A Colsie Moment with Stefie of @stefiereads, a self-taught lifestyle photographer, art lover, and avid reader, who loves living slowly at home in the beautiful Norwegian forest.
colsie (kol-zee) / origin: Old Scots for ‘cosy’
Welcome to A Colsie Moment, our blog series that features questions and answers with inspiring people about what slow living can look like in all aspects of life. From career to family to cooking to designing to mental health, we're dedicated to exploring what it means to live an intentional, happy life using the simple magic that already surrounds us.
Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from, where are you now, what do you do and all that good stuff?
Hello! My name is Stefie, a believer, an art lover, and a reader from Norway. I live with my husband in a little city on a mountain side, very close to the forest. My wonderful husband is a Norwegian and I am Indonesian. We met in a bible college in Australia in 2012 and married in June 2014. I am a small business owner, a self-taught graphic designer, a content creator over at @stefiereads, and also very much passionate about photography. In my free time, I love listening to music, making some crafts, taking even more photos, reading and singing.
I grew up in a big city that was always crowded. The road I lived on was quite small but very close to a street traditional market. It was filled with rows and rows of fresh vegetables, fruits and other food stalls. Since it was always crowded, it always caused traffic, but remembering these things somehow make me feel homey. One of the things I love from the neighbourhood was the closeness & the warmth shared between neighbours. People would not hesitate to greet you & help when needed.
What do you love about Norway? And what does your perfect day look like?
Living in Norway is completely different from living in Indonesia. It is so peaceful where I live. I get to wake up with the sound of birds singing and enjoy quietness even in the middle of the day. In the evening, when the sun is set, the city lights start blinking, and the stars are awakened. A perfect view to end the day. I'm very grateful to be able to live close to nature and see it shifting as the seasons change right behind my window.
Autumn is my favourite season. There's nothing that I am not fond of when it comes to autumn. I love the yellow, orange leaves, misty morning, thick fog, heavy rain, pumpkin patch, oversized sweater, apple picking in my family house, apple pancakes, golden sunset, chai latte, warm coffee, a smell of cinnamon, spotting mushrooms and more. A few things I love to do: Collect dried oak leaves & pine cones, take a lot of walks in the forest, make some apple pancakes, and this is a must - read creepy stories.
What are some things you're currently loving?
Book | Small Spaces by Katherine Arden, Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee, A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa, Crooked House by Agatha Christie, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Song | I love different kinds of music genres. Basically anything cosy really. Adhitia Sofyan, Studio Ghibli Soundtracks, Arlo Parks, Hillsong Young & Free, NOTD, LANY, Oh Wonder, Imaginary Future, Novo Amor, Hollow Coves, The Paper Kites.
Website | Goodreads, as an avid reader, I use this website a lot. It's where I update my reads, and basically anything that relates to books. Pinterest is where I get my inspiration from by creating different mood boards based on the things I love. It is so much fun. Youtube, because I love watching music videos, booktubers, Indonesian short films, and so on.
App | Libby and Book Bites to borrow books. Lightroom to edit my photos. I also love Snapseed.
Quote | “If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that—warm things, kind things, sweet things—help and comfort and laughter—and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.” - Frances Hodgson Burnett
You're a super talented creative! Where do you find inspiration?
You guys are so sweet! Thank you very much! :)
To answer your questions, I believe that we can get inspiration from anywhere. From something that we have never seen before, something that we feel, something that we are familiar with, something that we see & hear, and so on. Sometimes we just need to see it from different eyes and perspectives. Nature has been one of the biggest inspirations for me. The colour, the texture, the feeling of just being in the middle of it. People and what they do are another inspiration. Words, music, images, are also the source of inspiration for me. Every little thing around the house turn into things I feel. Like the smell of coffee or the street after the rain, and fresh cut grass. These really inspire me.
What's your favourite TBCo. product?
First of all, TBCo. team! You guys are amazing! And I sincerely love you guys. At the moment, I have two recycled wool blankets and a few lambswool scarves. If I have to choose my favourite, I would go for your lambswool scarves because they are so soft. It always makes me excited for the cold seasons to arrive so I can wear it! But, the recycled wool blanket is also lovely. It keeps me warm in the coldest autumn / winter months!
What are some ways in which you intentionally practice slow living?
The meaning of living slowly as well as the practice are so different from person to person, from household to household. But for me, it is a time to wind down, to spend time doing things that make me happy, to be patient, to enjoy the process of something I'm doing, to step back and breathe, to live consciously, mindfully, and intentionally. It of course can be challenging at times, especially when we live in this fast paced world that constantly nags us to be faster, to work even harder, and so on. But I mean, until when am I gonna be able to follow that speed? I can’t keep up. It is too exhausting. Now look, I am not saying that being fast and efficient is a bad thing. I think being fast and efficient is necessary in some situations. What I am trying to say is that constantly living fast, trying to keep up with everything. It's just too much sometimes, so I am still learning to live at the right speed, not rushing things.
A few specific ways I try to live slowly are:
- I am more careful with the decisions I make with every purchase. For example, if I want something, I usually leave it for a few days or a week or more.
- I take time to do things I truly love like photography, reading, and making crafts. Like instead of picking up my phone, I pick up a book instead.
- Saying no to some events or invitations that I know would stress me out.
- When I hang out with my friends, I put my phone away. This is to show that I am being present and that I truly value the time together.
- Gardening: Grow plants from seeds rather than buying a grown plant, repotting plants, mixing the soil, etc.
- Take a long shower, with candle lights. The best way to wind down after a long stressful day.
- Watch the city lights, stargazing and the moon from my bedroom window.
- Write a handwritten card or letter.
- This is something that I want to do more of - Norwegian word of “friluftsliv” which means spending time outside in nature. How Norwegians loves nature is seriously admirable.
How do you make your home feel colsie (or as the Norwegians say Koselig)?
While being colsie/koselig/hygge is more about the inner joy and warmth gained from doing something that we love, I agree that surrounding and few things does help to make one place feel colsie. So here are the things I do:
- First, my home wouldn’t be colsie or koselig without my husband’s present. So, spending time with him is what makes the house and my life feels colsie! :D
- Lighting some candles during the autumn & winter
- I put throw blankets and cushions on the couch, and my bedroom, as well as the guest room/reading room. Something about cushions is just comforting.
- I always keep the fireplace lit in the winter season.
- A real Christmas tree. The scent! Oh the scent.
- Bookshelves. Book stacks. Anything with books basically. Books give me a sense of comfort and joy. Makes me happy just seeing them around.
- I put houseplants everywhere I can. I love being surrounded by them. It feels like I am close to nature.
- Make sure to not run out of firewood. Seriously! Having firewood stacked inside makes the house look very cosy!
- And the last but not the least, fairy light. I will never not use fairy lights. I love them so much!
All photos by talented Stefie!