30 December 2014

This little year

Photos from Christmas day

Christmas has passed and we're coming closer to New Years Eve.
This year has been difficult when it comes to my creative side. I've taken a break from all "musts" and I've tried to let go of the thoughts were I force myself to create for others. Thinking this would be the trick for unlocking new, more interesting, projects hidden inside me.

But suddenly all my little ideas have vanished, I'm sitting there with my idea-block only to realize that I simply have no ideas. I get sad. Then I get angry. Is this my fault? Should I be blaming it on someone or something else? That's easier than blaming myself I guess. Is my job ruining my personal creativity? Or am I simply out of ideas? Forever? Is that possible? The less I create the more scared I get of it. Suddenly I don't stroke paint brushes with this tingling sensation in my body but with fear.
Although I'm blessed with knowing many creative people, I don't know someone who's feeling like me at the moment. Someone who's simply scared about the ideas and the creativity disappearing.

That's the creative part.
A part that I'm more happy about is a psychological one. After university I've been looking closer into why I tend to worry more than others, I want to work with this while I'm young. Being sensitive is important in many aspects, but my worrying was starting to get pointless.

During the past months I've developed a way of working with my thoughts where I simply drop the useless ones. I don't need to think about this, the thought doesn't help me in any way - so bye thought. It's like when you meditate, you just see the thoughts and let them pass. It might sound like nothing but it's been great for me :)

A big base in finding inner peace is learning to control and focusing on your breathing. So yes, calming your breath calms your body – but it doesn't change your thoughts. It's important to have this in mind. To work on both your breathing and your thoughts.
However, I've always hated all breathing exercises. Really, all of them. Meditation and yoga didn't help my breathing either. I just got annoyed, this controlled breathing was just shouting at me you should be calming down now, halluuu? Get calm!!
It didn't give me peace. Duh. Starting meditation or yoga with that goal just failed. However, during april this year I started going to hot yoga (moksha, not bikram) in order to fix my lower back that was starting to protesting against sitting in a chair all day. I hear you back, it's no fun! I also had to fix some neck-problems due to almost breaking it in a diving-class I took during spring (in attempt to letting go of fears... maybe jumping from 7,5 meter up helped - not sure yet).

The hot yoga was fun and more challenging than regular yoga without heat so I kept going even after my back was fixed (hot yoga pretty much fixes every single back problem, the studio is filled with success stories). In the heat, you have to learn to breath slowly through the nose, otherwise your breath will run away and you'll get exhausted. So, I'm finally learning how to control my breath by staying in the postures. A much more effective and fun way to learn about breathing.

Psychology in Sweden often turns to CBT, Cognitive behavioral Therapy. But there is a new method, friends with this one, called ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. There's a really popular book about this by Russ Harris (The happiness trap) which I recommend to any- and everyone. CBT is a lot about changing the way you think. ACT makes you realize that thoughts are just thoughts and helps you make them silly and stop taking them so seriously. So in other words, it helps you accept things as they are. Which has been a much more effective way for me.

Hmm... and actually having written this I realize that what I've learned about my mind might have been a bigger achievement this year than if I'd produced more pictures.
So, let's welcome the new year – I've got no idea what I'll learn this time. 

25 December 2014

Saying goodbye

You were our little sunshine.
You were the one who made our home feel like a home. You gave heart and soul to our house. You were the first thing in our mind when we opened the front door. You made us laugh. You calmed us down. You gave us happiness in the simplest of ways. You were perfect just the way you were.
You getting sick was unthinkable. You had to get better, it simply couldn't end bad. You had half of your life left. We fought for you, week after week, never loosing hope. And just when we though things were getting better, it got worse. Although the tests had shown that you didn't have a tumor, it became clear that the results had been wrong. Your muscles were getting weaker and the bleeding had started again. None of us wanted to make the decision, but we knew you couldn't tell us if you were in pain or not, and it feels like we wanted to believe you weren't for our own sake. So we had to do what we believe was best for you, and not for us.

All I wished for christmas this year was that you would heal. Although you left us on the 12th of december, you will forever be in our hearts and in our minds. We love you.

09 December 2014

Tote bag

My tote bag, from Society6.
At first, I was't sure I liked it. But now I do :) The print on the pillow cases is more sharp - but this is printed on really tough fabric which has been great for when I go grocery shopping.

If you use this promo link you get free shipping and 5$ off every item, until sunday.

06 December 2014

Ceramic things


Me and Robert took a ceramic class this autumn. Throwing pottery (drejning) was really tricky - I gave up fast while Robert stayed at it.
I quickly decided to create freely with no expectations. Now class is over and here's a few of my favorite things I made.

26 November 2014

Blue village

Oh, I made a new illustration of a village. Just forgot to post it on the blog - it's a little confusing with Facebook and Instagram being involved. Not sure witch media to pick really.
I've thought about trying to create this into a kids wallpaper, I'll see how that would work. 

23 November 2014

My pillowcases

Good morning!

I think Society6 has added too many products that you can print on. I thing for example rugs, shower curtains and clocks are rather unnecessary in the shop. If I could recommend any products - it would of course first hand be an actual art print or the pillow cases. I also think cases and skins for phones, iPads and computers are really nice. I ordered some things on the 9th of november and received them 21st november here in Sweden (from USA, and luckily no toll either :).
So if you're looking for a christmas gifts there is still time to order!

09 November 2014

03 November 2014

Free shipping + $5 off each item!

My shop has a great offer at the moment, especially nice now before christmas.

Free shipping and $5 off everything!
It goes until november 9.

All you have to do is use this promo link

29 October 2014

Hedvigs picture

A friend of mine recently gave birth to a daughter and asked me to illustrate a picture for her where there was information about her daughters birth. This is a part of the illustration, I've removed some text when showing it online. The original is square, like most my pictures. 

I tried changing from black ink to blue crayon this time. It was frustrating in a way because I had to sharpen the pen all the time and it just got smaller and smaller and smaller....
I really appreciate a sharp tip you see. 
But ink can be so harsh, it's difficult to make subtile shades. 

02 October 2014

30 September 2014

Thinking about braids

So… I started this braid photo project.
But it sort of failed. One problem is that I have no space to shoot in our small apartment (we are looking for bigger as we speak) - so I had to go to my dads house to have space. And that wasn't always ideal. I had to borrow flashes from work and dragging them with me on the train and then to my dads was also a craphouse.
I needed to have girls with long-ish hair, and that I did not have. I had myself. And my hair was getting too heavy for me to stand. So now it's cut and I've got these flat bangs that don't look like they should.
Uff, I hate starting projects and then everything becoming messy and no fun.
But the more you have to depend on location, your own appearance and having the right stuff...the less fun it gets. 

25 September 2014


Found him sleeping under the roses.

24 September 2014


Children's workshop during Kulturnatten in Lund.
This was etched with a nail.
It's based on Lollo needing a diet and me cutting bangs.

19 September 2014

10 September 2014

05 September 2014

Our little Lollo

Lollo is at the hospital today, waiting for another surgery.
He's bleeding from his stomach, and we don't know why.
And it's just about the worst thing, seeing him ill.

 Make sure you get your cat an insurance, that's a hot tip at the moment. 

03 September 2014

"The Hair" submissions

Hi girls!

So fun to see your contributions! I've picked some of my favorites, and I'm gonna allow myself to comment them too... I hope you don't mind!
I made my photo (top) in a small hurry and didn't really surprise myself with the result. But, I do like the shiny-ness I got in the hair. Or rather, in the hair-helmet.

Lauren McGlynn
I chose this one first because I think Lauren did a great job with light and color. I do think it's a little annoying that the hair goes over her upper lip (it would be more harmonic a bit lower) but composition isn't always as important as color and light! Make sure the skin on your model isn't magenta! That's so important for the right mood and balance. And I think the skin is very good here and the sun flare is just soft enough.

Tanja Lundin
Great depth in this one! And I like how the girl looks like a precious fruit. Since she has such a kind face the lipstick really works for the photo. I also like the matte calm colors. No magenta in the skin tone :) If I could comment anything it would be that perhaps the brightness in the top left corner steals a little attention for her face, but it's toned down already so it isn't a biggie.

Iris van Vliet
If the last girl was like a fruit, this girl is like a lion. I like the fierceness in her gaze, and I appreciate the drawings on the face.
If I could give any tips, it might be to matte it down a bit. To put some sort of blue or reddish color in the blacks of the picture. So that the contrasts aren't so hard.

Signe Fuglesteg Luksengard (tumblr)
This one is from my homegirl Signe. She's always doing something unexpected nowadays. I've always liked how she mixes red and purple tones, I've seen it before in some of her photos. I thought this was an interesting way to solve the task. Fun to really focus on only the structure of the hair. Maybe it would have been great to see these three sets with three different hair types and with a tad more clarity in the actual hair :)

Gemma Driessen
Gemma also focused a bit more on the actual hair. I thought it was really cute how she made it as water and placed a little paper boat in it. I think the photo could have had some darker colors and maybe a little less contrast. It's a great idea to keep working with!

This photo is funny and sweet. I love using masks :)
I appreciate a direct flash combined with warm tones. It's simple and real somehow. And I also like that the dark areas is tinted blue and not pitch black.
Hot tip from Uli would be not to have a tree behind the head. It will always look like you've got a tree-hat on. But once you've learned this lesson, you often never do the same mistake again. That's how it was for me anyways.

Humle Rosenqvist
I think the photographers name goes so well together with the picture. I don't know if this is a self-portrait, but the girl sure looks like a Humle Rosenqvist (what a pretty name).
I like how it's so bright and sad. It feels like a girl from a Jane Austen book. Worried she'll never find a husband. The little bow in the hair does so much to ad to the mood. Without it the picture would loose it's vintage touch. If I would edit it I'd remove some of the red tones in the skin and maybe made her even brighter.
(If my readers don't know how to edit red tones, a quick way is to mask the face (ad some feather) - go to "selective color" - choose red - drag down the magenta. Sometimes doing this in the yellow channel can also help.)

Marie Nielsen
Sweet and simple. The fabric of the dress works great with the lines of the door. I would have loved if the model was more symmetrical to the door though, I think that would have made it more peaceful :) 

27 August 2014


Me and my favorite guy ♥
Robert doesn't like his striped T-shirt though. I think he's super cute in stripes. But he doesn't agree. Also he says it itches (because it's in linnen fabric). That part I do understand because it does have an itchy texture. Oh well, at least we were stripy one night for this picture :)

23 August 2014

Birch forest

I’ve been thinking about the hair assignment and I’m actually having trouble deciding on what to shoot. I’d like to surprise myself… not do anything too predictable. Heh, easier said than done. I’m really hoping that you’re keen on the assignment too, I’d love to see your contributions.
I’m also working currently on a braid photo project which is why I’m extra interested in hair at the moment :)

I shot this photo in the birchforest last Saturday. Some of the branches were cut down and had been laying on the ground just long for the leaves to dry a little.  So the whole place smelled like a luxurious sauna. It was great. I thought I would be alone so I could shoot this but I discovered that there was actually a path further down the forest so now and then people came by. But not too often…which had to mean the path wasn’t popular.  It was marked with white dots. So after photographing and getting 3 ticks I picked 1,5 liter blackberries and went looking for the white path.
The weather was perfect. . It was 17 °C, cloudy, and I felt like one with the air.  I wore jeans and a thin cotton sweater that barely touched the naked skin underneath. And NO bag. This is a big thing for me. I always have a super stuffed kånken backback – wherever I go. Packed with heavy camera, extra sweater, water, hairbrush, book etc. But now I only wanted the weight of my own body. I tiptoed around the berry bushes into the white path. It was strange. I’ve been in this forest so many times and never noticed this. It went the opposite way that I always do.  

I came into a beautiful open field with a few trees and bushes. I climbed an oak tree and smelled the last summerair. Then the field formed into a hill and the view showed fluffy white cows. The path was really cozy. I found mushrooms and a larger pond with waterlilies, and eventually ended up right where I had been photographing. 
Always great finding new places in a place you thought you'd already explored. 

19 August 2014

Reader assignment: The Hair

Photos from pinterest

My dear creative readers!
Remember we did a few assignment some time back? We had a Blue theme, A magical place and a Literature theme?
I feel like I've lost touch with my readers, since no one comments so much anymore it doesn't feel like such a crowded place anymore. I though a new assignment could be fun, so I learn more about you and also I know many of you are crazy talented. And I'd love to do this task together with you.

The theme is: "The Hair"
It can be anything from crazy hair in the wind - to a photo of hair covered in flour. It can also just be a nice hairdo captured in a nice way. You don't have to have yourself in the photo (although I do like self-portraits :) The hair doesn't need to be the main element in the picture either. Be creative with the theme! 
And - it's about the hair on the head (beard also counts)- not the hair on the rest of your body.
I'm giving this two weekends and setting the deadline on September 2nd. Create a new photo, the idea of the task it not to participate with old material :)

Theme: The Hair
Format: 600 px wide 
Deadline: 2 September
Submission: Send to info@ulrikakestere.com

Don't forget: To add name and homepage/blog link in your email with the photo

And as usual I'll post my favorite submissions on the blog!
If you've got any questions just post them in the comment field and I'll answer asap.

17 August 2014

A friday in august

 On a workday I have the alarm set for 07.10 A.M. That gives me 15 minutes to brush my teeth, braid my hair and get dressed. I later spend about 10 minutes to tiny-sleep next to Robert before I leave. He'll only be waking up in about an hour. Sometimes he's aware about the fact that I'm saying bye and sometimes he just looks really confused and mumbles things he later on doesn't recall saying.

 I bike 5 minutes to the train station to catch my train to Helsingborg (where I work). About a 30 minute ride. I have trouble finding books that I like, but now I'm reading Yann Martels Beatrice and Vergil on the train. I quite like it. There are a lot of animals in it. I like to sit in the quite department. Because there are girls on trains that chat really loudly and about really stupid things - so I always try to avoid ending up close to that kind of travelers because then I can't thing about anything but everything they're saying.

Just before 08.30 I should have ended up outside this building… if the trains haven't been tricky. I work at an ad agency and we're soon going from 8 to 7 people. So a very small one that is.

We recently had my photo of the two braid-girls enlarged in order to put on the wall at the office.  I sit on the chair with the scarf so I have the photo behind me. I still haven't found a place in the office were I'm truly comfortable sitting. Before summer I had been sitting with my back to the hall so everyone saw my screen all the time. I found it quite stressful. The funny thing is that if you comment on it everyone just says "Yeah but that's just because you wish you could sit and surf on other stuff"… which is so not true. No one likes when their screen is visible for everyone. So now I turned my desk so my screen is towards the wall, but I still have a colleague on my right that sees everything I do. Hmm… not really fair since everyone else has "screen-privacy" at the office. It was exactly the same at my last job. We were 25 people. Everyone had their back free except me. What the fudge?
I think I'm super sensitive about my work-space. We also have the radio on all day which makes it harder for me to concentrate. Oh well, but that's life I guess. Buuut - that one time I worked from home - gosh was it easy for me to focus then. Maybe I'm the kind of person who needs her own room at work.

We have two dogs at the office. The Airedale terrier Kajsa (shown on the picture) and a Grand Matiff named Teddy, but he wasn't in the office this friday. Kajsa is really happy and jumpy and sometimes eats my breakfast when I'm looking away (I eat my breakfast at work - hence the 15 minutes getting ready in the morning). Teddy is heavy and tired and looks rather sad most of the time. Even when he's happy that is. Teddy slimes a lot also. So if he comes over to check on you you're left with a wet mark somewhere.
We have a small balcony with a great view but no one hardly ever sits there(why?).

When lunch starts I often take a walk by the sea if the weather is ok. No one really eats lunch together at the office (I'm still not sure why that is, eating lunch by myself is a tad depressing). This friday I found a new pretty place by the rocks. It was just in-between warm and chilly - the weather not being able to make up its mind.

I found this weird fish on the street, dried already - called a Kantnål (Pipefish). It looked like a mix between a thin eel and a seahorse. I guess a bird had had it with him and then dropped it or something. It was a weird thing to find on the sidewalk anyways.

When there's nothing on my schedule waiting for me to doodle with I sometimes sit with my own stuff. At the moment I'm coloring a new village. Similar to one I've done before. But I do like having a pretty tight workload at work. Not so that I get stressed out (like when a production leader walks by every hour saying "Are you done yeeet?") but simply that I know what to do all day. Even though I'm allowed to illustrate if there's nothing else waiting - it's not always that I'm in that mood or in my "zen" to be creative with my own stuff.

On fridays we end work at 15.00 so I was home around 16.00 and then Robert and his friend Drew had made vegetarian lasagna. So we ate and then they took of and I was to be alone this weekend.

After the guys  left the rain started poring. First a bit confused - smashing in the sunlight. But then it got a little darker and the mood was right.

Since Robert was now gone I would give my love to the flowers instead. Otherwise it would just go to waste. At the moment we almost only have geraniums at the windowsill. They're old-lady flowers and the smell is said to be good for your health. Imagine that! Especially since they smell a little like an old lady.

I listened to some 60's music and doodled on a picture that didn't turn out so good. Ate a peach and figured the picture wasn't so important maybe (yeah right, I hate when things turn out crap). Just when I was getting into my flow (and it was easy that evening when the rain was smashing on the windows) I had to get going to see my friends. I usually don't drink coffee but if I'm to avoid yawning away at 22.30 I have to drink some before I'm meeting friends.

I met up with my girlfriend Vanja who I've known most my life and her boyfriend from Holland. They were making rhubarb pie. Three of my guy friends from the university days (when I studied Industrial design) also joined us.

The guys had brought various nuts so after eating cashews, pie with whipped cream and whatnot my stomach was in bad shape. Nuts after 21.00 is a no-no. My body is already preparing for sleep and has no interest in digesting food. Lazy bastard.
By the time the clock was closing on midnight I went back home.
And that was that day.