Preparations during fall

Someone asked me for a close up photo on the beautiful flowerbed that Britt-Marie has created outside the chapel. Here it comes:


You can see that the frost-nights that we have had already has changed the hue of the leaves of several plants, but it is still very beautiful. And Jet, this is only the beginning… next year we expect it to be much more colorful with all the different plants blooming and more established, expanded and “filling” in the bed.

We are continuing with preparations to finally – soon – mount the “crown” of the building: the beautiful little lantern that Jonny has created for the chapel as a wonderful gift. Jonny is by profession a window carpenter.

After conversations with the tin-smith we had to create some sloping surfaces so that the snow and rain will not stay on the roof, that would be a huge risk. So, lately my husband “Lärkan” together with Bertil  – a friend that that we have hired lately  to help us finish several building-tasks before the winter – have worked with the “foundation” of the lantern.


Here You see what they are doing:


They are creating a tiny “slope” so that the rain and snow will not stay but continue to pour down the roof. When the lantern has been placed up there, this tiny slope will get some tin windowsills.

And today I got a nice mail from Eric who is preparing to build on top of the hat of the lantern, to create a small onion shaped dome.

It is far from designed yet, he is only “bulking up”  the volume. But You can already see it coming!  It will become a tiny dome!

Oh, how many nice efforts that has contributed to what is little by little turning into the beauty of the tiny blessed chapel of St. Joseph up here in the wilderness.



Hoping for a onion shaped dome

The wonderful lantern that Jonny built earlier this summer and sent us is now little by little being prepared to put up on top of the roof of the chapel. But there are still several steps to be taken.

The windows are perfected. And Jonny has prepared a “tray” for them, and all small details to put them together. He has also prepared a hat that is fine, a hat to be put on top of the windows.  But I can´t help but dreaming of a uonion shaped dome… Oh how pretty it would be…   The beautifully barred eight windows in their octagon tray on top of the little chapel will be so pretty. And to continue to build ON the hat that Jonny has made to create  a onion shaped little dome would make it even better….

I have lately spoken to some tinsmiths… but oh, how expensive that would be to have one of them produce a dome in metal… Then I investigated a lot about building it in papier maché and putting glass fibre on top and finally paint it with boat varish… Possible… And we had started to wonder where I could build it… because it then will be too big to take out of a room – through a door – and it is too cold now to create it and dry it outdoors… How to do it then?

But all of a sudden we had Eric here for a lecture on Permaculture and Food foresting… And Eric – in addition to knowing a lot about Permaculture – is a sculpturer… And today we had a talk about how he would be able to build something on top of the hat that Jonny has made.  Great! We came to an agreement and eric prepared to bring the “hat” home.




It was impossible to fit it in his and Ulrikas car in the back seat as he had planned, well lets try it in the hatch then!


No matter HOW Eric tried… the car was too small… or the hat too big : )

Finally he put the hat by the road and left.  A little while later he returned, now together with Ulrikas father and his little truck.


Finally the hat was on its way to be moved to their workshop!

Now we wait eagerly for information on how the work is proceeding.  I am very happy thinking that my dream of an onion shaped tiny dome looks to come true.


Today, the day after the first night frost this fall .. the day that is also the nativity of our most Holy Theotokos, was the day when my friend Britt-Marie came here with her car almost filled with plants!  Jonas and I had prepared the rock bed yesterday, with non woven cloth to stop the roots from weeds to come up…  also we had put in a lot of manure, hay and a lot of soil in the rock bed.

When Britt-Marie this morning had unloaded her well filled car it looked like this:


She had done a very good planning. The latter few days she has visited  few gardens that belongs to some of her friends that had given her permission to pick a few plants here and there. She also took plants from her own garden and finally she had visited a flower shop.

After looking through all the bags and pots and talked through which were high plants and which were low, which ones needs more space and so on, then we started to place out plants. We discussed some and prepared with water and more soil. After a few hours the sheep and their guardian dog Kalle came to look at what we were doing close to their paddock:


Finally after a lunch break and a cup of coffee and about six hour of effective work we were very content with the result:


Can You imagine that it is all together 45 different types of flowers! Britt-Marie has made a fantastic planning so that there will be something blooming from early spring until late fall!  Almost all the flowers will bloom in white and pink shades, some purple and in addition a few blue highlights. Also many plants have very interesting leaves, many of them are melange or have other patterns that are pretty to look at also when there is no blooming flower on that plant.

What a nice gift to the chapel. A gift to venerate St Joseph! And at the same time a “birthday gift” to his betrothed Maria Theotokos!  Britt-Marie, we are so thankful for Your dedication to this task! Your work will bring joy to us and adorn this area outside the chapel many many days in years to come! May God bless You for this!

many small steps

About a week ago all the volunteers that were here  then helped out and on top of the foundation of egg oil tempera on the inside walls of the chapel, we painted a color that was chosen and agreed on. Here You see Clara playing around a bit and bringing the paint on in the shape of a lama or maybe a bird of some kind : )


Of course we all made it smooth and even before finishing. Although, when that first layer of colored paint had dried it was not at all the nice hue that I, and everyone else had expected. The Red Ockra – that is one of several pigments in this mix of pigments –  in this surrounding, with this light, on the clay walls painted with the foundation became far too pink. I was quite puzzled for some days…  I talked to my “eggoil-tempera-mentor” Nillan Molin, who runs “TEMPERAHUSET”. I talked to Sr. Magdaleni at the convent of St. Philotei about how to go on? … I had received the blessing from Bishop Kyprinan for the color I had chosen… but it turned out FAR too pink… I could not bare the thought of visiting  the chapel daily for many years being painted in the color of a dental plate….

After quite some days, prayers and more phone calls, we came to a solution: another blend of pigments with egg oil tempera was used as a thin layer of glaze upon this pink… And finally today i had the possibility to accomplish it.


Here Jonas captured me glazing with the mild thin yellow blend and at the same time ogling at something else : )

Shortly thereafter I had the chance to capture when Jonas was crawling on the floor and filling out some small holes in the foundation.


What an angle ! Poor Jonas, all red in his face from working upside down! But it was so good that he did this long postponed adjustment. Soon we will prepare for the wooden floor and then it is too late to fix this. So today was a perfect day for this! Now we are drying out the small lumps of clay that he fitted in some small cracks, at the same time as this glazing paint is drying with the help of  an electric fan. On this picture – at least on my screen – the wall looks very yellow, but our impression is that it is a mild golden beige, actually i got the idea that it looks like “warm summer air” . I think that we have done the best out of the situation that occurred. It is not so easy to predict what the result will be with natural pigments…

The latter few days Marcus has done a wonderful job to prepare for a flower bed outside the chapel.


The last thing he and Julia together with Jonas and me did was to “arm” the stone walls a bit with a clay mix.


Now, both Clara, Marcus and Julia has left. Our persevering volunteer Jonas, who has been here since mid June, except for a short vacation in July is still around and helping out with all sorts of strange tasks…

Now we are looking forward to Saturday when my dear friend Britt-Marie is coming here with many plants and flower bulbs…  She is the most talented with flowers that I know of… And now she will give her “magic touch” to the area outside the chapel!

The flowerbed is situated so that You look at it when walking up to the chapel. Also when coming out from the little chapel it will be the first sight.

Preparations for the cupola; inside of the lantern

Oh, how happy I am… little by little we are coming closer to some very special “milestones” in our building project, building process…

Last night i got a wonderful picture by mail:

Sr. Lydia printr

Sister Lydia, at the Convent of  Saint Philotei, in Grillby, Sweden, is here checking the printing of the first icon that they print on their new exclusive printer. It is the Pantocrator Icon to adorn the ceiling of the lantern in the tiny cupola of Chapel St. Joseph.

I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw the picture. And my inner joy continues to overflow as I think of the future sight in the Chapel. The Icon will be placed 5,5 meters up, in the lantern.

Today our kind volunteer Clara from England painted the first layer of white paint on the flat octagon that will be the top of the lantern, the piece on which the Icon will be mounted, facing down.

8-kantiga plattan

I also over mail got the picture of all three pieces of the icon when they all were printed:

tredelad pantokrator

This beautiful Icon is originally painted by sisters at the Convent of Saint Elizabeth in Etna, California, USA.

Tomorrow my husband will go by car to visit the Convent in Grillby and pick up the wonderful printed Icon that the sisters have decided to give as a gift to Chapel St. Joseph!

I guess You now can understand my joy ?! Many small steps, and so many kind persons contributing…. But it will be many days, maybe even a few weeks still, until we get the lantern in place on top of the roof. Several small details has to be taken care of before my husband will climb up on the roof with all the different pieces and mount them all together… But  thanks to the grace of our Lord – step by step we are getting closer to our goal: a beautiful little Chapel, a house build for prayer…

: )

Painting the ceiling and foundation on inner walls

The latter few days we have been blessed with help and other good circumstances so that we have been able to  accomplish a lot of painting. First the ceiling. Earlier this summer Jonas and Bruno did quite a job to kill the mold that had grown on the planks of the ceiling. Unfortunately the planks were too wet last fall when we put them up and during the winter it turned out bad. So we had to use some detergent that we do not like.. But we had to get rid of the mold. Of the same reason now we had to use a chemical paint that we really do not like… but to prevent mold from coming back…


Here you see Julia climbing on a load bearing beam and painting with the not nice smelling paint… But the result is very nice, beautiful white. And after a few hours it did not smell any more. So today we could continue with the nice paint, the one that we really like: the egg oil tempera. Of course first the foundation that will give the perfect adhesion for the color tone that soon will be painted. But today it is only the foundation:


Above You see Clara painting the upper part of the wall above one of the windows next to the entrance door. And below You see my husband giving me a little bucket with the foundation paint:


When I had my evening prayer in the chapel tonight it was obvious that the chapel is slowly but surely coming forward in the direction of our goal…  It was beautiful to see the walls unified with the foundation paint and the light ceiling above it – even though the mask tape is still on all windows and coffee jars and the paint equipment and ladders all around.


Assembling the lantern to test it

The latter few days we have been blessed with the possibility of working  with several preparations on the chapel.

On thing is that Lärkan has been assembling the different parts of the lantern to test it. He did that in one of our barracks that we hope soon will be a workshop.



Piece by piece he put together the wonderful work that Jonny had produced and sent us as a wonderful gift.



Lärkan assembled all eight window pieces with the fine laths that hold them in place. Jonny has prepared it so well! Here they are all standing on that square that is perfectly sized to fit on the edges of the square hole in our roof. The inner hole of this flat is octagonal. So the future view in the chapel, when looking up will be octagonal.

On the top of the lantern will be put a “lid”, a “hat” . The final, future upper shape of that one is not totally agreed jet, but today it looks like this:



On the “downside” of it, the inside, we hope to put up an icon of Christ called Pantocrator, the icon that most often occupies the space in the central dome of an Orthodox church. On this surface that is:



And that has to be done rather soon, since we will have to glue the icon to the wood and then carry each part of the lantern up on the roof. Finally, balancing high up there Lärkan will have to assemble it all together again up on the roof. It will not be possible to bring it up in one piece.


Finally: peach complexion

Thursday and friday the last few days of August, we had a workshop. Again under the guidance of our best clay teacher, Ulf Henningsson. Now it was tíme – finally – for the little chapel to get its final, protecting layer on the outside. We do love the “elephant gray” natural color of the clay from our piece of land. But since we really want this little chapel to be well kept for many years, as little torn by weather as possible, we had decided to give it a final protecting coat with not only clay but something more in it to keep it long lasting.

Lime is tricky in connection with clay. One type of lime can practically destroy several of the good qualities of clay, while the other type of lime “marries” with the clay.  But as usual, Ulf knew the solution. He had informed me of what lime to order. And wednesday evening he arrived to guide us. But since the lime would give the gray clay a much whiter hue – and a building that communicates that it is cold is not what we really need… we decided to also blend some pigment into the mix. So we chose the old fashion Swedish traditional paint, red from the copper mine of Falun, not far from us.

Thursday morning we spent quite some time by the blending machine to figure out a suitable mix, taking into consideration that it will be much lighter when dry…


Several times we blended and discussed… many nuances were tested… And this time, since the mix contained lime it was compulsory to use gloves.


Here You see  Jonas working around the coffee windows:


A new friend has arrived, Clara, from Great Britain. She will stay with us for a little more than two weeks. And already her first day she was in full action with the clay, here working with the delicate task of finishing the edge close to one of the windows.


We also had three participants that has never been here on courses or workshops before. Below You see Ulla and Peter working.


Since it was lime in the mixture we also were forced to work under  certain time pressure… in order to have it plastered on the wall before the lime in the mix would chemically harden. That problem you never have with mixes containing only clay. It was a bit stressful, and the lunch got several hours delayed…Our wonderful friend Monika who was cooking to provide us with food was very patient .. so all went well!

For once it was not only me who took the camera, so even I was depicted:


On the picture above You see how nicely Julia had prepared all edges of windows, even each coffee jar in order to get the edged nicely perfected. And on the picture below You see how she completed her task by afterwards ripping off all tape and looking to it that all edges were perfected and clean:

beskuren Julia

Ulf supervised the work all the way and at times took care of us by serving some refreshing spring water:


By the end of the two days the little chapel had got its “peach complexion”. Here it looks far too dark, because it is wet. When dry we expect it to look very good. We are very thankful for the wonderful work completed. All kind helpers; THANK YOU and full of joy we thank our Lord for good weather and blessed companionship.