• 19May
    Categories: musings Comments: 3

    I wanted to embroider something to hang in my kitchen window in our Swedish house, and when I found these chickens doing their days-of-the-week chores, I knew they were the ones!

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    These industrious gals have it all figured out–washing on Monday.

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    Ironing on Tuesday.

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    Mending on Wednesday.

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    Shopping on Thursday.

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    Cleaning on Friday.

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    And baking on Saturday!

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    If only it were that easy!

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    I can’t wait to get them hung up in the window!

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    I found these patterns online, on Pinterest.

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    It says they are a TriChem pattern.

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    I checked their site, and they aren’t listed.

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    I assume they are an older, discontinued pattern.

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    Although I don’t know why.

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    I think they’re adorable!

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    If there was a Sunday, I couldn’t find it!

     

  • 09Mar

    One of my mom’s health care providers, Sayonara, thought it would be fun to give me a housewarming party for the new house in Sweden!

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    She enlisted Mom and Sally’s help and they put together a wonderful party at Mom’s house.

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    Sy decorated the entry with the Swedish colors.

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    And the Swedish theme continued with the table settings, of course!

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    Sally has the perfect blue and yellow dishes for just such an occassion!

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    And she has table linens to match.

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    I was able to provide something Swedish for the center of the tables, like fold out Dala horses and…

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    …these charming little candle holders.

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    This is our dear, dear friend Peggy.

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    She sent a bouquet of flowers in the perfect colors!

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    Luckily, there are enough Scandinavians in the Northwest that it’s easy to find special Swedish foods…

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    …like this Leksands Knäckebröd, which is produced not far from our house in Sweden!

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    Mmm. Hard bread!

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    Sally did a perfect Swedish meal–meatballs, cream sauce, lingonberries, boiled potatoes with dill and Swedish cucumber salad.

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    Melissa made the trip from Bend, which was very special.

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    The gifts were beautifully wrapped.  How perfect is this for a Swedish party?

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    There was lots of red and white to reflect the theme of the kitchen in Sweden.

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    Everyone was sooooo generous.  I’ll have the best stocked kitchen in the neighborhood.

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    And I’ll be able to entertain with the traditional seven kinds of cookies!

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    I made traditional Swedish “cooked” coffee to go with dessert.  That’s boiled coffee for the uninitiated.

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    There’s a bakery in Kirkland that specializes in Princess Cakes!

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    And Karen Rollman made this adorable (and delicious) Dala horse cake.

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    Everyone went home with a goodie bag filled with Swedish candies.

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    It was such a fun afternoon, and so sweet of my friends to honor me in this way.  Thank you, all.

     

  • 18Dec
    Categories: musings Comments: 0

    Here’s another favorite from Bob’s side of the family.  His mom made them every Christmas.  They have a brown sugar dough and a filling of dates and walnuts.  Yum!

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    Date Pinwheels

    Ingredients for Cookies:

    4 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    4 sticks butter
    2 cups brown sugar
    3 eggs, beaten

    Ingredients for Filling:

    2-1/4 cups chopped dates
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup finely chopped walnuts
    1 cup water

    Put first three ingredients in a bowl.  Stir with a whisk to combine.

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and brown sugar about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and mix until well blended.

    Add the dry ingredients in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Divide the dough into three equal balls.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

    While dough is chilling, prepare filling by combining dates, sugar, walnuts and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.

    On a lightly floured board, roll out one ball of cookie doing into a 12″ x 8″ rectangle.

    Spread a third of the date filling evenly on the dough.

    Beginning with the long side, roll the dough up jelly roll style.

    Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Repeat with the other two balls of dough.

    With a sharp, thin knife, slice rolls into 1/4″ thick slices.

    Place 1″ apart on a cookie sheet.

    Bake at 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.

    Yield – 144 delicious cookies!

  • 12Dec

    Today we leave Sweden and travel to Scotland for out latest cookie — Scottish Shortbread.

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    While not Swedish, they are a perfect, buttery cookie to go along with our others.  And, besides, they’re a tradition in Bob’s family.  This is his Scottish grandmother’s recipe and has been passed down through his dad.  And, now, I’m happy to say, his boys are sharing it with their kids, too!

    This simple cookie has only three ingredients — butter, sugar and flour!  The final product can take on many shapes, but this year, we did “coins.”  Start by dividing the dough into fourths and rolling out a log 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter.

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    We like to roll these in colored sugar.

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    Just sprinkle some on a piece of waxed paper…

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    …and roll!

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    You can use lots of different colors.

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    Roll each log up in waxed paper and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  Then, slice them with a sharp knife into little coins.

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    Bake until they just start to brown.  I overcooked some of mine.  ;-(

    But, we still plan to eat them!

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    Scottish Shortbread

    Ingredients:
    4 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    4 cups flour

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes.

    Add flour in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Knead lightly and divide into four pieces.  Roll each piece into a log approximately 1-1/2″ to 2″ in diameter.

    Roll in colored sugar, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate two hours or overnight.

    Slice into “coins” and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.

    Yields 100 cookies.

  • 10Dec
    Categories: musings Comments: 0

    It’s Day Two of Seven Kinds of Cookies–the traditional number of cookies served with coffee in Sweden.  So, what’s more appropriate than Swedish Spritz.

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    These cookies require a special press or gun.

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    I got mine in 1974!  Can you tell by the avocado green and big daisy?

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    It’s a basic, shortbread dough that’s pressed through the gun onto your cookie sheet.  BIG TIP!  Sometimes they don’t want to stick to the cookie sheet.  The best way to improve this is to refrigerate you cookie sheets!  Then, it will work like a dream.

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    Sprinkle your cookies with colored sugar and bake.

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    That’s all there is to it.  Enjoy!

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    Swedish Spritz

    Ingredients:
    4 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
    2 eggs
    4-1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt

    In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes.  Add the extract and eggs.  Mix until well blended.

    In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.  Whisk together to mix, then add in three or four parts to butter mixture.  Mix until a nice ball comes together.

    Fill your cookie press and press out onto a chilled cookie sheet.

    Sprinkle with colored sugar.

    Bake 6-8 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

    Enjoy!

    Yield–a lot!

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  • 05Dec

    A good friend of my sister’s lost her husband a few years ago.  She still had three of his Hawaiian shirts in her closet, and when she saw a quilt made out of old shirts, she knew she wanted to use the Hawaiian shirts for quilts for her three children.  Since she’s not a quilter, Sally put the SOS out to me.  The timing was perfect, as we were going to a retreat at The Wild Rose.

    Sally brought along the shirts and I started unstitching them.

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    It was really a bigger job than I thought, but I wanted to make the most of the fabric.  I ended up cutting the shirts into 4-1/2″ squares.  I divided them in thirds and put one stack up on the design wall to balance out the colors.

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    I wanted the quilts to be similar, but still different, and I wanted the prints to be the “stars” of the show.  So I decided I would use solids and set the blocks together with sashing and cornerstones.

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    It’s a very simple setting, but I think it served its purpose.

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    I finished them off with a simple stipple.

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    Each shirt had a pocket, so I stitched one to the back of each quilt.

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    I was pleased with the way they turned out.

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    I’m sure the kids will treasure them.

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    If you want the fabric requirements to make one of your own, they’re below.  This is also a great way to show off fussy cut, novelty prints or even photo transfer blocks.

    Hawaiian Shirt Quilt

    Materials

    1 Hawaiian shirt (I got enough squares from each shirt to do one quilt, but I mixed them up for interest)

    7/8 yard cornerstones and inner border fabric

    2-1/4 yards sashing and outer border

    4 yards backing

    From the Hawaiian shirts cut 80) 4-1/2″ squares

    From the cornerstone/inner border fabric, cut 10) 2-1/2″ strips.  Cut four strips into 2-1/2″ squares for cornerstones. Use remaining squares for inner border.

    From the sashing/outer border fabric cut 18) 2-1/2″ strips; crosscut into 142) 4-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ rectangles for the sashing.  Then cut 7) 4-1/2″ strips for the border

    Cut the backing into two equal pieces.

    I pulled the backing around to the front of the quilts and machine stitched for the binding.

     

     

     

     

  • 22Aug

    About a year and a half ago I bought a signature quilt on Ebay.

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    I bought it because I was intrigued by the design–and I love signature quilts.

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    When I was trying to determine the block pattern I first saw the blue pinwheel in the design, but then the rest of the pattern didn’t really make sense

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    Finally I realized that it’s a variation of a Rail Fence with three rails sewn around a red center.

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    The seller knew nothing about the quilt.  She had purchased it at an estate sale in California.  I surmised it was a World War II raffle quilt—members of a group like a Ladies Air or Auxiliary solicited people to pay a dime or a quarter to have their name embroidered on the quilt, then the quilt was raffled off.  You could tell by the different writing that many women had participated in creating the embroidered blocks.

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    I felt so sad that I didn’t know where this quilt had been made.  BUT, here’s the best part of the story.  My friend Jodi was visiting and I showed her the quilt.  Like me, she loves history and quilts, and she’s a geneologist!  She asked if she could take the quilt home for a bit and do some research, perhaps discover where this quilt was from.

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    A few weeks later we met for lunch and so she could return the quilt.  Well, you’ll never believe this.  Not only did she find out where the quilt was from, she had found a book on the history of the area–Pulaski County, Illinois!  She presented me with the quilt and the book.  She had transcribed all the names–all 505 of them!  She had found references to several of the people from the quilt in the history book.  What a treasure.  My first thought was that I should see if there’s a historical museum in the county and send the quilt there, but I remember saying to Jodi, “I’d rather the quilt went to an individual who has a connection with this quilt.”  And that was the end of the story—for awhile.

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    Jodi blogged about the quilt and eventually that blog came to the attention of a someone in Pulaski County!  When he read the post, he saw the names of his maternal grandmother and grandfather, his mother, an uncle, a great aunt and uncle, a cousin of his mother’s and his great-grandmother in one of the photos!  What were the chances!?!  Oh, and are you ready for this?  He’s a quilt collector!  I knew this quilt had found it’s home.

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    Last week I sent it off and this quilt is now back where it belongs.

  • 12Apr
    Categories: musings Comments: 4

    Some time back, I posted a tutorial for the Crossroads to Jericho block.

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    Since then, both my retreat group and our guild used the block in a swap.  As usual, I love to see what people do with a set of blocks.  It’s amazing how every quilt looks different, and some of the look REALLY different!

    Here’s the one Pat put together, putting the blocks on point with black sashing and setting triangles.

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    Nellie chose a straight set and sashed hers with black and use aqua cornerstones and a nine-patch-and-stripe border.

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    Then it really got interesting.  Lynda wasn’t thrilled with the block as it was, so she laid a double wedding ring ruler over it and cut!

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    That got me to thinking, so I sliced mine in half twice on the diagonal and put them back together with some black setting squares.

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    Melinda was inspired and decided to cut hers in half twice also, then add “feet” and rickrack handles to make baskets!

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    Ann cut her blocks in half once for baskets and added appliqued flowers!

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    Pretty amazing!

  • 26Mar

    I’m always saying, “Make it your own!”  When you make a quilt from a pattern, do you want it to look just like the pattern or do you want to “make it your own?”

    Our quilt guild had a block of the month last year, and the ladies really did a great job of making each quilt individual while still following the pattern.  These quilts were on display at our quilt show earlier this month, and I  just had to share them with you.

    I love when quilters do something unique with the border, like this one from Merri.

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    Carol not only did fun little cabin blocks in the corners, she limited her palette to mostly blacks and grays with touches of red and gold.

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    Wow!  Check out this picket fence border that Melinda made.

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    I love Joe Ann’s use of stripes in her quilt, and the little touches of patriotic fabric.

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    Lynda incorporated a great novelty farm print in her border.

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    Gloria, who was the designer of the quilt, hit the mark with her homespun border.

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    Bev’s use of pastels adds an interesting twist.

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    Nellie really surprised me by using all polka-dot fabrics!  As a lover of polka-dots, I thought it was superb.

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    Nancey’s cheery, bright colors look great and I love the piano key border.

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    Audrey’s clear colors make for a crisp looking quilt.

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    Loretta loves blue and she did a fine job of working some blue into her quilt.

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    Ann stuck with traditional colors in this version of her quilt…

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    …but she wasn’t satisfied with just one—she made two!  They couldn’t look more different and both are terrific.

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    The reds in Marian’s quilt really pop.

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    What a talented bunch of ladies.  I’m so glad to be a part of this group with them.

  • 24Jan
    Categories: musings Comments: 5

    Nåsdräkten literally means, “the dress from Nås.

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    Nås is the village in Dalarna, Sweden where my ancestors lived.

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    Each village, or parish, had its own costume…

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    …with its own distinct components, like the style of this bodice.

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    Or the cut of the scarf.

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    Many, like the Nås dress, have tatting on the blouse.

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    There are variations within the parish, like these neckerchiefs.

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    They are still stitched by hand.

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    The wool skirt sometimes has a red band…

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    …and always has a crocheted edge,

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    although there are many designs for the crochet!

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    The apron also has many variations.  Some designs were specific for certain holidays, feast days, weddings, etc.

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    There is a cap which is tied under the chin, on the left side.

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    Only married women have lace on their caps.

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    Here’s a cap that is made completely from crochet.

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    The purse is beautifully embroidered and worn half hidden by the apron–a sign of modesty.

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    I was honored when my Swedish relatives had a Nåsdräkt made for me in 1984.

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    The man’s frock coat can be white…

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    …or black.

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    Photo credits:

    folklorefashion.durantextiles.com

    margaretajonth.com

    sverigesfolkdrakter.se

    You can see more photos on my Pinterest board devoted to the Nas dress and fin direct links to the original websites for the photos.  http://pinterest.com/karenannalena/swedish-nasdrakt/