Here comes a little video of a visit to the stables when I was back in Sweden. We had hoped for nice weather, but unfortunately it was cold and rainy, although it was a nice visit nonetheless... The video is of my father's lovely wife and her young horse Ferrari, 4 years old. Ferrari is a warmblood horse, bred for dressage competition. She's had the horse since he was born and now he's a rumbunctious teenager that she's in the process of training. Isn't he a beauty!
Since I did write about stuff I wished I could have brought back from Sweden, I figured I could write about stuff I actually did bring back. Because I did bring back a few neat things which I'm exceptionally pleased with!
First up, a small Swedish fabric flag and tiny little paper flags. Why? Because when there is cause for celebration everything feels more festive with flags. Hint: when my birthday comes around, flags in my morning sandwich would be fun - and yes, I'm childish that way.
Bread basket. I finally have a bread basket! I'm rather excited about this one. So you let the dough rise in this bowl after you shape it, then you turn it out on your baking stone and bake it. This basket is supposed to be great for a lot of breads and provide just the right level of breathability for the dough when rising, while still protecting it and giving it structure. Plus, it will also give the bread a fancy ring design (and how can you go wrong with that!) I have wanted one for a long time now it feels like, and I finally have one.
Also for the kitchen is this 10 inch metal tart pan. Look at the height of this dish. Isn't it awesome? I'm thinking pies, quiches etc... I'm really wondering how many eggs it would take to make a quiche in this one: 6, 7? Maybe more, maybe less but it's quite large for sure.
Pearl sugar! This is for making Swedish cinnamon buns. This came in such a heavy, large box (in relation to my bag, not really in any other way) so I decided to transfer half of it into a plastic bag. I'm going to use this sugar carefully, nobody better mix this up - it's not meant for anything but cinnamon buns!
Oh, I thought this was super neat. This is a silicon mould for making chocolate pralines. Imagine the possibilities! Melt any kind of chocolate to the right temperature, coat the interior of each indention, add whatever flavor (I'm thinking fruit jams, chocolate ganauche, caramel, nuts - whatever!) and then add some more chocolate to seal the whole package. There were so many designs to choose from here, I was stuck for quite some time trying to pick the right one. I love the concept though: to make your own chocolate, like out of the box. As in, you know what's in it (nothing weird such as artificial flavors or stabilizers), and you will only make that many because the mould is only so big, hence you won't eat a whole box.
This is also interesting. It's a dishrag made out of coarse linen. It's supposed to dry really quickly after using and then you wash it in the washing machine. I hope this works out because I love the idea of using it, then washing it with my other whites every few days. Then I wouldn't have to buy any more disposable rags such as the ones I use right now in the kitchen...
I picked up this sweet fabric bag in a little store in Stockholm somewhere. I bought it because I had originally brought a red fabric bag since they're so handy to have around (takes up no space in your purse, and then you can use it when traveling for keeping water, a book and an extra sweater nearby for example), but unfortunately I lost it at the Amsterdam airport in a state of tired confusion before arriving in Sweden... So naturally I had to get another one!
Old fashioned bookmarks is what these are called in Sweden. They're made out of paper and feature different objects. I'm thinking craft projects etc... I'm really glad I found these as I have been looking for some time and they're rather hard to find.
New boat shoes. I love boat shoes and I think the color is kind of fun. I must admit, I feel a bit like I'm right out of the LL Bean catalog wearing these. That's not necessarily a bad thing though...
Licorice! The extremely hot and salty kind. As in, if you never had these growing up, chances are you'll hate them. I think they're great, and I have even read recipes where you melt these down and make desserts. Now, that's something I wouldn't mind trying, although chances are I would have to eat the finished product all by myself.
And then we have the cloggs. Aren't they great! I have been wanting to get a pair, and when I saw these I just fell in love. They're rather comfortable to walk in and I actually flew back in these, mainly because they are large and they would take up too much space in my bag. But they were also rather comfortable so I can actually recommend flying in clogs if you ever considered that!
Gotland, Sweden is beyond beautiful. I've had a wonderful time here spending time with family, enjoying the scenery, eating lots and lots of good food and just relaxing. Gotland is surrounded by water and there is lots of history and picturesque stone buildings. In other words, it's easy to go crazy with the camera: isn't it just gorgeous?
One of the most fun things with traveling is looking in stores and seeing products and things you might not see elsewhere. So during my stay in Sweden I have looked carefully in shops and stores and recorded things I became inspired by. This proved not to be that difficult as I have come across tons of stuff that I would love to fill my suitcase with!
I love this series of nautical inspired kitchen accessories.
Here we have cutting boards for bread. Perfect for cutting crusty bread since the crumbs have somewhere to go!
Cooking stores are by far my favorite places to check out. And if it's a high-end, high-quality shop that's organized, neat and that carries gorgeous French products, then it doesn't get much better than that!
In terms of china, I love these French Pillivuyt lion head bowls, and have for some time. They are the ultimate French onion soup bowls, don't you think?
And check out these Pillivuyt soup serving bowls. It's kind of hard to see from the pictures, but they're huge. You could probably fit 4 - 6 bowls of soup in each one, if not more (sometimes sizes are deceiving!) I love the idea of serving soup in one of these, even though it means more dishes to deal with. So elegant and certainly formal!
I really wouldn't say no to any of the china from this brand...
Of course I can never pass up a great fabric store either, or an interior design store that carries a nice selection of fabrics. Here we have some gorgeous linen and cotton striped fabrics. Too bad the krona is so low in relation to the dollar, and that these fabrics are so very expensive to begin with, not to mention I travel with a carry-on only, so not a whole lot of space left over for shopping!
Although this natural striped linen was too beautiful to pass up. I bought a small amount, but I think I can squeeze quite a few projects out of it!
In Stockholm I came upon this sofa and I think I fell in love. Brown linen, tufted design, comfortable, and not too large in size. Too bad shipping to Oregon is out of the question...
I thought this wallpaper was kind of neat. I don't really know where I would put it, but isn't it different?
I also love these classic Swedish wooden chairs which come in white, off white and slightly grey in a few different models. This light design coupled with seats upholstered in stripes or check fabric feels so Scandinavian to me.
This scale, which I found in the cooking department of the famous Swedish department store NK, was really nice I thought.
And these timers too!
I also came accross these trivets which look as if they're crocheted out of rope, or something like that. Now wouldn't that be kind of interesting to try to make!
Classic Swedish 50s Gustavsberg china. These definitely look a bit retro, but I like them.
A big trend in Sweden these last few years is cement products. You see cement pots and accessories in a lot of different places and below here you can see products in cement by Tove Adman. Check out the neat ottoman below, which actually is made in cement with a sheepskin upholstered seat.
There are lots of cool products by this designer. Such as these candle holders and this awesome lamp.
Also, aren't these desk accessories in cement interesting!
On a different note, I also love these romantic wild strawberry bowls. These feel like summer to me!
I have seen so many gorgeous wool rugs!
And wonderful wool blankets! The pattern on the blanket on top is really popular right now. This pattern was first made popular in a Pippi Longstocking series in the 70s, or at least we always called a sweater with this pattern a Pippi Longstocking sweater. Well, now I'm seeing this pattern everywhere! On cushions, blankets, rugs, clothes etc... I love it.
And last but not least more fabric. This was a lovely little garden store that had an attic full of classic French and British fabrics. Do I have to clarify how infatuated I became? I wanted to bring every single roll home. So many gorgeous patterns and designs and I can imagine making so many different things with them.
This list became rather long, and I didn't even show everything I took pictures of! There certainly are lots of lovely things to buy here though and so many of the designs are pretty great in my mind...
Yesterday was such a beautiful day which we spent mostly on the water.
We took one trip before lunch...
... and we went to a small island outside of Stockholm called Fjäderholmarna which is so cute and charming.
Lots of adorable restaurants by the water.
And I got to eat real crispy Swedish waffles which I'm sorry to say beat American thick waffles completely in mind!
It was so nice out on the water.
And then we took a little break and I got to bake my first loaf of no-knead bread (I made the dough a few days ago). It's kind of funny that I have to go to Sweden to actually get around to it. But I wanted to do some baking and there was no mixer to use (and I had brought some dry instant yeast since they mostly use fresh here which I'm not as familiar with, just in case ... it's funny what different people prioritize to bring, no?) so this presented a perfect opportunity to try it out.
Then we went out again a few hours later, fresh company in tow...
... and picnic basket with freshly baked bread along as well!
It's really special to see Stockholm from the waterside.
Everything looks so pretty, crisp and it was just a beautiful day.
Why haven't I baked this bread before? Beyond simple and so crusty and good!
We were also spoiled with löjromstoast (main ingredient exquisite caviar-like fish eggs) which were ridiculously delicious and bubbly champagne.
Also, these chocolate dipped coconut covered strawberries were so good. What a nice idea, so simple yet delicious!
To take a boat ride around Stockholm though is a real treat, you get to see so many different things. Like the main amusement park Gröna Lund below,
And the relatively newly constructed Hammarbysjöstad which is a whole new apartment area by the water which feels very modern and sleek.
Of course there is no lack of old buildings either, and you can never really get too much of those!
This really turned out to be such a nice day and it was perfect to spend on the water!
So the other day I went to visit my sister in Uppsala which is located about 40 minutes north by train from Stockholm.
Uppsala is a university town, and there is charm and character in abundance!
Lovers' locks on the bridge.
There are so many nice cafes and restaurants here.
We went to one of the oldest places in town...
... where I finally got to enjoy some Skagenröra which is a seafood salad, usually made with shrimp, crab, dill, mayonnaise and sour cream. Here it was served in a baked potato which may sound weird, but in my opinion it's one of the best ways to enjoy a baked potato! Light beer (or flavored sparkling water which is immensly popular here, or soda), salad, bread, butter and coffee or tea was also included in the price. This is also rather common in Sweden: that you pay one lunch price and that it includes not only your entree but also your drink of choice, coffee, etc...
There certainly was a lot to choose from in terms of desserts as well!
Inside the cafe.
My sister (who sent a postcard a while back) lives in a lovely room in an old house. There are so many great details in her space, I think her apartment really deserves to be featured in another post. Although, from this picture of the deep windowsill, the radiator under the window and paneled wall you really get a sense of the age and feel of this building.
I also went to see a dear friend of mine who I hadn't seen for a long time. Check out this great sewing machine that she actually uses. Talk about sturdy and well built! I want a sewing machine just like that!
I also love her kitchen. It reminds me of the apartment my grandmother used to live in: it has exactly the same hardware, windowsills, countertops and more. Don't you just love the built-in container shelf meant for dry goods. I love how she's actually using the cups too!
And how can an evening be anything but good when you have wine, cheese, salami and chips? Not to mention excellent company and hours to catch up on countless things.
Uppsala is really nice. So very cute, charming and full of life. A great town to visit in other words.
Stockholm surely decided to show its best side yesterday. It was sunny, bright and beautiful.
We walked and walked. Visited another interesting museum (more on that later!), and checked out a wonderful cooking store (does it get more fun than that?) and cute little shops with fabrics, furniture and more.
I also had to buy licorice ice cream.
The joy! Licorice ice cream! It's an acquired taste for sure, but it's a good one... Today I'm off to Uppsala to see my sister!
On the ferry crossing one part of town to another.
It's been great spending some time with my family.
We went around to a couple of different places, one of which was a photoraphic exhibition featuring the works of André Kertész, an Hungarian photographer who took pictures during the 20s in Paris. My first thought here was, ah this has been done a million times. And then it struck me how these pictures were probably among the first that captured Paris this way...
We also had afternoon tea at the wonderful store & tea room Svenskt Tenn which deserves an entire post devoted to its fantastic designs and interesting fabrics. So more on that another time...
So after an awesome weekend of tending to my plants, strangely getting into The Big Bang Theory (which is turning out to be far better and funnier than I would have thought!) and making pizza on the grill (which turned out soo good - the secret is putting the dough on the grill, then turning it and immediately adding your cooked toppings since that gives it just enough time for the cheese to melt and the dough to cook through without completly burning the bottom!) ...
... I'm heading to Sweden!
I'm looking forward to seeing family and to immerse myself in Swedish language, culture and food! Such as shrimp sandwiches, herring, salt and sour candy, cinnamon buns and bread and pastries in general. Oh, and I forgot to mention the bloodpudding, which I'm sure will leave anyone reading this envious to the nth degree.
I'm strangely almost looking forward to flying too, which I'll probably take back in a few hours once I'm up in the air... So, Swedish food, design and life etc... from now on!