Tag Archives: sweden

Souvenir Makes No. 4: A Swedish Christmas

26 Jan

Yes, I realise that, 3 months after returning from Scandinavia, I still haven’t finished blogging about it. However, I’m faring better than when I promised you I would post some articles about my Scottish road trip, and I didn’t complete the tale until 9 months later. My tardiness is slightly improving!

DSC_0244 (2)

Despite not completing my Scandinavian saga yet, I thought I would show you that my little Swedish dala horse cutter (which has already come in rather handy for festive baking) was put to very good use this Christmas – to make clay tree decorations.

The ubiquitous little wooden horses hail from the Swedish town of Dalarna, and are a national symbol which dates back to the 1600s. The most common dala horses are painted red, with a white, green, yellow and blue harness, but I read that you can find horses in a variety of colours, with each local area producing the wooden ornaments in their own special design.

DSC_0250

I had enough clay to make seven, and I decided to decorate each with a different pattern. I used a tiny star cutter, which I bought to use in my pottery classes, although I think it was originally a cake decorating tool. I was able to attach the stars carefully to the surface of the piece, using a paintbrush and a bit of slip.

DSC_0010

When the designs were finished, I used a dowelling rod to pierce a hole in the top of each one, so that I can thread ribbon through when they are finished. I left one of them sans piercing, as I am toying with the idea of starting a wall display of dala horses in my bedroom, and this is going to be the first one.

DSC_0249

Given that each horse was only half a centimetre thick, I expected they would dry fairly quickly… not so! I patiently waited 2 weeks before the items could be fired in the kiln – then I set to work on painting the little creatures.

I tried to keep the colours to the traditional palette of red, white, green, yellow and blue, although I found that the poppy red and dark, galaxy blue appealed to me the most! I think it’s fair to say that none of the horses conform to the traditional dala design, but I am happy with the way they have turned out – especially the ones with the raised stars across the surface.

DSC_0245 (2)

One of our family traditions is the giving of a set of baubles each year. My mum, my brother and I each give a bauble to each other, so that no matter where we are in the world, we have matching Christmas trees. Over the past few years, I have been making a bauble for each of them every year, as well as one for myself. This year, my new sister-in-law Kate got involved with the family tradition, making a beautiful set of perfect crochet snowflakes! I can see this tradition running for years!

Finally, I come to the bauble I made for myself. I really loved the star designs, but for my own bauble I wanted something that reminded me of my wonderful adventure. I’m sure you can guess which one that would be! I painted mine, simply, with a blue blackground and a solid yellow cross, to depict the Swedish flag. My flat is so small that I don’t actually have a Christmas tree, but you can see my Swedish dala creation, hanging proudly on my aloe vera plant in my living room. I can’t wait to, one day, have him adorn a beautiful Christmas tree, which I’m sure he will do for many years to come.

Scandimania Pt 4: Gothenburg

14 Jan

DSC_5410

After a few busy days in Oslo, I arrived in Gothenburg in need of some rest and relaxation. Fortunately, the next 48 hours were not going to be another bustling city break – after a quick sightseeing tour of the city, I would be taking a ferry out to the Southern Gothenburg archipelago for some much needed peace and quiet.

DSC_5350

Gothenburg is fast becoming one of the hottest places to visit in Northern Europe. It’s cuisine, music, art and nightlife is attracting visitors from across the world, and after spending the afternoon there, I could see why. Despite the weather being overcast at best during my time there, the city felt buzzing, with lots of amazing independent boutiques, record stores, coffee shops and bars.

DSC_5366

In order to escape the inclement weather, I retreated into a wonderful coffee shop in the traditional Haga district, where I sampled a mouthwatering apple and almond cake, topped with pumpkin seeds and candied walnuts. It was absolutely delicious, and gave me the energy I needed to make the next stage of my journey, to the island of Hono, about an hour away from the centre of Gothenburg.

DSC_5372

I arrived by ferry, late at night, at the home of Sarah and Graham, which I found via AirBNB. The home was previously Sarah’s grandparents, and her grandfather had built the home himself. I had a beautiful, peaceful apartment on the top floor of the house, and Graham thoughtfully provided me with home-made bread and freshly-laid eggs. My R&R was off to a good start!

After the miserable, drizzly weather the day before, I was amazed to wake up the next day to sunlight streaming through the windows. Somehow, the fates had decided to grace my island stay with glorious, uninterrupted sunshine. I decided to make the most of it, and borrowed a bike from my lovely host Sarah, so that I could explore the island of Hono, and the neighbouring islands of Foto, Ockero and Halso, which were reachable by bridge.

The weather was perfect for cycling. Equipped with some bread and cheese in my rucksack, I set off on my adventure. The entire day was so peaceful – the island itself is home to breathtaking, unspoilt scenery and surrounded by deep blue waters.

The islands seemed almost deserted, with the exception of the areas around each harbour. At the first harbour I passed, I noticed a small shop was selling delicious local preserves, which I felt obligated to sample! The fig and hazelnut was to die for, and became a perfect accompaniment to my picnic on Hono beach.

DSCN5543

Being on the islands allowed my thoughts to easily unwind and settle, leaving me with space and energy to appreciate the simple things in life – sun reflecting off the water, the sound of the breeze filtering through the trees.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!

Soon enough, as with all the other stages of my trip, it was time to move onwards to a new destination. I felt so relaxed that I was actually ready to head home, but this would have to wait for just a few more days. It was time to travel towards my final stop – Copenhagen. This little creature did his best to accompany me on my journey, but sadly I had to leave him behind! Until next time, little kitty.

 

Off on another adventure…

7 Oct

It’s time for me to go off gallavanting again! This time, I’m spending a fortnight travelling around Sweden, Norway and Denmark. I promise I will try and write up my adventures in a more punctual manner, this time around.

I’m flying to Stockholm, Sweden, for a few days of city sightseeing. Then, I’m flying over to Trondheim, Norway to stay with my friend Emily – there’s a chance I will be able to see the Northern Lights from here!

I am taking the Dovre rail route from Trondheim down to Oslo, through breathtaking natural scenery.

I’ll be spending a few days in Oslo, hoping to immerse myself in Viking culture by visiting the famous Oseberg burial ship.

I am then returning to Sweden, passing through Gothenburg and Malmo, before hopefully getting the chance to cross the famous Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m unlikely to bump into Saga and Martin, but hey. If I do, that would be pretty cool.

To describe myself as excited would be an understatement.

In preparation for this trip, I am re-reading Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, watching The Killing and generally acquainting myself with as much Nordic Noir as I can get my hands on!

However, it wouldn’t be a true holiday without a little time for some crafting. Have any of you lovely blog readers spent any time in this part of the world? Are there any local crafts that I should know about, or any craft shops that I should make time to visit? Any tips you can give me would be much appreciated!

 

PHMMcr

Goings on at the People's History Museum, Manchester

Never Too Experienced

The lifestyle scrapbook of an honest lady who will always have something to learn.

Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess

Tea, Dinosaurs and Feminism.

NUT in SPTA and Delta Academies

A site for NUT members in SPTA/Delta schools

NUT Area 3

Organising & campaigning news & casework updates from the NUT Yorkshire Midland Region (Area 3)

ginjointjen

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Funky Air Bear

Traditional & Modern Knits

PEEKO CRAFTS

Ramblings of an Irish knitter and yarn addict

My OBT

My daily quest for One Beautiful Thing (OBT)

Lattes & Llamas

we live for wool and bleed espresso

%d bloggers like this: