Crust, our favorite pizza joint

We've been hanging out like this, in this spot, since he was born.  I'm soaking up these snuggles...he's getting awfully big.

We've been hanging out like this, in this spot, since he was born.  I'm soaking up these snuggles...he's getting awfully big.

the latest

the latest

My first wholesale order.  Small but mighty.

My first wholesale order.  Small but mighty.

Viggo's favorite stop when he's at his Amma's house

Viggo's favorite stop when he's at his Amma's house

Running errands...he keeps it interesting

Running errands...he keeps it interesting

Cabbage and Pico de Gallo for tacos

Cabbage and Pico de Gallo for tacos

Boyhood

Boyhood

August 2014

The light is changing, the days are just a bit shorter, and even in the hottest part of the day, the sun does not bear down with quite as much strength. Monsoon storms are coming and going. Fall is around the corner...enjoying the last quiet days of a Tucson summer, before the city wakes up and we are all hustling and bustling again.

 xo Maja

 

Listening to:  Billie Holiday / Solitude (album) + Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers / Gospel (album)

Cooking: Caldo de Queso / Limeade

Enjoying Locally:  Joel D. Valdez Main Library / El Guero Canelo / Food CitySun Link Streetcar (finally!)

Riding the Tucson Streetcar

Riding the Tucson Streetcar

Viggo's view from the streetcar window

Viggo's view from the streetcar window

Viggo's favorite Tucson library

Viggo's favorite Tucson library

Home from the library, drawing ocean dinosaurs

Home from the library, drawing ocean dinosaurs

Paletitas from Food City

Paletitas from Food City

Making Caldo De Queso

Making Caldo De Queso

The best and the cheapest produce (Food City!)

The best and the cheapest produce (Food City!)

El Guero Canelo.  Sonoran Hot Dogs / Caramelos /  Mexican Coke.

El Guero Canelo.  Sonoran Hot Dogs / Caramelos /  Mexican Coke.

July 2014

Mucking our way through these summer days...lucky enough to get away to California this month. School starts in a couple of weeks and then I'll be back to work in my studio. Cannot wait.  

Come see me and the ladies of MAST at the MAST Boutique on Sunday, July 27th, for a Meet the Maker event to celebrate the Streetcar Opening.  Hope to see you there!

 

Listening to...Aloe Blacc / Good Things (album) + Mapei / Don't Wait (track)

Knitting...with a new shipment of AlafossLopi and LettLopi from Mossfellsbaer, Iceland

Road Tripping...to San Clemente, CA

Cooking...Albondigas & Blueberry Pie

Enjoying locally...The B Line on 4th Ave. 

 

xo Maja

Hitting the road

Hitting the road

Rest stop in Gila Bend

Rest stop in Gila Bend

Road knitting

Road knitting

Clementine, Ruby & Ruby in San Clemente, CA

Clementine, Ruby & Ruby in San Clemente, CA

Viggo's first football game

Viggo's first football game

Viggo and Mikey at the San Mateo Campground

Viggo and Mikey at the San Mateo Campground

Viggo hanging with the big kids

Viggo hanging with the big kids

Last morning by the ocean

Last morning by the ocean

Back home, time to recover with homemade soup

Back home, time to recover with homemade soup

Meatballs for the Albondigas

Meatballs for the Albondigas

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June 2014

Quoting..."The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." 

Keeping...this quote written on a piece of paper in my pocket these days.   Setting new goals, trying not to look back, (looking forward with determination and faith), one day at a time.

Listening to...Jason Isbell / Southeastern (album) +  Sturgill Simpson / Some Days (track)

Sketching...with Lyra pencils (my favorite) from Sarnoff 

Cooking...black beans and rice / bacon (always) / banana bread

Road tripping......with Clementine to Flagstaff, AZ 

Enjoying local...Aqua Vita water, the neighborhood pool, downtown Tucson, and hanging in the backyard when the sun goes down.  

xo Maja

 

Downtown Tucson with my mama, Clementine and my nephew, Trevor.

Downtown Tucson with my mama, Clementine and my nephew, Trevor.


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Daily sketches and psalms

Daily sketches and psalms

Clementine in Flagstaff

Clementine in Flagstaff

Latest bunnies in the shop. .

Latest bunnies in the shop.

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Viggo, taking care of business at Aqua Vita

Viggo, taking care of business at Aqua Vita

Finally learned to swim!

Finally learned to swim!

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Black beans...boiled with with one medium onion, chopped and sauteed, and one jalapeno, seeded.

Black beans...boiled with with one medium onion, chopped and sauteed, and one jalapeno, seeded.

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May 2014

 

I have been rooted in this house, our home, for thirteen years. With all my babies...and the light, happiness, and troublemaking they bring. But it looks like we will be moving soon. Hoping that our next stop will be as cozy as this one and making sure to enjoy one last summer in this little house. And in the end, making God's heart my home, wherever we may be.

 

xo Maja

 

Viggo, making French crepes

Viggo, making French crepes

Our first Spring chick from our little Bantam hen, one day old

Our first Spring chick from our little Bantam hen, one day old

Viggo, doing "workies" with his Mama

Viggo, doing "workies" with his Mama

Annie and the hens 

Annie and the hens 

Little Houses by Tin Maja

Little Houses by Tin Maja

Little Dove and Sailboat paintings by Tin Maja

Little Dove and Sailboat paintings by Tin Maja

Packing up knitted bunny orders  

Packing up knitted bunny orders  

Clementine at the Sarabande Riding Club Awards Night

Clementine at the Sarabande Riding Club Awards Night

Mother's Day at 5 Points Market.  Looks more like Viggo's Day...

Mother's Day at 5 Points Market.  Looks more like Viggo's Day...

Cousins on Mother's Day

Cousins on Mother's Day

R + C, my brown-eyed girls.

R + C, my brown-eyed girls.






April 2014

Changes are coming our way but trying still to live "one day at a time".  Praying for direction and patience. And looking for the adventure amidst the challenges. xo 

"Touch me God, with your hands.  Paint my heart the color of yours, and plant your dreams above my head so that you can keep me close and send me out to do all good things. Amen"  

 

 

 

 

Spent a day with Clementine in Sonoita, Arizona at the Grass Ridge Derby.

Spent a day with Clementine in Sonoita, Arizona at the Grass Ridge Derby.

Clementine, tacking up Pedro 

Clementine, tacking up Pedro 

Waiting for the start

Waiting for the start

Found this little painting while cleaning out the girl's closets.  I wrote and painted this, years ago, before I became a wife and mother. 

Found this little painting while cleaning out the girl's closets.  I wrote and painted this, years ago, before I became a wife and mother. 

Viggo's portraits of Spider-man and Jesus. I love these so much...  

Viggo's portraits of Spider-man and Jesus. I love these so much...

 

Metta made Viggo's favorite cookies at Tooley's

Metta made Viggo's favorite cookies at Tooley's

Viggo Baggins. The soundtrack to The Desolation of Smaug was playing in the background...

Viggo Baggins. The soundtrack to The Desolation of Smaug was playing in the background...

Chores

Chores

Spring Tin available at La Cabana in the Mercado San Agustin

Spring Tin available at La Cabana in the Mercado San Agustin

Baby Knit Bunnies, made to order or available in MAST boutique

Baby Knit Bunnies, made to order or available in MAST boutique

Ruby and her friends at Oasis Fruit Cones in Barrio Hollywood.  

Ruby and her friends at Oasis Fruit Cones in Barrio Hollywood.  

March 2014

 

My latest attempt at a simple, handmade life.  Not shown: crazy carpool, messy corners, lazy dinner fixin's, grumpy mom.  I'm reaching for it anyway :)

xo Maja

 

 

Viggo and our new little cattle dog, Annie.

Viggo and our new little cattle dog, Annie.

local juice

local juice

spring time bunnies

spring time bunnies

Ruby & Viggo

Ruby & Viggo

Little House Painting

Little House Painting

New Lego catalog at Tooley's #glued

New Lego catalog at Tooley's #glued

Viggo's little bed, handmade by his grandfather

Viggo's little bed, handmade by his grandfather

Clementine and her birthday puppy, Annie. We are all in love!

Clementine and her birthday puppy, Annie. We are all in love!

Viggo, at the sk8 shop, but eyeballing his favorite place to play across the street: Playformance

Viggo, at the sk8 shop, but eyeballing his favorite place to play across the street: Playformance

shipping out...

shipping out...

Sunday

Sunday

Viggo wants to be on Ruby's bball team

Viggo wants to be on Ruby's bball team

A little bit of our story....

We are not a family who travels together very often (although we would really like to be), we rarely have the money.  We are not a family who spends weekends at the mall (much to Ruby's dismay) or even at the movies...all of that costs too much and it is not in our budget. We live in a small house with an upside-down mortgage. We have a ton of expenses, like most families I know.  

My kids are very familiar with the words "broke", "bills", or "maybe on payday".  It's not that we are poor, not by any means!  But the money comes in and goes right out again. So...we have to fight for a beautiful, adventurous life right here at home, in our little house, in our backyard, sometimes at a nearby little horse barn or at the neighborhood pool.  It's a simple life, and even if this has taken me a while to come to terms with, for now, our journey is here...at home. 

Viggo, helping his Mama make his favorite...pumpkin pie.

Viggo, helping his Mama make his favorite...pumpkin pie.

  

Sunday morning biscuits

Sunday morning biscuits

Clementine and Pedro at the little barn

Clementine and Pedro at the little barn

Ready for an afternoon, riding with friends

Ready for an afternoon, riding with friends

Me & My Ruby

Me & My Ruby

Knitting one of my bunnies AND cooking dinner in my backyard.  My favorite way to cook this time of year.

Knitting one of my bunnies AND cooking dinner in my backyard.  My favorite way to cook this time of year.

Did I tell you that I like to knit? lol

Did I tell you that I like to knit? lol

Big and small, but always made with Icelandic wool.

Big and small, but always made with Icelandic wool.

Visiting Papa at the station on Christmas. 

Visiting Papa at the station on Christmas. 

Lunch at Tooley's

Lunch at Tooley's

 

 

Fall Production

October is my favorite month of the year in Tucson; the worst of the heat has definitely passed, the city is buzzing again and it is time to organize what I have been making all summer, and get ready for the busy selling season. I managed to get quite a bit done this summer.  And a new BIG project is now parked in my backyard...an adorable food truck we picked up for my sister that we are slowly fixing up. 

Fall in Tucson...time to come out of hibernation and remember why we live here. xo

Been really busy making striped bunnies with Kambgarn yarn from Iceland.    Now that it has cooled off a bit, I'll be adding some more Lopi bunnies, too. 

Been really busy making striped bunnies with Kambgarn yarn from Iceland.    Now that it has cooled off a bit, I'll be adding some more Lopi bunnies, too. 

New Sailboat Painting in Blue

New Sailboat Painting in Blue

The first batch of Tin Maja Ornaments for the holiday season.  Each and everyone of these is cut, punched and wired by hand.  100% handmade. 

The first batch of Tin Maja Ornaments for the holiday season.  Each and everyone of these is cut, punched and wired by hand.  100% handmade. 

Packaging ideas...love when the dollar aisle at Target adds just the right touch, (polka dot craft paper).  I think I'm going to buy every roll of this that I can find.

Packaging ideas...love when the dollar aisle at Target adds just the right touch, (polka dot craft paper).  I think I'm going to buy every roll of this that I can find.

Viggo, and his little bantam rooster named Tricky.  This might be my favorite picture...ever.

Viggo, and his little bantam rooster named Tricky.  This might be my favorite picture...ever.

Lego battles at Time Market. Trying to enjoy every moment of Viggo's last year of not being in school, full-time.  I remember with my daughters, how much our schedule changed once they entered kindergarten. I also remember, suddenly being able to get a lot more done! But these little ones grow up so fast,  so we're hitting all of our favorite spots as often as possible.  

Lego battles at Time Market. Trying to enjoy every moment of Viggo's last year of not being in school, full-time.  I remember with my daughters, how much our schedule changed once they entered kindergarten. I also remember, suddenly being able to get a lot more done! But these little ones grow up so fast,  so we're hitting all of our favorite spots as often as possible.  

  A new wood block puzzle...more wood, less paint.

  A new wood block puzzle...more wood, less paint.

Get ready Tucson...for the best coffee truck in town...with the best pastries and cookies made by my sister. (but sorry, no crazy, magic tacos...I think we better start with a paint job.)

Get ready Tucson...for the best coffee truck in town...with the best pastries and cookies made by my sister. (but sorry, no crazy, magic tacos...I think we better start with a paint job.)

Lopi, defined...

Realizing that there might not be very many people (knitters and non-knitters alike),  who are very familiar with Icelandic lopi yarn, and being that it has become my favorite yarn as of late, I have decided to offer a little more information about this yarn.

Traditional Lopi yarn is fleeced from Icelandic sheep.  The name "lopi" comes from the word "unspun wool". The yarn consists of two layers of the Icelandic sheep's unique wool; one layer of short hair and one layer of longer, softer hair. Lopi is considered to be a lightly processed yarn.  Although it is available in a variety of incredible colors (dyed), natural lopi comes in a range of browns, from cream to dark brown.  

Lopi does have a reputation for being the itchiest yarn in the world. And yes, as I grew up in Arizona, trying desperately to wear the beautiful Lopapeysur (traditional Icelandic sweaters) that my relatives sent me, waiting for the coldest day of the year....only to have to scramble out of it by 9 am for fear that I might break out in some sort of rash, I can see why.  On the other hand, lopi is also known as one of the warmest yarns in the world. This is often proven by the fact, that on the coldest evenings in Reykjavik, you will still find many people out and about in their traditional lopi hats and sweaters, perfectly comfortable.  In addition to being warm, lopi is also known for being lightweight, yet waterproof.  Being that warm and waterproof are not qualities we often need out of our desert attire, I have yet to knit any lopi sweaters. But I have really enjoyed making my stuffed animals out of it and plan to make many more.

Here are some additional links about Lopi:  

Knitter's Review 

Alafoss

One of my favorite colors of Lopi

One of my favorite colors of Lopi

Lopi, found locally...

I recently visited my favorite local yarn shop, Kiwi Knitting, for some knitting supplies and, much to my surprise, the owner had just ordered some AlafossLopi yarn from Iceland.  She only had one color, a beautiful light brown, but I bought two skeins; enough to make another bunny.  

Lopi Bunnies

Lopi Bunnies

Viggo demonstrating just how big these Lopi bunnies are.

Viggo demonstrating just how big these Lopi bunnies are.

Big Lopi Bunny

My cousin, Vala, recently came in to town from Reykjavik, Iceland and brought a few skeins of Lopi yarn that I had never used before.  It is called AlafossLopi, and yes, it is the itchy kind that Icelandic sheep are so famous for producing but I decided to make one of my bunnies out of it anyway. The yarn was just too beautiful not to.  Besides, Vala informed me that Lopi yarn can be softened up quite a bit with a warm wash in the gentle cycle.  With this in mind, I began my project.

The yarn...

The yarn...

Almost done, one ear to go, then into the gentle cycle.

Almost done, one ear to go, then into the gentle cycle.

I couldn't wait to wash this bunny. Washing and pressing hand-knit projects is very common in Iceland. Most projects are not considered finished until they have at least been pressed.  And I could not wait to see just how much this yarn would soften up.

After the wash...even softer (and bigger!) than I had hoped for...soft enough (and big enough!) to snuggle with.

After the wash...even softer (and bigger!) than I had hoped for...soft enough (and big enough!) to snuggle with.

I am thrilled with the end result of this project...Vala was right, washing the Lopi made all the difference. Although this bunny is not quite as soft as my Kambgarn bunnies, it is much, much softer after washing.  I adore the look and feel of this yarn and I love that the bunny is significantly bigger. I will be placing an order of AlafossLopi, straight away.

The size difference. (Left: Lopi, Right: Kambgarn)

The size difference. (Left: Lopi, Right: Kambgarn)

The Lopi bunny will be available on my Etsy page this afternoon.  P.S.  I am offering free shipping on all my bunnies, now through the end of March.  Just enter the code "bunny77" in the coupon code box when you check out.

Ready for Etsy

I finished these two bunnies on Monday. The grey bunny is a custom order for a little one's Easter basket in Ohio. I will be posting the white one on Etsy this evening. I love making these bunnies...

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Batch of Bunnies

This week, I spent some time making small bunnies out of leftover kambgarn yarn.  I delivered this latest batch to MAST boutique, located in the Lost Barrio, this morning. Here is a link to their beautiful shop on line:

Adding eyes and bunny noses.

Adding eyes and bunny noses.

The line up.

The line up.

My little man, Viggo with the bunnies.

My little man, Viggo with the bunnies.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new Tin Maja Blog. I am an artist and mother living in Tucson, AZ. I will be posting as often as possible about my work, my workspace, my business, my home and my family life. I have been inspired by other blogs of this nature and am very much hoping that mine will do the same for you.