The day our clay house became a church

Oh, what a day! Long longed for… And today was the day of transformation. Early in the morning our persevering friend Monika came and cut the curtains for the iconostasis. 

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Then she had to run to the kitchen to bake and prepare the dinner for all of us, because today we were expecting many visitors… Then I continued to do some sewing, of course we will have to prepare the curtains in a more proper way later on, but now, in a hurry we had to get them functioning!

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After a conversation about whether to only screw or  both glue and screw, Vincent and Lärkan attached the beautiful cross that Vincent has created for the royal doors:

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After a short lunch brake we were ready to start putting up icons. Lärkan started with the Platytera over the altar window. This beautiful icon is created in Etna, by the sisters at Convent of St. Elisabeth and sent to us. Today it “landed” on its future place:

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Above Lärkan is pressing the canvas to the wall after having glued thoroughly. Finally we put all other icons in place. Here Lärkan is checking the hight of the oil lamps that we have received as a gift from Convent of St. Philotei. Perfect lamps, and perfect number of lamps too: 4 for our small iconostasis:

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Note the perfect hue of the icon of St. Joseph! It seems obvious that he has monitored the whole development of this building and choice of  the hues of the paint of our walls! Now that this icon came up, mounted on the wall to the left of the iconostasis, it is obvious that it is exactly the same hue on his icon as on the walls!

Our friend Britt-Marie, who has planned and created the wonderful flowerbed outside the chapel also came today. She wanted to be part of the final preparations and also be present on the special event of “opening of doors” that will be conducted tomorrow. Now in the early summer she – and all of us – can enjoy the good planning she did already last fall; now several flowers are blooming. And today she even put some more plants in the flower bed. Here You see her in the midst of the “final touch”:

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In the early evening his Eminence Metropolitan Cyprian from Greece arrived, several monastics and the group of faithful laymen that travelled with him. Also many friends from the congregation i Stockholm came along. But when they all arrived i totally forgot my camera! During the night they all stay at the local hostel.

Busy days, and many small steps

We are so thankful to all our kind helpers! Without them this had not been possible! But with all their efforts it looks as we will have the little chapel – of course not all done or totally ready, but at least – in a presentable state this weekend. Share our happiness; look what is happening:

First, outdoors, the nice flowerbed has been mended after the little accident with the dumper. Aurelie and Jerome who have both been doing some really hard and heavy jobs around here, have now also mended the pretty little flowerbed:

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Indoors I have kept on painting. Now the iconostasis has got a few layers of egg oil tempera glazier and is getting a warmer hue – as planned – not looking so gray anymore:

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In the minimal sanctuarium in the background You see the altar that Jerome built and a couple of small tables that can be used when needed. The tables have been waiting for this purpose! They are tables that used to be in my parents home. They are both dead and some items from their home I am very happy to have. Now these small tables will find their perfect fulfillment!  Our dear friend Monika has kept on working with the fabric for the chapel. Here You see her testing the tablecloth for the altar:

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It is so wonderful that also Mother Philotei has contributed to the adornment of this little chapel! The tablecloth for the altar is from her!

And persistant Monika has been working, oh, dear… The curtains that she has been working on turned out not to be so good after all. The quality of the fabric did not work well… so after hours of cutting and sowing we anyhow had to accept that it would never work out nicely. Then as a companion to support her Vincent came along and they both went to a nearby city to find new and better fabric for the curtains. Then with her admirable perseverance she started all over again! Here in the lunchroom measuring the new fabric:

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As we know since long, Vincent is such a skilled handicraftsmen, and always ready to help! Look what he is doing now:

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This blue, old board that already has been in use for the whole iconostasis… the board that used to be the vegetable stand in our local grocery shop! There were still some small pieces left.Now Vincent has used these “leftovers” to…

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…create a “choir board” an “analogion” in the right hight for me! Wonderful!

There is no time to have it  properly painted in time, but at least IT IS CREATED! Possibly it will have some primer paint in time. Later it will receive its “future proper paint”.

Aurelie has spent quite some time to shine the coffee windows and the natural light glass between the tiny entrance room and the church room. In the future there will be tinted glass mounted above these glass blocks, but not this week…

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Harriet has helped, as always, with all sorts of tasks, here You see her sweeping the floor of the chapel now that we have started to tear down plastic from walls and take away protecting paper:

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And I myself have among other things continued to paint… Here busy with the now finally dry last parts of the skirting boards in the minimal sanctuarium:

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Soon we will move on to the embellishment of the chapel… I can´t  wait!

Many persons helping out with many details

You might remember having seen a couple of weeks ago that Jerome worked with the skirting boards of the chapel.  A few days ago it was time to continue that part of the work: 100_1617

The reason that these boards are a bit unconventional is of course because the whole house is unconventional, and also assymetrical! No way that we could mount “regular” wooden skirting boards. And after my son Hannes idea to use bendable MDF-boards that were cut in long stripes this was the solution. To prepare for the next step in this work, Harriet and Aurelie covered the nicely glaced floor to protect it from stains:

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Then I tried if I could hold pieces of plastic while filling up with stones and then putting clay into the gap. But it was impossible to hold the plastic in place! So we had to continue with plastic on the walls too.

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Then it was time to blend a suitable clay mixture again. Note the chapel in the background! 100_1603

Then I could “smack” clay mixture into the “gap”: 100_1611

Aurelie was kind to keep me company  and did some cleaning of windows and the glass wall at the same time.

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This all was conducted a few days ago. In the meantime Lärkan could fill in some screw holes.

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Today both clay mixture and filling was dry and I could paint with egg oil foundation:

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Even more has happened: Our dear friend Monika has been shopping the fabric for curtains, and today she started to prepare:

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In order to keep up with preparations Lärkan and Erik found out a way to attach the curtain hangers on the back side of the iconostasis:

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Even more has happened: A few days ago Jerome did some nice work finding out a way to shape a piece of board to become the future altar:

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Today Lärkan and Erik cut out a template, or model, for the piece of glas for the little and asymetrical altar table:

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At the end of the day they went to our nearest city and talked it through with the glazier who promised to produce the glass.

Friends from Church visiting

Today some laypeople that we often meet at the convent payed us a visit. They we going further up north to their summer house. A few days ago they visited the Convent where the sisters had prepared several icons for us. Elisabeth and Zacharias took all this icons along in their car and today they payed us a visit.

First we had a stroll up to the chapel.

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Also on this picture You see that I today have glazed the iconostasis. Here Elisabeth is looking at the little chapel:

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After a while we sat down in the lunchroom in our course area and opened the wonderful package that the sisters had prepared and now Zacharias and Elisabeth brought here:

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All icons were amazing, but of course one made me extra happy to see:

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The icon of Holy Joseph!

Outside the chapel some improvements too

A couple of weeks ago we had hired a man with a dumper and a tractor for a couple of days. One of the things he helped us with was to “deliver” some gravel up to the surroundings of the chapel.

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Then he just dumped it around the chapel. I asked him not to drive so close to the walls.

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So after that day it looked like above. Now Jerome has done a very nice job with cement around the foundation:

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Look at the wonderful result:

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Today the cement was dry and Aurelie volunteered to do the raking:

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Unfortunately the dumper, when delivering the gravel accidentally backed into the flowerbed and did some damage. That we will handle another day soon.

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Painting again

As I have told previously, there has been some “mending” of the paint on the iconostasis. Because of screw holes and other such damage on the surface we have been forced to do plastering and painting several times. Then as a result the surface that should be the “bottom” of the paint have been patched. (Not the foundation but the first layer of the planned hue.)

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As You can understand this was not what we wanted! So I decided to paint it all again. But, now there is the nice floor in place, the floor that we do not want staines on… So we had to cover the floor:

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I am thankful that Aurelie was helping me:

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Also in the tiny sanctuarium:

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Before the others left me alone to paint in the chapel we had a look at the little pretty cross that Vincent created yesterday and I started to glace:

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We were having a discussion about if it should be painted darker or left a bit “golden” like this. We decided to wait with decision until the painting of the iconostasis is completed. We also had a conversation about another little piece of ornament that we have found:

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Essentials indoor

Now we have the blessing of receiving help from four nice volunteers. One of them is Vincent who has taken time to come back to us again. We feel very honored by this. Also Aurelie who was also here two years ago has come to spend some weeks with us. She also brought her boyfriend this time, whom You saw  on a post the other day. Every day now we are so thankful for many efforts that are being done. Among other things they all work with different essential details in the chapel.

For example, today Vincent sawed and sanded a very nice plain and sandy little cross that will adorn the royal doors. Here You see him testing the not  jet totally finished cross it in place for the first time:

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Then we had a little discussion, Vincent, Lärkan and I about the hight of the cross:

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After a little while we came to a decision that we are content with. After that Vincent finished the shaping of the cross and sanding it. Finally late in the day I started painting it. In some days I will reveal to You how this detail is developing!

Also today some floor skirting had finally dried and Lärkan could attach them:

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Some details

When we moved to this farm, four years ago, we found a wooden ornament left in the barn behind some planks. It might have been the decoration of a wooden sofa, or bed, who knows? It has been laying waiting and we did not know where to use it. But a few weeks ago we came to think of this pice of ornament…

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Lärkan has very carefully cut of the both ends and with precision cut it in two pieces. And look where he now has mounted it:

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Here it is glued to the Royal doors. He has prepared the back too so the ornament will be strong:

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I myself have continued to paint, mostly filling in with foundation and first layer of the egg oil tempera on all small spots where screws have penetrated the surface. And it just happened that our friend Monika came up to the chapel and took a photo of me painting.

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One new kind volunteer, Jerome from France, that helps us with many things this month, has prepared the boards that will cover the gap between the floor and the walls. Here the gap is filled with small pebbles. Next week we plan to cover the top.

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