25 June 2014

home alone



 Midsummer past - the light is supposed to grow dull...not at my new place though! The flat is bright and airy, and I'm doing my best to only keep cheerful colours and soft pastels. There's been a lot of change - all kinds of change, and my heart feels lighter when fingers are busy arranging flowers, weaving hanging planters, prepping the irrational amount of cushions on the tiny sofa and painting stars on Ikea plates.
There's so much stuff to go through still, and so much stuff I already went through, discovering many things I have completely forgotten about. My goal is to have everything in the right place, easy to find and never to forget. And all that did not survive my harsh judgement is given away.
It's not only the colours - the home breathes when it's clutter-free.
Buying and arranging flowers is like a whole lifestyle of its own, and I make sure to always have fresh flowers at home, even if at times it is just a tiny little wild flower I picked up somewhere - everything counts! Today I found myself matching the peonies to the Hay tray, and the tray to the nailpolish - that was kinda fun. Then I mounted the Hay gym hooks - the very first six holes I got to drill into the walls at my new place - yet no clue whether it may be symbolic of sorts. Gym hooks in place - and the colour matching routine takes the new spin - Acne Studios sweatshirt and Carven bag found a perfect resting spot. So the days go by.
Oh and Mr. Kramfors is finally happy - the Bemz sofa cover arrived, it fits like a glove and looks very sweet next to the brand new Muuto Visu lounge chair. I hear them whisper kind words to each other at night.

15 June 2014

the Old and the New

It's hard to talk about feelings, it's even harder to feel them while I'm trying to make my new lonely life work, so I'm just keeping the head and the hands busy going through the piles of stuff I didn't always know I own...well, not in the second and third photo though - that's my pride and the result of excessive shopping, but so many things inside so many boxes needed to find the right place in my new home.
I managed to somewhat clear out the initial mess that was left after moving. It was the hottest day of the current summer - a Whit Monday, that begun with a thunderstorm and a pouring rain. In Russia we say that I must rain on Whit Monday...we also say that the rain on the day you move is a good sign...so blessed by the Old Gods and the New, my parents and I filled six cars brimful, and in the blistering 30 degrees heat, breathing the rain vapours that made the air sticky and tropical went up and down the stairs a zillion times to transport the endless amount of my stuff to the new apartment... which happens to be only 10 minutes walk from the old one.
A few hours into this and all three of us were ready to have a heart attack, but we finally managed! Dumped the stuff and went to my parents' house to wash the sweat away with ice-cold beer and cider.
Those few days that were spent organising the clothes showed me that I never have to go shopping again... but upon seeing an Instagram message from Hunting and Collecting that there's a 30% off treat for one day only I rushed into the shop and bought the long-desired Stine Goya giraffe embroidery sweater. So happy giraffe to me, because I will never learn! 
 Another beautiful surprise this week was a gift from my grandma. I knew what I wanted for so long, but things are so much more precious when you get given! Especially by the people like my grandma, who's awfully far away. Now I have two things at home that will always make me think of her - the very old marble squirrel pen holder ( you can see it on the first picture) and this very new &Tradition Hoof Table.
 I quickly arranged the work space - the rest is not yet picture worthy, but you will see as soon as it is. This work space will probably be moved to the bedroom and the living room needs some shuffling around, pictures on the walls, a rug and a dining table... and a million other little things that make it cozy. I am also patiently awaiting the pink Muuto Visu lounge chair to be delivered - when all is in place it will be a P-A-R-T-Y!

06 June 2014

light confetti

You realise how much stuff you own only when moving it. And in my case moving everything, literally, on foot makes every single object count. The car will be available next week, but for now I'm stuck at a wonderful routine of walking from one apartment to another, looking like a mule with two blue Ikea bags and a cactus in my hands. Yesterday night I moved the good half of my kitchen in two rounds(including heavy dishes), so today, apart from a toolbox and some magazines it's like a walk in a park.
So if you see the Lena mule - give her a carrot or somethin'.
My new apartment is flooded with natural light because the living room, unlike in most apartments in Brussels, is longer in width than in depth so that the light from the big bow window can get to the furthest corner if it. The kitchen opens up onto the living room and is bright white. And the bedroom is a quiet place - the sunlight gets to it only after 4PM but never shines too bring because of the huge tree in the window. It casts shadows on the walls that look like confetti. I have trouble sleeping with too much light, so a dark, calm, quiet bedroom is a treasure find.
Now I'm trying to figure out how to organize the living space. Where the lounge should be and where is the dining table or the work desk. The bedroom is the most straightforward room - I'm planning on moving my bed into the alcove and putting as many cushions as can fit on it for the bay-bed look instead of the classical bed with the headboard. I'd like to make it a place to relax and to daydream.
The apartment is also a storage heaven. There's just so much storage space in the seemingly tiny kitchen that I managed to fit my sewing machines in there and make what I call the 'wine closet' with bottle racks inside. The wardrobe is happy too - the mezzanine in the bedroom will become the 'climb-in' wardrobe, with so much space it will look like I almost have not enough clothes.
Well, now back into action - saucepans, we're going home! 

27 May 2014

it's a wrap

It feels strange to buy things to be unwrapped only in a couple of weeks, but it feels great to search and to find exactly the objects I wanted. They are just object anyways, but those are the new ones which don't have any emotional value to me - at this very moment it's absolutely priceless.
I found a new flat to which I want to take things that 'don't know me'. All kind of bright and cheerful things to keep the spirits up. For this matter I have sort of resurrected the OftenStrangers'Places URL - sort of, because it was always meant to be a blog for me and my mom to write about home and interior, but we never got around actually doing it, and blogging about it alone is a bit weird, yet it will do, largely so.
I was also considering a timely template change for this blog - I'm growing tired of those pretty little tiles that look so professional, yet the message remains the same. So why not go back to the previously flat scroll-down blog style? I do like the OS'P emptiness, without the slider, ads, popular post thingy, just a fine punctured line and a grey link box...hmm... 

25 May 2014

Bemz - nordic pastels.

Slowly but surely getting through the interior design news. A while ago the pretty pastel Ikea sofas did a tour of the design blogosphere, and after having waited for about one year, I have finally clicked on the link to Bemz - a textile brand which actually makes removable covers for almost all known Ikea sofa and armchair models. And since I'm a proud owner of no-longer-in-production Kramfors sofa, kindly scratched by a cat and even more kindly coffee-stained by an unidentified visitor - old news are also good news. It's fun playing around the website which in a matter of a click turns my sofa yellow, pastel pink or Marimekko printed with flower design.
Pastel peach is lovely if that's your fifth sofa cover, but being pragmatic led me to a medium grey shade, and in doubt I ordered 4 different grey fabric samples free of charge to test them out at home before going for the complete transformation. A little wait and the good old Kramfors will have a timely facelift - only then will mr. Kramfors be acquainted with the very pretty Visu lounge chair in soft pink which has been on top of all my wishlists for a while. Yes, sometimes dreams come true.

23 May 2014

new shoes - new start

Pictures of the new shoes, taken looking down, always set the good mood. Especially when the shoes are from &Other Stories and the pictures are taken with a new fancy phone, so I can almost forget the incident...well, almost, because of the entire morning spent at the police office. Yes, I'm one of those meticulous people who report mobile phone theft to the police. I did it out of hope that they can trace the phone, but the inspector clearly informed me that such 'complicated procedure' will only be authorized by the tribunal in case of a very serious crime. Meaning shamelessly stealing my phone is not a serious crime at all. Thank you, belgian Police!
Anyways, enough rant from me!
Today I went to Antwerp, just for a quick shopping spree and a walk in the sun. Bagged the silly mesh &Other Stories loafers and HAY wine glasses and promptly returned to Brussels where I will soon be moving to a new flat, which still needs to be found and rented though, but that doesn't stop me from buying a couple of new things to be unpacked after the move.
I'm quite pleased with the arrival of Stories to Belgium - it's a kind of place where you can actually go shopping without sense of guilt for even trying things on you can't afford. None of that! There are some very pretty dresses, sweaters, skirts...so many that I couldn't choose. And if I were to have 10 eyes, there is a pair of sunglasses for each one of them. And then there are the shoes...the biggest problem happens to be that one only has two feet, and wearing several pairs of shoes simultaneously hasn't really been on-trend yet. And then there's choice...
I'll probably return for another fitting of a very flashy printed dress, which I just didn't dare to buy on the spot, but the more I think of it, the more the African/psychedelic print seems appropriate in combination with the mesh loafers and some hairy knit for the chilly nights.

20 May 2014

all that doesn't matter

That filthy cunt who stole my Samsung Galaxy S4 can just as well go fuck herself with it. When the SIM-card is blocked and the phone is blocked and all the passwords are changed what the hell is there left to do with it? A bloody useless empty tin. So what was the motherfucking point? What's worse is coming to a luxury boutique, stealing the phone, and walking out all happy-shiny-thank-you-saying bitch! Next time I recommend to just grab the phone, smash it against the floor - no one can use it anymore in either case, but it would give me the pleasure of breaking some bones.
The strangest of reactions when I saw my phone missing - I went outside, holding my fists tight - for the first time in my life I was looking for a fight, not knowing where to go though. I went around the block looking to punch a woman, aged 45-55, that kind of average everyone's mom. I couldn't believe my own anger. May be because it is the first time ever anything gets stolen from me. Ever! But I was imagining how I'd pull her by the hair, knock her down on the ground and kick her in the guts. A blood-thirsty bitch vs. a kleptomaniac. For dog's sake, someone re-write the X-men scenario!
There's nothing but the flipside to this. All my latest photos, including the ones from the &Other Stories Antwerp store opening party are gone with the Samsung Galaxy, whichever way towards the Flanders it went. What's left for the blog is some Instagram blur and a lot of hard feelings.
R.I.P. Samsung Galaxy S4, you perished in a combat for false luxury life, amoral and unfair.

07 May 2014

find me a flower tree.

Now that I've got the dress. Some things are just meant to be. 

04 May 2014


It's kind of hard to explain why sometimes I hang clothes on a rack and just sit and watch. Some sort of a weird fetish may be? I regroup them according to style, mood, brand...whatever, just to look at where a frighteningly high amount of earned money went to - all of it went to pleasure seeking. A type of pleasure not everyone shares, but here it's all mine.
Last month my parents gave me a fantastic gift - a shopping trip to a city of my choice, so of course I chose Paris. Went to the Dries Van Noten exhibition, stuffed myself at Chez Marianne so much that the last strudel didn't fit, and filled my wardrobe with Carven brimful.

So here it is - the pleasure to behold.
The in-between weather favourite is the short speckled boucle jacket from winter 2012 pre - collection and a white blouse with winged sleeves from the same season, which I love to wear with the electric blue pinafore dress from summer 2013 pre-collection. Then there's a navy blue shorts all-in-one from summer 2012 and its happy companion the pink jacket with electric blue trims from pre-summer 2013, which I originally bought to match the pinafore dress but in the end felt dressed up like an air hostess, so I've only worn those pieces apart. My recent Paris buys fit with it too - a cropped shirt with an open back - originally designed for the summer 2011 I believe, but has been re-edited this season exclusively for the Saint Sulpice boutique's 3 years celebration. I bought it together with the Evening Capsule summer 2014 pre-collection navy organza skirt and another re-edition summer 2011 jacket. Then there's the famous white grid dress with the kiwi print which deserved a handshake and compliments from Guillaume Henry, it's from the pre-summer 2014. The little orange round bag was bought to match it. Then you see an outfit which is not entirely Carven, but the re-edition navy jacket works wonders with a bi-material Stephan Schneider shirt and a Carven skirt from the pre-winter 2012. My favourite sweater is last winter's Stella McCartney and I wear it with summer 2012 Dries Van Noten shirt and a summer 2010 (or 2011, no clue) Carven high - waisted shorts. I also have some pieces from winter 2011, but they are too warm for this weather,  a coat from pre-winter 2013 which could as well be hanging on the rail but I was wearing it while taking a picture, and a lonely summer 2014 skirt which was sadly separated from its perfect match - a flower patchwork white sweatshirt (it had a discolouration problem so I had to give it back to the shop).
Sometimes I feel like Daenerys and the dragons, only that I have clothes to call my children and sit and watch then devour a sheep.

01 May 2014

home is where your cat is ...responsible for interior decoration.

The last missing point above the 'i' is some kind of suspension in the living room. My place is flooded with light during the day, but the nighttime is rather obscure without any hanging light. Since I haven't decided what I want there exactly, I leave the problem, erm, hanging.
For the rest, the apartment seems quite complete with this new Ikea PS mirror, a dining table, an original Tapiovaara chair - a lucky thrift store find, and my new acquisition - an old map of central Russia that dates back to between the two wars. It has a very strange borders drawn in the places that don't match anything on today's map and names of the cities that have a bias connotation nowadays, like for example all of Finland is in Swedish and the Eastern Prussia's major city is Koenigsberg. It even shows the republic of Germany on Volga - the kind of place that existed only for some years. Ukraine is an independent state, but Lvov is in Poland. Funny how all those borders and frontiers were so temporary.
You can clearly see the very spot I blog from and a pretty view I have on the apartment while doing so. But one perfect morning the cat probably decided to redecorate the view with a help of a fly and a curtain rail which did not seem to last long fixed to the wall. Hell knows when I can put it up again with those 3,5 meter ceilings. Thanks kitty!

Bozar Night

This man knows how to start fire. His name is Jimi After...or simply Laurent - a good friend who played a massive live set yesterday at Bozar Night. It's funny how clubbing and Michael Borremans do mix.

30 April 2014

The Old Boy's Club at Art Brussels

Last weekend I went to Art Brussels for a casual stroll amongst the art works. Every time I find myself there I realise that the omnipresence of art is tiring to me, no matter how much I appreciate the works, it becomes too much at one point. So I just walk in circles until something sticks... you may say that it is a very perverse way of looking at art, but having finished an art school and having somewhat seen the flipside of it, I cannot immerse myself into concepts and philosophies of art. in other words, I just look at pretty pictures, as crude as it may sound.
But when I came across the small solo presentation of a French-born American-resident artist who goes under the name of The Old Boy's Club, my eyes were just riveted to not one, but complex arrangement of works where painting and drawing coincided with film projections in the way it was hard to tell where one ended and another began. You should see some videos I posted on Instagram to get the full picture. I felt like I could spend hours examining each and every image. So I had a little chat with the artist, who was constantly being torn apart by numerous visitors and their compliments, and when someone wore a print or colour she liked, she took a picture of it. I was amazed at how open and talkative she is, just like her works.
And her works are a blend of intercultural imagery. The characters are Japanese, Indonesian, Mexican (with the fighting masks), Native American, wearing American football helmets and burkas, there's Hello Kitty too, eastern and western all at once, contemporary and historical, and they all go through some sort of a struggle or a fight, they wage war against commodity culture and empty existence, yet with humour, whimsy, and lightheadedness of mood.

24 April 2014

Vika Gazinskaya &Other Stories

I'm totally over my head about the designer collaboration soon to come. Wow, how do they come up with such things? The Tumblr scoop tells me Vika Gazinskaya collection of clothing, shoes and accessories is soon to hit &Other Stories floor.
I've always admired Vika's personal style and her collections that are playful, feminine, undoubtedly Russian, but somehow seen through the eyes of a foreigner or a traveller may be. She is one of my few co-patriots who seem to have a universal appeal, far beyond Russia's frontiers, and yet sticking to the country's style strongpoints (not to say 'clichés').

It's a lineup of soft neutrals, hand-drawn prints and quirky styling, frills, bows and dots. I know that Vika's heels are always sky high, but I hope the lovely dotty wedge pumps have a more laid-back casual mid-heel sibling. Buy since &Other stories are really good at mid-heels, we can very much expect that to happen.
In other words, I'll be nervously refreshing the webpage on the day the collection is due. All this loveliness got me dreaming of the birch woods, the dacha and the butterflies.

This charming man

I'm not a big event goer, champagne drinker or people watcher, although it is the kind of thing to do when you have a blog, right? It may explain the general content (or rather a lack of it) of this blog. But yesterday I have teleported myself to another side of Brussels for the Carven event at Smets. Oh yesterday!
I passed by in the early afternoon to try on the beautiful cherry blossom dress from the previous post, wearing my latest Paris buy - a white Carven dress with kiwi print. A young man approaches me and shakes my hand: "May I introduce myself - Guillaume Henry, I am the creative director of Carven, and you look absolutely amazing." *Blush*Blush*Blush* I stood there frozen, feet that wouldn't move, mouth that wouldn't speak. How could I know that I'd bump into the designer of one of my favourite fashion houses on a casual shopping spree? And how could I know that he's full of charm that just radiates from within him?
I told him about the Carven presentation a couple of years ago where my boyfriend DJed, he remembered it was great fun, we briefly talked about the event taking place in the evening and I left him to numerous preparations that I did not want to disturb. And in the evening when the crowd gathered, I figured that it would be just fun to dress up in a Carven total-look of the brand devotee, and showed up all bright eyed and bushy tailed, only to find almost no one I knew...strange thing how Brussels can be so separated into neighbourhoods of which people don't cross the boundaries, and while in the city centre there are always familiar faces, the Smets event left me with the sentiment that there's always more to know.
The one and the same charming man grabs me by the shoulder and says: "You look lovely again! It is very rewarding to see people like you."
And before I knew it, I've melted into a pool of sparkly glittery goo and totally dissolved into the Smets Store concrete floor, only to realize some hours later that I completely forgot to introduce myself, drowned by Guillaume Henry's charm and kindness. So typical and unprofessional of me...but very very pleasant.