Thursday, 18 August 2011

A very special house-guest

This is the 5th and last post about My Summer. Want to read the rest? Then feel free to check out the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th post as well  =)

For the last part of my vacation I had a very special house-guest: my grandmother came to visit! It's the first time since I moved out that has happened (not that she hasn't wanted to, but I live quite far away, and she's older and a bit nervous about travelling alone). We had a splendid week visiting the tourist attractions, enjoying the wonderful summer weather, picking berries and shopping.

Here we are at the Museum of Västerbotten, which has both indoors and outdoors exhibitions.

This is a traditional house of the people native to northern Sweden (Samer).

Lunch in the open, by the lake of Nydala. Why is it that food always taste best when eaten outside?

It was a fairly long walk so it was a good thing the hot weather had calmed down to just being warm and nice. =)

Last might of her visit she treated me to dinner onboard. By the docks, but nontheless =)

Then her week here suddenly came to an end, and so also my vacation. She went home, I went to work. It's ok, though =) I've had a long, nice vacation, and actually feel rested and full of energy. This is the first time I've taken my four weeks all in a row, and I really think it made a difference. During three weeks I have time to travel and rest, but not to re-coup. That's what the fourth week is for, I've just realised =)

Hope you've all had a great summer!
Love, Erika

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Stockholm, a haircut and The Armory

This is part four of My Summer. Want to read it chronological? Then check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 =)

Whenever I'm in southern Sweden it's a must to stop by Stockholm to visit friends and family. They sort of expect it, and I always look forward to it. Unfortunatley that makes most of my Stockholm-visits short and hurried, with everything planned by the hour. So this year I decided to take my time, and after Herräng I spent 1,5 week in my old hometown. It was great to not just see everyone, but to have the luxury to see them one-on-one. There was lots of tea, cakes, ice-cream and good food...

Lunch with my aunt at Café Sture

Dessert at my grandmother's. She bakes the prettiest cakes! And so tasty...

I love her appartement, it's not huge but it's filled with countless old treasures. Everywhere you look there's something to admire!

After-lunch ice-cream with the siblings (aka Joakim and Kajsa). We went out for lunch, just the three of us. It's quite rare that we meet just us "children", which is a shame since we always have so much fun together. This time it was gran's idea, and she actually treated us to the lunch. Wasn't that sweet and thoughtful?

Fika with grandmother, 'cause of course we got some quality time just the two of us! We went to a nice café by Hötorget. The lemon pie was to die for...

These last two photos was taken the day I and my grandmother hit the second hand-market at Hötorget and I found this pretty set:

I got the hotplate (not sure that's the correct word, but it looks like a tray and it keeps the food warm during dinner) and one of the serving dishes (the one on the left), gran effortlessly haggled the pair down to half the price =) And the hotplate works!

After the market we met up with Kajsa and saw the exhibition "Royal vintage" at Livrustkammaren (the armory, a museum in Stockholm castle). They showed pieces from the royal wardrobes, 1900- today, only Swedish designers. The bulk of it was from 40s-60s, so right up my alley! I highly recommend this exhibition for anyone going to Stockholm. I'm not sure one is allowed to take pictures there, but this dress was just too beautiful to resist:

And of course I did not use a flash. I so want to make something based on this dress! But it will have to rest for a while, I do not need any more projects...

As you might have noticed, something happened with my hair during this week... I've had a haircut! My wonderful hairdresser Sarah from Retroella moved to Stockholm 6 months ago, and I had a chance to visit her in her new salon. It was so beautiful! And she cut my hair short. I finally took the leap, figuring I'm not doing anything truly important this fall and it will grow out till Christmas anyway. Cutting it short has been on my mind ever since this post, and now I've done it! Feels great! When something is on your mind for over a year, it's time to just do it =)
Here it's been set in pincurls. I like it, but a surprise was that short hair is so much warmer than long! Who could have guessed? Long hair is so easy to get out of the way, a fast braid or a messy bun and heat is not an issue. However, jackets are easier this way. And hoods! It's fun to experiment with a new hairstyle =)

That rounds up my travels for this summer!


Herräng! And not a year too soon!

This is the third part of My Summer. Want to read it in order? Then check out part 1 and part 2.

Last year I had to skip Herräng dancecamp, due to muscle inflammations in the front thigh muscles. You know, the muscles that are used the_entire_time while dancing lindy hop. I've been in physical therapy since then, and even took a total dance-break January through March this year. I'm not 100% well yet, but I am better and I decided that there was just no way I was missing out on Herräng another year! =)

Needless to say, I had a wonderful week. Classes were fun, the teachers awesome, my fellow dancers inspiring and socials in the evenings just magical. To be dancing for real again, to get to that point at three in the morning when the dancefloor starts to clear up a bit, and there's nothing but music and movement in mind and body... Bliss!

Erik at the piano during a break between classes. It was so cool to see the inside of the piano while he was playing!

There was a lot of "fika" for me this year. I've noticed that as I'm getting older I become less and less nocturnal. From my teenage years of sleeping generally 3-11 during holidays to waking up on my own at 8 in the morning and being happy about it for "one get's so much more done during the day", a concept 16 year old me scowled at =)
To counter-act my early habits I started each evening with cake and black tea (black! Which I never drink after 5 in the afternoon, else I can't sleep) after the evening meeting. Hanna and Rita were perfect fika-partners.

The only sad part was the weather; cold, gray and occasional rain. The last day it made a one-eighty and suddenly it was 25 degrees and not a cloud in sight! Happy dancers ran to the beach in-between classes and finally it felt like the real Herräng.

Herräng is such a special dance camp, it's not just the amount of classes or dancefloors, it's the feeling of entering a fantasy dance-world not quite set in reality. Herräng exists in it's own little universe, in a way no other dance camp I've been to does (but it reminds me of medieval events in that aspect). One week in this alternative dimension was more than eunough for my legs this year, but next year I will stay two weeks. I will! =)
That's all for this year from my favorite lindy place!
Love, Erika

Monday, 15 August 2011

Family and furniture - both welcomed guests

This is part two of My Summer, check out part 1 here.

In June, after Midsummer, Mom, Kajsa, Elsa and the remaining puppy came for a short visit. It's so nice to have visitors! My mother, being a saint, the best mom in the whole wide world and generally a wonderful person, drove all the way from Stockholm to Umeå on her own with a small trailer with furniture and stuff for me (Kajsa doesn't have a driver's license). These are things that somehow have found their way to me after my move to Umeå and I've been trying to get them here since last fall but there's always been some hiccup. Now everything is here and my appartement is complete! (Or, almost complete...) What mom and Kajsa brought:

Drawers for the foayer. Unclear origin, has served both me and Kajsa well for the past 10 years.

Corner cabinet, used to live in my paternal grandparents summer home, where I spent most of my summers as a child. When my aunt sold it after their passing away I got the cabinet but I have never had room for it until now. My mother, who as we now know is a saint, has found a way to house it for 10 years (during which she has moved three times). Anyway, the cabinet is practical for all the small things one has no clue where to place, and it's a bit of a family hairloom.

Armchair, from a great grandmother. Via my grandmother (who had it re-dressed in the 50s) and then my aunt. A true family heirloom, and perfect for handsewing in front of the TV =)

And many more things, like a microwave oven I really needed and wanted (thank you, mom! And it's red, so pretty!), a living room lamp, a 50s flower table etc, but longs lists are no fun.

While mom and Kajsa were here we used the great weather to the best, by for example a picnic by the river.

The puppy and Elsa has fun playing in the grass...

...while Kajsa tried to sit down without being overrun by small dogs.

I couldn't resist posing next to the water. There's something so fascintaing about water that moves, like the sea or a river.

It was wonderful having family here, I only wish I hadn't been working and preparing for a long trip away. Still, we had some very nice afternoons and evenings and I long for the next time they have a chance at visiting Umeå.

All for now, but check in tomorrow ; )
Love, Erika

Vacation over, but what a summer!

I don't know why I continue to hold the misconception that I can blog during vacation/travelling/having guests. I can't. So instead of a polite warning "I'll be gone for x days/weeks" the blog just appears to die. I swear I'll try to do better. Not with the blogging, but with the heads-ups =)

So how to do this? I had planned to just do two really long posts, summoning up the summer, but found it boooring. Also, I've come to feel that my posts are getting more and more unpersonal, maybe it's 'cause of writing in English? So I'll do a few shorter posts, one a day for the next five days.

 At the airport in Stockholm

My dad had an Important Birthday this year (don't worry dad, I won't give away the number) so in June I made a weekend trip to Stockholm. It was intense but fun! Amongst other things we treated him to a traditional knife-shave at a barber shop.

I visited "Old Touch", a vintage & second hand shop I've been longing to see the inside of. I was too busy gawking at all the wonderful things to take pictures, but check out Miriams wonderful photos here. Trunk space and upcoming vacation made me hold back, so I didn't actually buy anything, but it was fun just to browse the store.

My favortie dress was a must for this special day =)

Mom's dog, Elsa, had just had her first litter, and they were so cute! 8 weeks old and oh my did I want one!
Here they are, all asleep... (there are three puppies in the picture above. Try counting and see if you can spot the third =))
... and the next second, out of the blue, they're running around chasing each other!

Cute little fluffy things... Sigh. Few things beats cuddling a puppy!

Love, Erika