That secret project that Ingrid was working on was indeed a birthday present for me. It was a kitchen tray.

During summer we like to eat outside on the deck, which means we’re often carrying things back and forth between the deck and the kitchen. The trays we have for this job are the usual slippery plastic things. Definitely better than nothing, but not ideal.

This new one is a dream to use. It’s solid and robust, with square feet and tough rope handles and an edge all around. The surface is just rough enough so the plates don’t slide around, and the edge adds extra security. The handles are thick and stiff enough that I can really load the tray full with heavy bowls of food and stacks of plates, and still have full control when carrying it all. I like the feel of it so much that I use it even when I only have a few things to carry, just because I can. It’s perfect.

I sewed Poke balls for Adrian, so he can throw them at imaginary Pokemons to catch them all.

Meanwhile, Ingrid is looking for a new phone. The old one is sort of broken (she has to put it in loudspeaker mode to hear anything) but almost more importantly it’s too old for playing Pokemon Go.

Adrian loves building things, and has been asking me for a long time to build something in wood together with him. He’s also been asking for a bed for one of his toys. Today we had a woodworking day when we got both projects done.

I built a minimalist four-poster doll bed. The four-poster bit was essential and actually what got this project started – Adrian had a bunch of small bead projects that he wanted to hang over the doll, so it can look at them while it’s waiting for sleep.

Adrian built a boat. He did the design, we measured together, I cut and drilled, and finally Adrian screwed all the pieces together. Then he ran off with it before I got a chance to photograph the final result.

I like the way Adrian’s imagination works. He takes a piece of thick plank for the bottom, adds a section of square rod as a mast, and there’s his boat! He did add more detail to this one (two more pieces of rod for railings, a little post with a wooden button for a wheel, a block as a cabin) but in his mind it was already a boat without those. If I was asked to build a boat, I would probably aim for something more clearly boat-shaped, which would be a lot more work.

We painted pretty eggs. They were so pretty that even Adrian, who doesn’t normally eat eggs, ate one.

If it was just about the painting, we could have done many more, but I feel we should paint only as many as we can eat. Which is not a lot. Boiled eggs are a good breakfast food, but not hard-boiled ones. That is not the most delicious way of preparing eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are OK when still newly cooked and warm, but after a day or two… not so much.

A rest day and optional day trips from Glitterheim, where we’re staying for two nights. Ascent of Styggehøe, 10 km, and skiing Øvre and Nedre Steinbuvatnet, 9 km.

The initial plan for today was to ascend Glittertind, Norway’s second tallest mountain. But considering yesterday’s quite tiring skiing, and the continuing high winds, and the long day we have ahead of us tomorrow, we decided against it. 1100m of ascent and descent, with high wind and on a mostly icy surface, would have us all quite exhausted.

Some of us stayed in the hut and read; others went out for short walks. I joined a group that skied up Styggehøe, a somewhat less exciting mountain that happened to be nearby. We actually had clear skies today, but it was still windy enough that we only stopped quite briefly for coffee and photos at the top. The skiing was nothing special and neither were the views, frankly.

Back at the hut some of us felt that the morning’s 10 km outing was not enough to count as a proper day of skiing and talked about going out again in some other direction. Having learned on Wednesday that not enough skiing leads to not enough sleepiness, I joined in, even though I knew I’d slow the group down – the other goers were among the strongest skiers in the group. But the gentlemen said they didn’t mind.

We climbed a short slope right behind the hut and then skied back and forth along/across two lakes, Øvre and Nedre Steinbuvatnet, beneath Glittertind. On the way out, we had the wind in our faces and the going was hard, so we made stayed on the snow on the side of the lake. The wind kept spinning up into whirlwinds, which were pretty to look at (and I’m quite miffed that my camera decided to stop working at this time) but hit quite hard when they hit me. On the plus side, the snowy whirlwinds were easy to spot in advance so I could brace myself.

On the way back there was no more slogging through snow. Instead we raced back across the icy lakes with the wind at our backs. Point the skis in the right direction and pole away, with the skis humming along the ice. According to the GPS unit of one of the guys, he had skied the lake at an average speed of 18 km/h. I was not quite as fast but nevertheless I felt like I was almost flying. This was the most fun I’d had all week! The speed and power and focus made for an almost ecstatic experience.

Back at the hut, we still had time to kill before dinner. The couple in charge of this hut were celebrating their 10-year anniversary as caretakers, so they had a knitted friendship banner/scarf project going, that visitors could add to. I felt I had done enough reading already so I was definitely up for some knitting.

Plain knitting is a decent way to make time pass, but there was time for something more fun, so I embellished my knitting with an embroidered Warthog logo for the company organizing this trip – Warthog Off Grid Adventures (web site, Facebook page). Orange, of course.

I was struck by a sudden urge to knit something. Preferably something quick and easy that can give rewarding results in not much time. Fraying embroidery on a sofa cushion gave me the answer: I’ll knit a new cushion cover.

(The knitting was half a day of relaxing “work”. Actually attaching it to the cushion turned into several evenings of frustrating fiddly sewing of tight corners, which cancelled out most of the relaxing effect of the first part of the job. I want to make a second, matching cushion, but first I’ll have to think of a better plan for the assembly.)

I needed more pencils for my colouring. There were way too few blues in the set I got for Christmas. And yellows. Too few of most colours, in fact, except black and white…

I was surprised at just how expensive pencils can be. The ones I bought are step up from the low budget stuff, and quite nice, but I wonder what it might feel like to use the really high quality stuff.

Our Pikachu project is progressing – we’ve sewn all the details onto the front and back parts, and now only final assembly remains.

Adrian is in a sewing mood. We’re making a Pikachu plushie, and we bought a book about sewing other Pokemon figures (that Adrian saw online and couldn’t stop thinking about). And while we’re at it, we’re making small mittens and a hat for a soft doll of his.

The Pikachu plushie is small and fiddly enough that us “sewing together” mostly means me doing the actual sewing. Adrian opines on design questions, and cuts. But for more straightforward seams – such as the mittens and hat – we’ve started working the sewing machine together. I navigate and Adrian presses the foot pedal. He doesn’t dare have his hands anywhere near the sewing machine needle.

He’s very cautious about the whole thing and quite worried of making a mistake of some sort. I push him a bit, and he does more than he dares, and enjoys it.

Ingrid and her friend sewed plush toys.

They have a very different approach to organizing a crafts project than I do… There is stuff everywhere, scraps mixed with pieces they are working on and with unused material; pins and needles loose on the table and the floor. Everyone else stays far away.