I have moved

You can mostly find me here these days instead. I'll do cross-posting for a while longer though.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ah well

The girls were looking forward to spend the day and night at their grandparents' but Sofia behaved very weirdly this morning.

She came halfway up the stairs this morning and just tood there and cried. When I asked what was the matter she just shrugged and wouldn't or couldn't say.

She said her tummy hurt and sure enough a few minutes later she threw up.

So I spent 45 minutes waiting on the phone for her grandparents to hang up so I could ask them to fetch Isabel instead of me dropping her off. No fun bundling Sofia up in the car to have her throw up in there, and I can't well leave her home alone.

Eventually they hung up and my FIL came and picked Isabel up.

Now we're hanging out on the sofa watching Cinderella and experimenting with rice cakes and water. So far she says she feels better.

So still no experimenting with the new sewing machine.


Ah well, time for that later.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All done

That's a wrap!

All wrapped up.

Herring mixed.

All food is prepped and ready to go.

Now, feet up, a cup of coffee and a slice of saffron cake while watching old episodes of Castle. Aah, good times.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Ugh - it's that time of year again.

New Years.

I should come up with a new banner for the blog.

The one I've had this year was a DIY desk calendar I photographed and put some text on. I made a banner for every month for a whole year so I could easily make the switch on the 1st.

I should really come up with something new. Maybe something sewing related.

Better get started on some ideas.

Cookie jar


I was helping my grandmother with some Christmas baking in November and came across this container in one of her cupboards.

It's gloriously vintage and while I don't normally go for vintage I can not resist a pretty tin cookie container.

I told her I really liked it and two weeks later she came to my house for turkey dinner and brought the container for me to keep.


This is what she had put inside.

The bottom layer contains currant fork cookies and almond biscotti. The top layer is rolled up lace cakes that she had made the very same day.

She claimed she wasn't using the container any longer (and it was empty in her cupboard when I found it) and she wanted me to have it.

It even has the original sticker on it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keys to the TARDIS?


It's no big secret that I love Doctor Who.

I've come late to it but I claim being Swedish for my defense and I'm sticking to that. It's not like they ever aired Doctor Who on telly here when I was a kid. (WHY???!?!?)

But I've seen it now and I love it to bits.

So last week when I came home on a particularly crummy day, I found a strange envelope in my mailbox.
In it was a TARDIS-key ring sent as a surprise from a sweet friend in Colorado. (Thank you Sandi!!)

It lives with my keys now and I love it.

Sadly it doesn't make my car any bigger on the inside ...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter is Coming

Plans for our solstice celebration are coming along nicely.

I ordered a few sheets of bees wax from a bee keeper up north and I plan to make some candle decorations from it to stick to a larger candle that we can light in the evenings.

We had an impromptu astronomy lesson with the girls on Saturday night when we looked out the window during dinner and discovered that it was a lunar eclipse.

It was fun. They seemed to get it so I suppose I kept it at the right level.

I ended the weekend with some sewing. I got the invisible zipper installed in Isabel's Christmas dress and was cruising along to get the pleats done so she could try it on.
That's when I discovered I had a hole in the shoulder seam that I needed to fix and when I put a pin in it to keep it in place for sewing I jabbed the pin into the joint on my thumb and didn't realise until too late that it was actually bleeding.
So of course I got blood on the dress.

It was sheer luck that the blood sort of rested on top of the fabric and wasn't soaked up so I managed to rinse it out with some cold water.

It's dried now so I'll see about those pleats tonight. Once they are done all there is left is the belt loops, belt, side seams, and hems. Easy peasy.
I'll see about making some kind of brooch for her or something nice to have in her hair. I bought a plain headband that I'm thinking about decorating somehow. It's not my forte so we'll see.

Once the dress is done I have to get started on the Christmas presents. It's just two so there's no panic. Yet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gnome party

Gnomes on moss

Instead of a Advent Calendar with mini-presents that cost an arm and a leg and are rarely used again after New Years I decided to use my small collection of gnomes and put one out each night.

We had a left over clay tray that I filled with moss and some candle holders and pretty glittery stars and I set one gnome out every night after the girls are in bed.

I tried to arrange them standing up, but they always end up like this, snuggled together in a big gnome heap after Sofia's been checking in on them.

I'm sure Isabel knows I'm putting them there but Sofia's not so sure.

My main problem now is that I only have 15 gnomes and we have 24 days to fill so I have to look for a pack of gnomes today at the grocery store.
Maybe a big one for Christmas Eve.

If all else fails I'll get them some mini figurines from Lego or Littlest Pet Shop.

It was a spur of the moment decision on Nov 30th that made me put it together, and the girls are enjoying it so maybe it'll be a recurring thing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I have wanted to do some celebrating on the Winter Solstice for a few years now. The Swedish word for Christmas is Jul which would be Yule in English.

Traditionally it has had nothing to do with Jesus and the church but it has been a celebration of the Solstice. The promise that light will return to us.

This is how sunrise/sunset happens in December. The decrease in the day is slowly grinding to a halt and around December 22nd the day is only 2 seconds shorter than the day before.
The solstice occur at 6:30 am and the next day is 6 seconds longer than Solstice Day.
Already in mid-January the days grow longer by 3 minutes a day.

I have looked around for a guide to how to celebrate it but found nothing that spoke to me. In Iran they celebrate Yalda on the Winter Solstice but their traditions all adhere to the local religion which I feel little connection to. So instead I have decided to make our own traditions.

I thought I'd make a saffron cake or a saffron wreath. The round yellow cake would be a reminder of the sun.
I know we'll need some lighting of candles and I have an idea to decorate a candle with suns and we'll light it every night until the Equinox in March or maybe even until the Summer Solstice in June.
I would give the girls something but I fear another gift exchange would be too much.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



It's 3:30 pm and the sun is gone. I think it still have a few more minutes before proper sunset, but the cloud cover is compact and it's raining and it's dark outside.

We're seeing a theatre recital with Isabel's class tonight. I had hoped to get something done on Isabel's dress for Christmas but it will have to wait.

Sofia's Christmas dress is all done. I'm working on the buttons for it and they'll be done tonight. Three more to go and then I have to sew them all on.

I'm not feeling at the top of my game either. I would like to dress in my jammies and crawl into bed early but I guess I'll have to buck up.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Countdown begins

I've started to think about Christmas food.

What to make myself, what to outsource to mum, grandma and auntie, what to buy ready made and what to skip this year.

This weekend the girls spent the night at their grandparents' and R and I got ahead on the Christmas shopping.
We bought the girls' presents and their new Christmas underwear. I got a cute top for Christmas Eve.

After that we went grocery shopping and I found a ham for Christmas. Usually they only sell the precooked hams that you glaze yourself, but I prefer to bake my ham.

My grandmother is making the lemon flavoured herring and I'll ask mum to make her curried herring and I'll make a roe herring.

There are cabbage dishes to make - I have red cabbage from last year in the freezer, grandma is making brown cabbage, and I'll do up a Savoy cabbage dish with cream and mustard that I've made a few times and love.

Dad made liver sausage that my parents and grandmother like, I'm not overly fond of it. Red beets to go with that.

I'll be making a Janson's Temptation which is a potato gratin with anchovies and onions and cream.

We are making a batch of meatballs this weekend and I'll get some mini sausages from the supermarket.

What else - a few kinds of bread. A large hunk of cheese. A vegetable egg dish - probably broccoli or sprouts. Boiled eggs. Gravlax perhaps or smoked salmon with mustard dressing.

My mum makes delicious eggs with anchovies and a cheese sauce - but I think we'll skip that this year.

For dessert we'll have rice porridge with raspberry sauce, and I plan to make a large batch of porridge so I can serve it plain (for dad) or mixed with yoghurt and cream as Rice a la Malta with vanilla infused Clementine wedges.

We usually gather around 3 pm for mulled wine or coffee and cookies to watch Donald Duck wish us all a Merry Christmas.
The Donald Duck thing was huge for me as a child since we rarely saw cartoons on tv during the rest of the year. That hour on Christmas Eve was sacred. I still really want to watch it.
It's short clips from various Disney-movies, Cinderella's dress is made by the mice and birds, Snow White and the Dwarves sing and dance, Lady and the Tramp eat spaghetti and meatballs. They also include a clip from a recent Disney or Pixar movie - last year it was from Tangled.

After it's finished at 4 pm we put out the food and eat all evening. Then it's time to do the dishes and then we open presents, usually some time after 6 pm.

I think it's doable. 19 days left.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Change of plans

Well, how did I do last night?

Most of my plans kind of went out the window when I came home to a very sad little Isabel who definitely didn't want to go to the stables. She's been hesitant about going for a few weeks and last night Rickard and she had a talk and what it boils down to is that we are letting her quit.
The classes were paid through January but she's been secretly crying because she doesn't want to ride. She even offered us money from her allowance to cover the fee we've already paid.

Instead Rickard took them all to the bath house for some swimming and playing and all was well. So I got two glorious hours to myself last night. I started the meat sauce and went upstairs to sew

So the results:
Bathe Sofia - she showered at the bathhouse
Meat sauce and spagetti - get sauce started and let simmer while bathing and puttering around the sewing room
Quilt the runner - I quilted a quarter of what I had left
Prep the Sophia bag and start sewing the lining
Napkins/placemats - start prepping
Find the Christmas/winter curtains
Dresses for the girls - decide on the patterns and take measurements to decide sizes
Big purse bag - pick fabrics
Double pocket purses - pick fabrics
Baguette clutch - pick fabrics
Isabel shower
Bedtime - find Julkalendern on SVT.se for the girls
Do some sewing until 9:30 pm then catch something on the telly with R
Bedtime before 11 pm please

There weren't a lot of sewing. Instead I decided to catch up on some telly that Rickard doesn't want to watch.

Instead I plan to decide on dress patterns with the girls this afternoon. I have a meeting with Sofia's daycare teacher to discuss her progress and then I'm picking up Isabel from school and we're headed home to a lazy Friday.
I even managed to figure out a dinner that wouldn't need me to go to the shops. Enjoy your beans on toast :-)

Isabel needs to clean her room and Sofia too, and I need to get organised in my sewing room so we'll probably putter around upstairs until R comes home.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dirty blog


Quick ugly blog post about what to do tonight so I might retain it all

Bathe Sofia
Meat sauce and spagetti - get sauce started and let simmer while bathing and puttering around the sewing room
Quilt the runner
Prep the Sophia bag and start sewing the lining
Napkins/placemats - start prepping
Find the Christmas/winter curtains
Dresses for the girls - decide on the patterns and take measurements to decide sizes
Big purse bag - pick fabrics
Double pocket purses - pick fabrics
Baguette clutch - pick fabrics
Isabel shower
Bedtime - find Julkalendern on SVT.se for the girls
Do some sewing until 9:30 pm then catch something on the telly with R
Bedtime before 11 pm please

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas stress

I started quilting a table runner last night. With a bit of planning I should be able to finish it tonight. I have the binding sewn up already so as soon as the quilting is done I'm good to go.
I plan to machine bind it so I can hang the matching winter curtains as well.

I'm also starting to panic slightly at the thought of Christmas. We're celebrating at our house this year so there is a lot to do and I just realised I need to start on the girls dresses if they are to be done before Christmas.

I have an Apple Picking dress planned for Sofia and either an Apple picking or Jump Rope dress for Isabel. I got some gorgeous Heather Bailey Pop Garden to make them up in.

I need to start a to-do list so nothing gets left behind.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Well, we survived the storm. The brunt of it went north of us and people are power less and my boss's new house (as in still being built) has a flooded garage that contained flat packs with his new bathroom furniture.

He was less than thrilled.

I sewed a little purse last night. It sounds really pretentious, but it was a kit I got at u-handbag.com and it was super easy.

Second purse ever

The colours are a bit off - it is November after all and I took this last night.

It fits my phone snuggly - I don't think I'll use it for that. It will be perfect for keys and credit cards, or for hygiene products. We'll see what it ends up like.

I got three more frames from Lisa at u-handbag.com and I have also ordered a bit more interfacing so as soon as that arrives I'll be able to make two more purses/clutches and one proper bag.

Not sure if one or more will end up as a Christmas gift. We'll see. Mum has been making comments about wanting something by way of a bag for a while - but no pressure.

I'm off in a bit to pick the girls up and figure out what to make for dinner. All our quick solutions were used up this weekend (potato hash and pancakes - not together) so I'll have to figure something else out.

We might end up with yoghurt and sandwiches ...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent weekend

We had a lovely day yesterday in the woods with Isabel's hiking group. It was the last meet-up before the holidays and parents and siblings were invited.

When Friday drew to a close with rainy skies and fog I was not looking forward to going to the woods, but Saturday dawned with clear skies and an almost balmy breeze with 10 C. Completely unheard of for late November.

The group's leader instructed the parents to saw up a fallen tree they had their eyes on to make up a fourth side around their hearth/fireplace. So we were all put to work pretty quickly.

We were lucky all day. There was no rain and the sun was out but you could tell it is late in the year since there was not much warmth in the sunshine and the breeze got chilly as soon as the sun disappeared behind a cloud.

We made a fire and grilled some sausages. I brought dough to make stick bread and it was all delicious. As food tends to be when you work for it and spend time outside making it.

By 2 pm we called it quits. The kids had beaten us at tug o'war. They were very strong but I think if the rope hadn't been tied to a tree trunk parents would have given them a good run for their money.

By the time we came home we all smelled of wood fire and it was nice to step into the shower to wash it off.

I ended up in bed for a while reading a book and the girls both trotted off to play by themselves.

Sunday we woke up to dark headlines in the news warning us about the coming storm and by now it's very windy. I realise it's nothing like the tornado warnings in the US, but it's bad not far from here.

We have had warnings of winds up to 30 m/s (58 knots - not sure what the preferred unit is) so this morning we called off swim classes and Rickard and Sofia spent some time outside securing stuff - among other things they brought the grill into the shed - along with 4 bikes, a complete set of winter tires for the car, a lawn mower and a work bench and there is still room left over - Yes Rickard played oodles of Tetris as a kid. He's the packing wizard.

I'm going to turn of the computer because we have seen a few lightnings in the clouds from all the wind.
The aeroplanes have altered their approach for both Malmö and Copenhagen Airports and are flying very low above us. They do that when it's stormy.

First light of Advent

See you all on the other side of this storm (it's supposed to taper off by 1 am so it should be alright by morning).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter is coming

Ven Island

We were invited to a castle for a Christmas celebration with my office. Before the party started we took a walk in the castle's garden which has a view towards Ven Island in the sound between Sweden and Denmark.

It's 3:30 pm in this picture. The sun is setting.

We are well over a month from the Winter solstice and the evenings are getting shorter still.

Darkness is setting in.

Winter is coming.

Doll bed

The doll bed in my last post has a bit of a story of its own.

It was originally made for my grandmother by her grandfather. Probably in the mid to late 1920s. My mother played with it I'm sure and by the time it passed to me it was painted a dark green.

My father repainted it cream one year in anticipation of a huge present I was about to get for my birthday containing a complete bedding set made for it by my aunt. I still have some of it.

The bed now lives with Isabel and my grandmother made new bedding for it but it is rarely made. Isabel uses it mostly for storage. She's not all that into dolls at the moment. At least not the kind you put to sleep in doll beds.

The bed is sturdy and will most likely see use from a fifth generation in time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blankets and my grandma


When Isabel was born my grandmother knitted this blanket for her.

She had made the same blanket for my cousin who is born in the late 80's and she claimed the pattern was made up from a blanket the Princess Diana had used for her newborn son Prince William.
She found it in a weekly magazine she read all the time when I was a girl.

The blanket is huge and rarely used. Isabel was a very warm child who always kicked off her blankets and got too hot if forced to use one.
I think she had it in her pram a few times when we were out for a Sunday stroll.


When Sofia was born in 2007 my grandmother had suffered a broken arm and could no longer knit such large items so instead she made up two doll's blankets based on the same pattern for both Isabel and Sofia.
The pink one is Sofia's.

I love that my girls will have a connection to my grandmother. I was almost 20 by the time my great grandmother passed away but she and I were never close. I'm sure she loved me but we never connected.

My grandmother however, is one of the most important women in my life. My parents were away a lot in the evenings when I was a child and I stayed with my grandmother and grandfather until I was old enough to be by myself, and by then I often visited them anyway cause it was so boring at home.

Until I moved into my own apartment in 1996 I think I visited them if not daily then at least 5 times a week.

My grandfather passed away in 2005 just a week after his 92nd birthday but my grandmother is still with us. She'll be 89 next spring and although not as spry as she used to be - she's started using a walker after a few nasty falls the past few years - she's definitely not one to slow down just yet. She's broken both her arms and last year she also fractured her pelvis after such a tumble. She was in so much pain before the doctors realised she had the fracture. It think it was well over a month after the fall before they figured it out.

Whenever we have a gathering I make sure to invite grandma. I hosted our annual turkey dinner on Saturday and she was there.
She always accepts the invitations with a heartfelt yes, "I'm so happy to be able to join you", and she loves the girls so much and it's one of her great joys to be able to be around long enough to get to know them and for them to get to know her.

She's also joining us for Christmas and I helped her make almond cups two weeks ago because "I'm not as fit as I used to be" she said. Then a week later she arrives for turkey dinner with two boxes full of cookies - ginger snaps, currant cakes, almond crisps and rolled lace cakes.
So much for not being as fit as she used to.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life altering

I think we decided this weekend not to get a Christmas tree this year.

We are celebrating Christmas at our house and there simply isn't room for it with 10 people in attendance.

Plus (and this really is the biggest reason), Rickard seems to be allergic to the tree since he usually gets an itchy feeling in the back of his throat the day after we bring the tree inside.

The girls were surprisingly ok with it and said it wasn't necessary. I'm a bit sad about it, but I hope to find some nice light garland to decorate a pillar/mini wall we have that could serve as a substitute.

I think I need to go to town to see what I can find.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Afternoon Tea


We went to Svaneholms Castle in late October to have Afternoon Tea with my parents.

The castle has a special place in our family history as both my parents and we had our wedding reception there.

They have been serving Afternoon Tea once a month there for quite some time and Rickard and I have been there twice before.
We always thought the girls would appreciate coming too so we invited my parents to come with us all.

The selection is great, but they have not updated the menu since the first time we went there in Spring 2010. That was no problem for the girls however who had never been before.


Sofia has been something of a picky eater lately but there was something for her as well. Scones and chocolate cake. And she really fell for the macaroons - pink of course.


Isabel has grown a lot the last few months. She's almost 1.50 m now (4'11") and the School Photo dress I made her in April is snug all over. With tights and boots it's still working but I think I may have to make her a new one soon if I'm to make her one at all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bags in the making - Fabric delivery

Last week I blogged about the two bags I have planned to make.

I ordered fabric on Oct 22nd and last night when the girls and I came home from school I had three slips in the mail telling me to come to the grocery store to fetch my packages that were too big to be delivered.
Two contained the fabric and one package was from the UK where I had ordered the interfacings.

Weekender Travel Bag

The fabric is just gorgeous! It has such a nice feel to them and the colours are rich and yummy.

Sophia Carry-all

The gold fabric I picked for the lining of the Sophia bag is not an obvious choice but I think it matches very well.

I think there will be time tonight after we get home from the cinema to chuck the fabric in the wash. Not that I plan to wash the bags a lot but the materials are chosen so that it is washable should the need arise.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Holidays

Next week is the Autumn holiday week at schools here. But for some weird reason Isabel's school only give them three days off while other schools in town have the whole week off.

Anyway. She'll be in school Mon-Tues and have the rest of the week off.

Sofia has asked to be let to stay at her grandparents by herself so on Tuesday after I have dropped Isabel off I'll drive her out there. Tuesday afternoon I'm going with Isabel to see her teacher for a run up to see how she's doing in school. Since I'm not expecting any bad reports I have already told her we're going to the movies after since it's just her and me that night. Rickard's away until Thursday.

I'm taking her out for burgers or the like and then to see Tintin in 3D. I hope it's not too scary for her, but then she's watched Pirates of the Caribbean so I think she'll be ok. It's her first time watching a 3D movie and I hope she'll like it.

Wednesday before work I'm driving her out to her grandparents to stay until Thursday together with Sofia.

Thursday I have the day off and I haven't arranged when to pick the girls up but I imagine sometime in the morning. Unless they want to stay longer and their grandparents let them.

Friday both Rickard and I have the day off and I'm not sure what shenanigans will happen then.

On a sadder note - I dropped off my sewing machine for a fix up/tune up last night and they told me it would be 7-10 days before I would get it back.
*weep* I never get the urge to sew more than I do when I don't have a machine.
She also demonstrated a new machine I've been having my eye on and I think I've almost decided to get it in 3 months' time (I'll have saved up enough money by then). I'm not 100 % decided .. she showed me two different models and I'm not really sure which one I'll end up choosing.

The bigger model would take me another 6 months to save up for unless I ask for money for Christmas and my birthday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Amy Butler bag in the works

I wrote yesterday that I plan to make a Weekender Travel Bag designed by Amy Butler. To add to the crazy I also bought fabric for a Sophia Carry-All to match. I am planning to start on this one since it seemed a bit easier than the Weekender.

The outer fabric is the swirly, blue one. It's from the same fabric collection I bought for the Weekender but it has a very different vibe. I hope the colours will be close enough to make them go together.

I had planned to line it with a blue solid but I had a hard time finding one that matched. It's extra hard to do online and I had excellent help from a very nice lady at Fat Quarter Shop.

In the end I decided to go a different route and line it with a gold fabric. I really hope they go together.

While I wait for the fabric to arrive I think I will take my machine in for a tune up. It's been sounding weird and clunky and I think it is time. I finished Isabel's pants last night and I'm driving to town tonight to drop the machine off.

I've been in the market for a new machine for a while but I need to save up some more money since the one I have my eye on is quite expensive. We are keeping the one I have now because both girls are showing interest in sewing and I think it will be a perfect machine for them.

I'll probably take the time to do some cutting while I'm sans-machine. I'll prep for the Sophia and Weekender, but also for a Messenger bag for Isabel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amy Butler bag in the making

I've had my eye on this bag for ages. I love the look of it and well made it looks very professional and sturdy. I have however doubted my ability to finish such a project.

Then the other day I was browsing my favourite US quilting cotton store and saw that Heather Bailey had come out with a collection of home decorating weight fabrics that looked amazing. And suddenly I just knew I was going to make the Weekender Travel Bag.

I've had the pattern at home for a few years and I've read the instructions. They seem straight forward enough, I just mostly worry about all the layers of interfacing and Timtex and zippers.
I guess the trick is to take it all one step at a time.

I'll use the grid dot for the outside and the bird print for the lining. The pattern calls for using the lining for handles and piping but I bought a striped fabric for that since the bird pattern will just look busy and scattered as piping.

I also found a store in the UK who sell interfacing where they compare their product to a Pellon interfacing product. Pellon is hard to come by in Europe/Sweden - at least I've always had trouble with that.
But at CottonPatch it was easy to find an equivalent to Pellon SF-101 and all the other interfacing types the pattern directions called for.

Another time it will be easy to shop for substitutes in town since I know what quality to look for.

I'll be reading through the pattern directions again to see what type of inside pockets are there to begin with. I'll also take the opportunity while waiting for fabric to be delivered to clear up in my sewing room to make better room to work.
I do love this part of sewing - the planning and preparing.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

We've entered that time of year when it's dark in the mornings as I drop the girls off and drive to work.

It's 8 am as I write this and the Sun still isn't up.

We'll get a short respite next week after the time change but it will only last a few days. Afternoons will be considerably shortened from now on until just after my birthday in 4 months.

To top it all off it's also raining today which adds to the darkness. In the parking lot at Sofia's daycare it was pitch black. Since it's a brand new place they haven't had time to lay down tarmac/asphalt and set up lights. I hope it's a priority because the pot holes on that lot are crazy deep.

Last night I almost finished a pair of pants for Isabel.


They need hemming, but I had to have her try them on to see how deep to make the hem. I also need to unpick the waistband seam because I forgot to reset my stitch length after basting a seam line in the waistband.

After that I have elastic to put in and they are done! Isabel tried them on this morning and they fit beautifully.

The shirt will get snaps in the yoke because buttons will tangle her long hair and the yoke needs to be opened to put the shirt on.

I have more of the tan cord and I hope to stretch it into a pair of pants for Sofia as well. I'm pretty sure there's enough material.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bigga and Bear

When Isabel was little (littler) we bought her a Build-a-Bear. We asked not to have it stuffed too firmly because it had to be cuddly, but now five or something years on it's gotten a bit flappy and it could use a re-stuffing.
So I'm taking both girls to the Build-a-Bear store this afternoon.

Isabel asked nicely if she could use her allowance to buy some new clothes for her bear and I said of course.

Sofia insisted on bringing her bear along too and asked if she could use some of her piggy-bank money to buy something for her bear.

We also have to buy a present for one of Sofia's little friends who invited her to a party two weeks from now. After that I had fika planned - probably just a roll with cheese and something to drink.

Rickard is meeting us in town after work so we have to make sure to pass the time until he gets off so I'm taking the girls to the library. I think we'll be looking up a book or two on constellations and the mythologies around them.

We saw Jupiter again last night. It's as bright as any star and it was right next to the full moon.

I lit the candle in the lantern last night before Isabel and Rickard came back from the stables. It was still lit this morning because we had forgotten to blow it out. Ooops. Also - I put Isabel's riding clothes in the wash after dinner last night and forgot all about them. I took them out this morning. Air head.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Fall is kind of nice after all

It's still light enough before dinner to have the lights off, but once we're done and the table is cleared I light the candles in the chandelier over our dining table. With the light off in the kitchen our home take on a cosy, yellow glow.

Autumn is kind of nice - at least if you don't have to be outside in the rain and storm.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The no-longer-full Moon hung like a big shiny coin in the pale blue morning sky today.

I hold a deep seated fascination with all things astronomical and the girls seem to have picked this up too. They ask lots of questions about the Sun and the Moon and the stars and I'm so happy when I can answer them.

Last night there was a kids' science show on the telly in the evening. An astronomer illustrated the size differences between the Sun and the Earth, and both girls were completely fascinated.

The nights are getting darker and soon it's dark early enough for the girls to look at the constellations before bed. Isabel's born in July and is a Cancer and she wanted to see her constellation.
I told her we'd have to look up what it looks like and when we might be able to see it. I'm not sure we can see it in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sofia's a Gemini and that constellation is actually visible this time of year, but it rises late in the evening so we night not see it.
I'm a Pisces and I'm pretty sure I can see that here as well.

On Saturday the Earth passed through the Draconids. Rickard and I went outside at 11 pm to see if we could see any shooting stars. There weren't many, but the sky was clear and I could see most of the constellations I know by heart.
Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Polaris, The Pleiades, Cassiopeia were all visible but Orion hadn't risen yet. Jupiter was a bright dot, almost like a star.

I think we need to find a book with the Greek mythology stories regarding the constellations.

Rickard has an app on his phone that helps you find the constellations in the night sky. You just hold it up and it uses GPS signals to help you locate the stars, galaxies, planets etc. It even lets you "see through" the Earth at constellations on the other side of the planet that we will never see here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011



Our entry way needed some lovin' so yesterday we drove to the florist after school to get some cyclamen plants for the window box and I cleaned out the lantern and lit the candle in the evening. I like how cosy it looks when you come home in the dark afternoons.

I want to fix up the wreath a bit more but I'm not sure what it needs. I bought two mini pumpkins to start with and was gifted a dried corn cob to put there, but I think it will need a new moss coating before Christmas.

The window box could do with some green plants in between the flowers but that will have to wait.

A good clean up between the flagstones would not go amiss either.

It's a good start.

Friday, September 30, 2011

well now ...

I completely lost track of the days and missed the Autumnal Equinox last week.

We certainly feel the days are shorter. We get gorgeous sunsets with our dinner and by the girls' bedtime it's dark outside.

This morning Sofia told me it snowed and when I said that it was unlikely she looked again and said "But it's dark out. Why is it dark out?"

I remember Isabel had difficulty understanding that at four too.

I have started lighting the candles in the lamp above our kitchen table after dinner. It looks so cosy with the lights lit and soon enough I'll go through a pack of IKEA tea lights in one and a half weeks.

Speaking of - an IKEA visit needs to be scheduled.

I need to trim the candle in the lantern outside so we can start lighting it in the afternoons. Rickard gets home pretty late and I like to have the lantern lit when he comes home.

I've not taken any pretty pictures in a while so there will be nothing to break this post up. I hope to have some by the end of the weekend. I have the day off tomorrow and I plan to spend it by the sewing machine.

Happy weekend!

(Also - how much am I looking forward to tomorrow's season finale of Doctor Who? ;__________________________________________________________; This much!)

Feel the wind on my face!

Isabel galloped (rode at a gallop?) yesterday at riding classes!

First time ever.

She thought is was a bit scary and didn't want to try a second time but I'm sure by next week she's ready for it again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Party time!


Isabel turned 7 years old in July but since everyone is on holiday during summer we decided to postpone her party until later and today was the big day. 10 girls were invited but only 7 showed up. I had asked their parents to call if they were not coming but we had had no calls so I was a bit surprised. That part is always so annoying.


Anyway. I ordered flowers from the local florist and picked them up this morning. They are roses and some alstroemerias. I have no idea what the big green leaves are called but I think it turned out quite nice.


The girls got individual cupcakes to decorate. I had already coated them with whipped cream and I gave them prepped piping bags with tinted whipped cream and lots of different kinds of sprinkles and nonpareils.


After they had eaten we played spin the bottle so they had some activity while handing over the presents. Then some of them wanted to go play outside which I let them but it turned out to be quite a mistake as they ran off and pranked some of our mutual neighbours.


We ended it with some Musical Statues and then they got their party favours which were brown paper bags with candy that I dressed up with some baker's twine and home made labels. I had put them up on the wall and it looked rather cute I think.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


15 years ago yesterday Rickard and I got engaged.

We had gotten rings together ahead of time and packed a picnic basket and headed to Ales Stenar.


We stood by the largest stone at the West end of the circle and exchanged rings. We took a picture of us too but it's non digital and I haven't got a scanner.

After that we drove to Skillinge, a little fishing town a few kilometers north east of Ales Stenar and had lunch at the Harbour restaurant there. We had fried, whole plaice with potatoes and a cold sauce and it was delicious.

We had taken out an ad in the paper the next day and my father called in the morning to ask where we had been the day before. We hadn't told them or Rickard's parents about it, and his parents even missed the ad so we had to call them to let them know.

We got married 4 years later.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I've been reading up a bit on more environmentally friendly cleaning solutions and the one thing that pops up everywhere is baking soda.

In Swedish baking soda is called bikarbonat (bicarbonate of soda) and the biggest problem with using it for cleaning is this:

The biggest box of bikarbonat I can find is the one on the right. It's not even a quarter of the one on the left.

The box on the left is from the American Store and even though it's imported it costs the same by weight as the kind I can find here.

I tried the baking soda to clean out the oven and it worked well so I think this might be one thing I'll actually buy there and not at my usual store.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First day of Fall

September 1st - seriously?

I can't believe summer is over already. Theoretically at least. We have a chance of a few nice weeks still before the Autumn gloom sets in.

I've got mail!!

I received a parcel in the post yesterday from a friend in the States. I posted a few pictures from our crawfish/crayfish party and she offered to send me some Louisiana style (or was it Texas) crawfish boil.

I think we'll have to use it on shrimp since I doubt our dill boiled crawfish would mesh well with the flavours from the South.

My friend mailed me and asked if she could get me something else as there was room over in the envelope and I mentioned, sprinkles, spices .. I couldn't really come up with much when put on the spot.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when that envelope contained this:


My friend suggested trying the Gumbo mix first and I think that's what we'll do. Rickard was interested in the cornbread and chilli mix so I think we'll do that one next and I'm making up a batch of chocolate chip cookies with some of the chocolate exchanged for some butterscotch chips.

Now to take a stroll through our store with new glasses on to see what I can find to send back. This is going to be fun!

Thank you Johanna!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Yeah - about that lasagne.

I made the meat sauce but in the end didn't have the energy to do the bechemel sauce. So I'll take a short cut.

I have some kale in the fridge that I have taken out to thaw and I'll mix that with a box of cottage cheese and use that instead of the cheese sauce.
We all like that variation.

That way I won't have to use as much cheese either.


I made a dent in the ironing! Awesome. Now there might actually be room to pin and cut the Nature Walk tomorrow after we come home from the parents' meeting at school.


Sofia has been begging for ages to have one of her favourite daycare friends over on a play date and it has just never fit in our schedule, but new term, new ways. Today I texted the girl's mom and offered to bring E home with us next week.
E was thrilled and Sofia too.

Then I did a double check in my calendar and saw I had forgotten about Sofia's dental appointment that afternoon.
But instead of rescheduling the play date I'll make a new appointment.


I've also gotten around to print the invitations for Isabel's party. Finally. I'll hand them out on Thursday since Rickard's picking the girls up tomorrow.

We're inviting all the girls in Isabel's class. With Sofia that adds up to 12 girls. Now I have the food/cake sorted, I just have to figure out some games or activities for them in case they can't come up with something on their own.


I haven't sewn properly for what feels like weeks. I had a burst the other day when I did buttonholes on the girls' 2+2 blouses.
But since then. Nothing.

I have a pile of laundry to iron and my kitchen is a mess. The bathrooms need a good scrubbing and my wardrobe could do with a sorting.

But in the end, after the girls are in bed I sink into the sofa and do nothing.

Maybe it's the turn of the season, it's been cold and windy here for the past few days.

Isabel has started school and they have gym classes now. It said on the info paper we got that they would be outside as much as possible so I have planned to make her a Nature Walk Pullover and pants as a kind of track suit. The fabric is washed, the pattern is drafted and I just have to pin it and get started.

Tonight the girls and I are making a lasagne in preparation for Thursday when Isabel has riding class. I had planned to make a pie last night for our dinner tonight, but it never happened.
Maybe I'll get that done tonight instead.

For now I should get back to work - but first. Coffee.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A place for everything ...

We have a central vacuuming system that I love but a huge downside is the 9 meter long hose that needs to find a home somewhere when not in use.
We tried the cleaning cupboard, but the container for the system takes up a lot of space there and we ended up not bothering and just leave the hose out for the next time.
With two kids in the house I run the vacuum pretty much daily anyway.

So I got a huge basket that had room for the whole hose and it's lived next to the stairs for a while.

Or rather, that was where I intended it to live but Rickard kept bumping into it when he came down the stairs and kept putting it in the laundry room.

But the laundry room is too small to hold the basket and still have room to sort through the laundry so that in turn caused me to ignore laundry cause there was no room to manoeuvre.
In the end laundry threatened to take over our lives and I moved the basket out to where I considered it to live so I could sort through it all. Then Rickard would stumble over it and move it back and the cycle would start over.

I did some cleaning yesterday while arranging things around the new table.
I'm not a fan of cleaning or tidying so I tend to put it off in favour of sewing, reading or movie watching, but after a bit it just gets out of hand (like with the laundry).

So yesterday as I moved the girls' shoes around in the hall to get that sandbox they tend to bring home in their shoes out of the house I did some re-arranging and suddenly the big basket found a place in the hall, just across the wall from where it was before, in a less trafficked area.

It's still neat and tidy in the basket, it's close to the outlet where we connect it and it's out of the way so that Rickard won't stumble over it.

I'd call that a win-win-win.

Now I'm just considering dumping the basket for this bin. It's a pretty steep price for a stainless steel bin that we don't really need.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Studying nook


We have this area in the living room/dining area that is definitely underused. I have put an extra table there when we had parties to display cake and cookies on.

After the party was over the table just stood there and collected junk and it always looked untidy.

So the other day when the IKEA catalogue arrived in our mailbox (yes, in Sweden it is delivered in the mail once a year and I usually hold on to it to keep it as reference through out the year if we find that we "need" something) I had a brain wave when I saw a table on the front page that would suit our needs. Needs that hadn't been defined until then.


Isabel started First grade last week and even though she won't have a lot of homework I want to instil a homework routine for her if I can.

During my first years in school I recall preferring to do my homework where my parents were. In our case that usually meant the kitchen (or various conference rooms where my parents went to political meetings to discuss boring grown up stuff while I studied maths or Swedish or somethingorother).

I don't know what Isabel will turn out to prefer but just in case she wants to be where we are then I had to prepare a place for her in the living room.

Both Isabel and Sofia loves to paint and craft which added another dimension to the decision.

This table folds down and takes up about 30 cm (1') of space when not in use. It has three drawers down the middle on either side that although too small to keep paper in are perfect for all the crayons and pens and pencils my girls like to use.


The sides folds up individually and both girls can fit on the same side.

The sheet I use as a background for photographing what I sew make a nice wall protector. It has been sort of an unwanted stepchild, always moved around down stairs and always in the way where ever we put it.
We have since added a piece of moulding to the sheet to keep it from getting stuck to the wall.

Another good thing about this table is that it's the same width and height as our kitchen table so when we have lots of guests we can expand that table using this new one. It folds out and becomes 150 cm (60") long which together with our 210 cm (82") table will seat both our families when we celebrate with room for a few stray friends as well.

I'm pretty sure we'll add to the area if Isabel turn out to use it. I'm considering a better notice board. And I have been thinking about dressing the table in oilcloth to protect it a bit more. Sofia loves to do water colours which is a killer on the table surface.

Do you Pinterest?

I love Pinterest.

Rickard is cautiously reluctant to it.

Our conversations lately often start with:

Me: I saw this thing on Pinterest...
Him: Uh huh.
Me: Well, if you move this and change that you could to this!
Him: ...

Well. A few things I see on Pinterest are easy enough to make.

For instance this easy to make dry-erase board. Easy as could be. An empty photo frame of any size you like. In it you put a piece of fabric, wall paper, scrap book paper, news paper clipping, what have you, glass on and it's done!


Well, here's my version. I used a glittery scrap booking paper I had at home and added some hooks to the underside of the frame so I could hang a note book from it where we write our grocery shopping list.
Just copy the info from the board and erase and you won't forget the milk next time.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Out door daycare

I found a bunch of pictures from Isabel's time in outdoor daycare 2007/2008.

Igelknoppen 458

This was taken at the Lucia celebrations in 2007. It was super cold and late in the afternoon so Isabel's a bit tired and vacant.
The baby in the pram to the right is actually Sofia!

Igelknoppen 354

Here they're all seated with individual bowls of pop corn. I guess they were celebrating something. Isabel is fourth from the right wearing a green/black hat.

Igelknoppen 387

Although they were outside all the time they had a shed with some dollies and a doll's pram.
Isabel liked that part.

She moved to a traditional daycare in August 2008 when Sofia started daycare too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wild horses couldn't drag me away ...

Isabel started riding classes again tonight. It's her second term and we decided to give her proper riding gear after having ridden in jeans and sweatpants last term.

We went to a horse supply store not far from home to see if we could find some riding pants for her.
Just inside the door they had a rack that said 30 % off Riding Pants. Excellent I thought and started looking through it for a suitable size.

That's when I caught sight of the price tag. Full price 1700 SEK ($270).

Uhm. No.

Just next to that rack they had a more modestly priced selection at 120 SEK.

She also got a pair of boots so she didn't have to ride in her winter boots in 20C degrees.
A pair of gloves and a whip completed it and she was more than happy.

I threw in a pair of stockings too. I had seen some girls at the stables wearing lovely Argyle-patterned stockings over their pants and I liked the look of it.

Going to riding classes

Today when I picked her up I brought the clothes with me and she had to change at school. One of her little friends went with her into the bathroom to watch her change and pleaded with me to be allowed to tag along.
I had to say No since Rickard's taking Isabel to the stables and they usually get home very late. She argued vigorously but had to accept defeat at last.

It was a very tired Isabel who came home tonight at 7 pm. Rickard was bored, bored because the class had been riding a long tour outside and he could not keep up but had to wait at the stables.
Isabel was so tired and sweaty and was sent straight to the shower before dinner.

Next week I'll pack her a more substantial afternoon snack and have her eat it when we fetch Rickard. She insisted she didn't need any food before class but I made her a sandwich that she ate and forced a banana on her as she left.
It was devoured in the car after class in two bites.

She's quick to give up if something is physically demanding (she takes after me there) but when it comes to riding she hangs in there no matter how tired she is. And she goes back for more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First grade


My little big girl started first grade today. The picture shows her on her first day of preschool and today, first day of first grade.

The daycare that Sofia's been in has been converted to school rooms after the opening of the new daycare Junibacken two weeks ago.
Isabel's home room will be the same room I used to drop Sofia off in just before summer. Weird.


She has a nice teacher, Marie. In Sweden teachers are usually called by their first name by both students and parents. We don't do the mrs/miss/mr thing.
Neither do we do it when talking about the kids' parents. If referring to me or speaking to me Isabel's friends would all call me Lotta (or "Isabel's mom" if they don't know my first name).

We went to the supermarket after school to get gym clothes for Isabel. This will be the first year she'll change clothes for gym class and shower in school. And as a treat I let her chose our dinner tonight. She went through a few different alternatives before she finally settled on fish fingers.


She got home work for her first week of school to be handed in on Friday and she finished it tonight while I cleared up in the kitchen and cleaned delicious chanterelles for our supper (before the fish fingers).

Friday, August 19, 2011

A little bit of everything

I'm slowly "recovering". Not sure what it was last week that had me tired and dizzy, but I've made a point to go to bed earlier this week and drink more water and I feel better.

I do have a suspicion that my iron levels are low and that's why I felt off. I have a bottle of iron supplements in the fridge that isn't opened. I should use that but it tastes vile so I hesitate.

The dizzyness also took away my sewing mojo and it hasn't really returned. I got some done last night and I hope to keep it up tonight to have 2 finished 2+2 blouses by Monday when my big girl starts school. First grade.


Fall is also definitely on its way. I feel the tug to make preserves as I always do at this time of year.
Last weekend I made preserved pears. In lingonberry and in ginger syrup. We haven't tasted them yet. I think we'll eat the lingonberry ones this weekend.


Almost one year ago Rickard and I went to New York where I had my first ever Pumpkin Spice latte and I have been feeling a craving for it for a few days.
If I can get into town this weekend I'll get a can of pumpkin and try my hand at making some syrup for a spiced latte.

I can find a fresh pumpkin in the stores in a few weeks but they are usually HUGE and I'm not sure if they're good for anything other than carving.

Today I'm taking my grandmother grocery shopping. My mom usually does that but she and my dad are in Germany until next week and my aunt is busy at work so I said I'd do it.
I'm so happy the girls are getting old enough to form memories of my grandma. She is the only one left from that generation on both our sides. And she is the only great grandparent Isabel's met more than once, the only one Sofia's even known.

Isn't she stunning?

I knew my great grandmother, grandma Inez (Isabel's second name is after her) and she passed away when I was 20, she would have turned 90 if she had lived to her birthday that year.
I hope my grandma can hang around for that long too - although it's not likely she'll hang around until the girls are 20 or even in their teens. Grandma turned 88 this spring but she's spry and fit so hopefully we'll have her with us for many years to come.

I haven't seen her in a while now so I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

At the playground


On Sunday I felt a bit weird. I was dizzy and tired and felt I needed some air. So the girls got their bikes out and we all headed to the playground.

It's a pretty empty playground and there were no other kids there. But they enjoyed climbing, going on the swing and bouncing on the bouncer.

Sofia's not a very good biker yet. Her balance is off and if we try to correct her she'll get anxious and start to cry. She will not be able to ride on her own this year. She had the support wheels and a stick for us to hold her. She fell over once on the way and almost fell over a couple of times. But she got on the bike again and kept trying.
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