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Monday, April 30, 2012

listing


What Engquist Learned While Shopping Downtown, a list

- I am about six inches taller than the average Cypriot. 
- Spring in Cyprus is beautiful!
- The girls here were made for hot weather.  They're tiny little bodies look amazing in tank tops, stylish sandals, and long, flowing dark braids.
- I am most definitely not built for the heat that is coming to the island.  My hair is in a sloppy bun ALL the time.  And I sweat.  And don't wear the tank tops...
- Breezes are good.  Really, really good.
- Modest clothing is hard to find.  Modest clothing when it's really hot and you don't want to wear a cardigan with everything is really, really hard to find.  Modest clothing when you're about 6 inches taller than the average Cypriot is darn near impossible.
- I really like Zara Home.
- I really, really like teacups from Zara Home.
- Harry Connick Jr. can sing to me any time.
- I just want to find a little cotton sundress and feel cute and not sweaty.
- It's kinds of fun to aggressively jaywalk.  makes me feel more like a local!
- Listening to Christmas music while it's hot out doesn't always make you feel cooler.  just sometimes.  like when you're curled up with a cool lemonade and a fan.
- Sometimes going out is a really good idea.
- Sometimes coming home feels even better.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

the cure




Friday morning I was frantically getting myself dressed and ready to go out with a few friends when I got a call from Mr. F.  He had just gotten to work and after a week of worry about him, such an early phone call nearly sent me into cardiac arrest.  He was very calm as he spoke, but there was the faintest tinkle of a giggle emanating from him before he spilled the beans.  "I got a raise." giggle, giggle, giggle... Aside from the giggles, Mr. F was very calm.  I, on the other hand, started freaking out.  "SHUT UP!  You got a raise!?!" "Yeah..." giggle, giggle, giggle...  We both needed that early phone call.  After some serious prayer for peace of mind this week, after one little phone call, all of the ills of days before evaporated in a shimmery haze.  An itty bitty pay raise meant so much more to us than money.

With a new found peace of mind, we embarked for the north side of the island to discover the TRNC.  What we really did was drive for a few hours (our Turkish is pretty bad...) until we found a beach to crash on.  We picnicked on my favorite salad and soaked in the Mediterranean sun.  Whatever residual stressors we may have had were washed away in the gentle lap of the sea upon the shore.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

thankful thursday


This week has been hard for some reason as Mr. F and I both struggle through the challenges of day to day life.  I have been fighting bouts of loneliness, self doubt, and sensations of failure.  Nothing horrible has happened, not at all.  But it's definitely been one of those weeks where things are a bit harder to handle than usual.  Midday today it struck me that it was Thursday and I had not yet prepared by weekly exclamations of gratitude.  Not once during the past week have I taken the time to check my perspective and just be grateful.  Ya know what?  I think it's time.

This week I am grateful for...

-teacups.  dainty, delicate, Coke filled teacups that make me feel wonderfully feminine.
-my yellow sundress and the way it just screams "BE HAPPY NOW!"
-a package of old magazines from a cousin I scarcely know because she knew I can't get them in Cyprus.
-a really, really helpful post office worker.
-this bush that is the most vibrant shade of fuschia I have ever seen created naturally.  (still working on taking a picture of it.)
-this post that reminded me that life is always changing and sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
-my new business cards.  I worked so hard on them and they are just beautiful!
-a guy I barely knew for a summer who is crazy, crazy talented who took the time to answer a few questions about the business side of the art world.  (in case you haven't noticed, I'm still learning!!)
-my dad.  my dad who has let me cry on the phone to him twice this week.  once because I called him at 2am my time because I had the kind of nightmare nightmares are made of and had to make sure he was still alive.  (he was and is, thank goodness!)  the second, just today.  when I felt silly for feeling weak and not being able to handle a pretty average string of days.  he just listened to me weep and reminded me that I can tell him anything.  and I know I can.
-my friends here on the island.  I got to see them last night after a crazy long (for me anyway) hiatus.  their smiles and stories just filled my soul and reminded me that I'm really not as far away as I think from everything I love.
-being a newlywed.  Mr. F and I are still figuring out a lot about how to be married.  this week it seems like we're figuring out more than usual, but I'm really grateful for that.  I'm grateful that we both are putting in the work so that our marriage will last forever and not be another Kardashian fiasco.
-my north-facing apartment now that the weather is getting warmer.  I can still wear a light sweater indoors as I work away.
-spontaneously created Mother's Day cards with pretty blush pink envelopes.
-sincere praise for my cards from the ladies at my favorite art supply shop.
-midday conversations with my mom and brother as they enjoy their visit together.  lots of laughter, sarcasm, and discussions on the closest Coke vendor.
-tomorrow.  because, as Anne Shirley once said, "tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a frame by any other name


So, remember that time I tried to share a really cute print with you and the camera battery died and then the frame broke?  Well, I still haven't remembered to pick up a piece of cork, so I took advantage of the situation and made a peg board.  Using my customary by guess and by gosh measurements, I whipped up this little ditty in just a few moments.


I flipped the frame over and stretched out pieces of twine lengthwise across the frame.  Using a heaping mess of hot glue, I affixed the ends of the twine to the frame.  With some trial and error I learned that it's best to glue one end and let it set before attaching the other side.  That way you can pull the twine taught, which makes for a more secure hold for the clothespins.


Originally I only put two piece of string in and hung it up on the wall.  It worked for about a week, but to make the string even stronger and to give me more hanging options, I glued four pieces of string across the width of the frame.  I didn't take a picture of the finished cross hatching, mainly because it was very rough and kind scraggly looking.


But I really love the finished result as I'm able to hang even more little tidbits!  Before I had my diploma hanging in this frame.  Not that I don't want to display my degree (which I am unbelievably proud of) but this scrap of wall was needing something more substantial.  It now offers some much needed texture, function, and even a bit of fun to my workspace!



Monday, April 23, 2012

mondays according to a rose


I found this rose outside of our apartment building last week after a freak wind storm.  It was a glorious surprise after such a stormy day.   It was the most scrumptious pink, tinged with butter yellows and soft creams and as full as a head of cabbage.   I put it on my desk to keep me company as I painted and worked and as of last night, it held all of its wonder.



Aaaand this is what it look like this morning.  It's like Monday arrived and the poor thing just keeled over in defeat, it's whole head plopped onto my desk.  Sorry rose...Monday's aren't always bad!

Friday, April 20, 2012

shhh...the princess is sleeping


The older I get, the more dear to my heart fairy tales become.  I constantly read and reread the tales and novelizations, like the books of Robin McKinley and Shannon Hale.  Traced in these stories seems to be the magic of childhood laced with essence of how to grow up and live a happy life.  Truly, beyond the scriptures, I treasure my fairy stories above most of my literature collection.

  So when my cousin suggested doing some fairy tale prints, I initially panicked.  Could I really do these tales that have helped shape me?  She had a fun project in mind but I was having a hard time getting it onto paper.  Finally my head, hand, and fairy muse connected and landed on the story, The Princess and the Pea.  This is what happened.... Isn't she darling?

This charming sleeping beauty is now available as an 8x10 print in two forms.  The stacked up beds (as at the top of this post) and the personalized version with "gilded" frame, perfect for a little nursery.  Click here for more information about pricing, or email me at engquist@seewhatiseadesigns.com




as a side note, I would like you to know that not only did my camera battery die just in time for this to be the only picture I could take, but the frame promptly toppled over and the glass broke in two.  on the padded ironing board.  and that's when I curled back up in bed and watched an episode of Downton Abbey.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

happy things



days at the beach
birth announcements
a letter from a friend
new ironing board cover in the loveliest, feminine print
free cheeseburgers
finding a huge, rambling, lush park near our home
finding an English bookshop even closer to our home!!
fresh flowers, picked from obliging trees on the side of the road and from meadows in the mountains
strawberry lemon yogurt cake (it really was that good...)
raspberry vinaigrette made from jam
spending hours on end with my husband for FOUR days in a row!
Sista Bear gettin' one rockin' awesome internship that I am CRAZY jealous of!
books. (nuff said)
swimming in the sea in mid-April
mosquito net curtains that make sleeping a lot more pleasant
cool nights

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

chopped


I'm not a big salad eater.  Never really have been.  They always have tomatoes (which are disgusting, no matter how times I look at how pretty they are and think they are going to taste good) and big hunks of overly crispy, watery iceberg lettuce.  It just doesn't do it for me.  As I was making a mental menu plan for our Easter dinner, my mom reminded me that I do like salad...just with fresh greens and not a tomato in sight.  

We have a tradition in our family to have pear salad on big occasions.  (Milestone birthdays, baptisms, receiving endowments, missions, Tuesdays...)  We first had it at the Nordstrom Cafe and my mom recreated it for us.  It originally called for champagne vinaigrette, which I a) did not have and b) totally forgot to look for in my one day only crazy day of post-sick pre-party shopping last week.  Thus, when Sunday evening came around, we had to make do with whatever was around.

Y'all, I didn't have any dressing in the house.  (Serious issues with salad on my part..)  So what did I do?  I made my own.  And ya know what? I am never buying dressing again!  I seriously felt like a Chopped Champion, scouring my cupboards and fridge and making something epically good.  In fact it was so good, I made a big thing of it the next day to take to the beach and ate the whole salad save a few bites Mr. F managed to steal.  I'm thinking mixed greens and raspberry vinaigrette are going to be a staple for us this summer. 


Pear Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
makes approximately 4 servings 

salad:
2 handfulls of mixed greens (I like to be as precise as possible)
1/8-1/4 c. toasted and chopped walnuts
1/8 c. dried cranberries
1 pear, cut into thin wedges
3 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese*

vinaigrette:
2 tsp. raspberry jam
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil  

In a large bowl, add mixed greens, walnuts, cranberries, pear, and cheese.  In separate bowl, whisk together jam, vinegar, and oil. Add oil last and use as a thinner.  Mixture should coat a teaspoon.  Drizzle vinaigrette over salad mixture and lightly toss.

* you could also use blue cheese or feta, I just prefer the creamy relief of the goat cheese.

as a side note, I operate pretty solidly on a measuring system of what my Mor Mor calls, "By Guess and By Gosh."  proportions may need to be eyeballed to your liking.

Monday, April 16, 2012

sociable












This last weekend was our Egg Hunt and Easter Social at church, my third major activity to put together since we've moved here.  Unlike in a bigger ward or stake within the church, in my little branch, I am the activities committee.  My first "assignment" was the Christmas party.  I nearly had an aneurism I was so overwhelmed.  For Valentine's, I wasn't as stressed, but was baking and cooking so much that the time before the celebration was just a blur.  This time around, I was too sick to really stress out, which was a HUGE blessing.  Fewer decoration projects for me.  Less baking.  Less setup.  Way more fun.

Here are a few things I learned about party planning from this adventure:

people just want an excuse to get together, it doesn't have to be an elaborate affair.
you don't need all new things for a pretty table scape.  use what you have!
strawberry lemon yogurt cake is the best thing ever.
homemade brownies and deviled eggs are the second best things ever.
sticks are free.
people are willing to help, just ask them!
be gracious.
I am most definitely not a good photographer.
paper chains are almost always the answer.
stay calm and have fun!

So here's what we did, when everyone arrived, they made their own basket for the egg hunt and then we let them loose.  There was one child and a swarm of ravenous people on the prowl for chocolate. It. Was. HILARIOUS!  The hunt went on all night as eggs were stuffed into every nook and cranny of the church.  Everyone seemed to love making their own baskets and some people got really creative with it.  There were supposed to be prizes for who ever found the most eggs, but people just started eating, talking, and playing games.  It did my heart good to see so many happy friends want to spend more time together.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

kalo paska


Happy Easter from Cyprus!

(yes, I know you probably celebrated..if you do at all...last week.  here on the island we're just getting around to it. so many cultural things being learned! it's awesome!)

Friday, April 13, 2012

joe studly



It's The Stud's birthday.  First off, when did we get old?  Secondly, I wish I could be with him today.  We have been on opposite sides of the world for far too long. (Approximately four years...but who's counting?)   He was in Italy serving a mission, I was in Utah and Ohio.  Then he came back and I got married.  Then he moved to Utah and we moved to Europe.  Twice.  Can't some siblings catch a break!?

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I want to be as cool as my brother when I grow up.  Seriously.  No.  Seriously.  The kid just oozes cool.  And suave.  And cultured.  It's his first semester back at school in nearly FOUR years and he has a four-point.  Who does that?!  Did I mention he's also working part time?  And he's studying to be a pilot?  A PILOT!  Like, has a legitimate excuse to wear those crazy awesome aviators!  Say it with me now, I want to be as cool as The Stud when I grow up...


But really, I am constantly amazed by the capacities of his heart.  He just loves people.  Like he meets you for the first time and you've got a friend.  A rock solid, faithful till the end friend.  This guy calls me EVERY morning on his way to work at a golf course.  And if we miss a day?  He calls on the weekend to make sure he hasn't missed anything.  He constantly inspires me to be a better person and to serve God with my whole heart.  He's just a stud.  And though I highly doubt I'll ever be as cool as him, I am lucky enough to have him as my best friend.

Happy Birthday, Dude!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

thankful thursday


this week I am grateful for...

Mr. F taking care of me for days on end while my body takes its sweet time to heal.
orange blossoms.
hot chocolate.
clean sheets.
clear nasal passages.
fairy tales.
my body deciding naps aren't such bad things after all.
fun little kitchen notions that brighten my imagination from Anthropologie.
friends being willing to help.
sugar cookie dough.
inspiration.
fun new recipes.
Castle (put me to sleep more times than I can count this week...)
the chance to disconnect for a few days.
rain.
cooler weather, perfect for baking.
four day weekend with Mr. F!!
being pretty much done with errands and prep for the church social this weekend, despite five days of narcoleptic sniffles.
HAAAAAMMM!!!
Easter.
my Savior.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

mother's day



Because my nose isn't running as much and because it's just kind of fun, I'm offering a promotion.  (But really, it's for Mother's Day..)  Through the end of April, I'm offering any five-pack of my notecards for $10, a 30% savings.  You can mix and match your favorite cards, stock up for the future, or  just indulge in your favorite.  Offer expires on April 30.  

april shower

sweeiiiiiissssshhhhhh goes the water in the road as a car drives past.  It must have rained during the night.  I lay a little longer in my bed, basking in another cool, mosquito free morning.  With my box of tissue at the ready and fresh glass of orange juice nearby, I begin my mental list of what needs to be done during the day to make me feel more productive.  Walk to the post office, pick up some eggs, make cookies, breath out of my nose... After nearly five days in bed, my mind is ready for more exertion, craving activity and excitement.  My body tells me it wants to linger in bed longer.  Like it did yesterday when I had tried to do X number of things before eight in the morning.  Then I took a two hour nap and my nose ran all day.  I'm not making that mistake today.

More cars are driving past, rush hour must be closer.  Time for everyone to go to work.  Only a few days left until the Easter festivities really kick off.  The swishes and swashes in the road grow louder and then comes to familiar drip, drop, pat of a spring rain outside my window.   Soon enough the drips and drops have morphed into splishes and splats!  It is a steady, drenching rain.  It talks to me and says, "Rest, my friend.  You don't need to do twelve crafts for the Easter Egg Hunt.  You just need to be healthy.  Sleeep...."

The rain is right.  I need to be healthy.  One more day, body, one more day of sleep for you.  Tomorrow we tackle the list.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

phoenix


I remember when I was a kid, being sick felt like an eternity.  Long, waking nights of coughing so hard I believed my lungs were going to pop out of my chest.  Days filled with nothing but soup and Disney movies.   No playtime, no friends.  Just sick.

The past four days have blurred by in a daze as my body fought off a vicious change of season cold.  No eternity of torment, just a haze of a few days melded together with the continuous threads of Castle, sleep, and cocoa.  While I emerged from the house a few times, today (Tuesday) is really the first time I've felt normal again.  My nose is a little less drippy and my head is more clear.  I can sit up and enjoy the early morning sun while smelling the orange blossoms Mr. F helped me pick from an obliging tree last night as I warded off cabin fever.  

Hopefully you had a lovely Easter weekend and I can't wait to show you a few of the things planned for the soiree this weekend. (I swear, I'll do better at taking pictures and posting them than I did last time...)  Good morning world, I've missed you.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

indeed


To the man who taught me how to use wood glue, to read, and to wander.  Who taught me how to plant tomatoes and the value of freshly grown dill.  To the man who drove my team to every rugby match, no matter what country or state it was in.  Who took me to see Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, and My Fair Lady.  My favorite person to sing with and whose voice I still long for when I am sick to read me a story as I fall asleep.

To my Nonny, Happy Birthday!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

thankful thursday



this week I am grateful for...

whole days with friends that seem like moments.
car boots!
curling up in bed with Mr. F and a stack of good books.
dreams.
a clean(ish) house.
my calling(s).
a week full of time with friends.
selling a few more cards.
Cypriot sunsets.
phone calls.
air dried and freshly pressed sheets.
an anniversary package from my mom.
positive feedback about my work.
service, from others for Mr. F and myself, and the ability and opportunity to return that service.
inspiration for more pieces.
a very hard working husband.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

boot loot


One of the things I miss most about the States when I am away is the wonderful combination of garage/tag sales and thrift stores.  In Cyprus, those things are next to non-existent.  I honestly had a guy laugh at me when I told him I like to buy things secondhand.  Straight up laughed!  Well, the joke's on him because this weekend the local Anglican church hosted a car boot sale.  I have seriously been planning on going to this thing for a month.  I had no idea what sort of treasures would be found, but I knew I was going to be there, come rain or shine!

My new friend picked me up and the two of us gabbed our way from car to car.  There was some really terrific stuff..and some not so terrific.  But I made out like a bandit and couldn't be more thrilled with the day's results!  Two darling little picnic baskets, one of which already has a home in my "broom" cupboard holding laundry notions.  A lamp and shade that need just a little bit of lovin.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and a Marvin Gaye cd.  Love me some Marvin...

Besides how wonderfully cool my loot is, the reason I was so excited about this sale was the price.  I spent €11.50 on everything.  I can't get a basket at Ikea for less than €7 (trust me, I've looked..a lot...) nor can I find a decent lamp for less than €10.  Movies, books, and music?  Yeah...let's just say I'm grateful for iTunes and the massive hoard of books we brought with us. (Harry Potter was 50 cents! woot!!!)   So €11.50 for everything?  Done. Done.  And done!  Plus...


the car boot was in the parking lot of this church.  Isn't it dreamy? Walking the grounds made me feel like I was a Victorian Era missionary in New Guinea wearing a long, linen skirt and freshly starched white blouse while cooling myself with an embroidered white linen fan.  And it made me want lemonade.  

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

tea time


Dear Zara Home,

You make pretty things.  Like delicate teacups that make me feel like a seven year-old girl again, hosting a tea party on the the white whicker furniture amongst the lilac bushes.  Teacups that would look so lovely on my table beside me as I paint away.  Teacups that make my heart wildly happy.  Teacups that are, sadly, just outside of my budget.  I wish there was a way we could resolve this.  Hopefully you have a few better ideas than myself.

Longingly,

engquist

vanity


Many moon ago, little kindergartener me had mind blowing headaches, which led to a trip to the pediatrician, which led to an optometrist, which led to cobalt blue frames twice the size of my itty bitty face.  I wanted red.  My friend had red glasses.  They were cool!  I was stuck with blue.  But blue made my eyes pop.  

Ever since then, I have worn glasses.  Never, ever, ever, EVER contacts.  Those require upkeep, those little dishes, and sticking my finger in my eye.  No way. Not happening. I have had my last pair of glasses since before I moved to Brussels.  Like picked them up, grabbed my bag, and ran to catch a plane.  A great many things have happened since then, but I held on to those glasses as long as I could.  They were cool! I put those glasses on and loved the way I looked.  To anyone who has ever worn spectacles, you know how blessed that feeling is.  But the screws that held them together would not be kept in their sockets any longer.

Enter really cool, mildly hipster, inspired me to buy a black and white striped tee glasses.  I picked them up on Friday and have scarcely taken them off since.  I feel chic, sophisticated, trendy, quirky, and (dare I say...) sexy in them.  These glasses are my new favorite accessory.  Is it possible for spectacles to make your hair look more sleek or your eyebrows more groomed?  (And no, I didn't order rose colored lenses..)  I say this every time I get a new pair of glasses, but these are truly my favorite pair I've had so far.  Lots of smiling, lots of reading.  Lots of cool.

Totally makes up for not getting those red frames when I was five. 

Monday, April 02, 2012

april


Happy April!  The month of daffodils, tulips, and Reese's eggs. (I would like it to be known, all three of those are pretty scarce or mightily expensive here..le sigh)  Our month is filling up rapidly with new friends, an Easter Egg Hunt (really need to start planning that.....), busy callings, books, and lots of sunshine and I am so looking forward to all of it.

customized







I've been merrily plugging away these past few weeks at a few fun custom orders and gifts.  There are still a few in the works.  Aren't they fun!? I just adore the "family rules" print.  It's an 8x10 and so colorful and happy.  The other is for the son of a childhood friend of mine.  I love that she wanted to personalize a few of my prints.  There's also a really fun order in the works that I can't wait to show you when it's done..it's coming together slowly but surely.