Woo hoo! I got a package from Sweden in the mail today!
I want to make a heartwarmer to wear with my Swedish folk dress. So, I need to turn this…
Nope, I’ve never crocheted a stitch in my life, so with me luck!
Nåsdräkten literally means, “the dress from Nås.
Nås is the village in Dalarna, Sweden where my ancestors lived.
Each village, or parish, had its own costume…
…with its own distinct components.
Many, like the Nås dress, have tatting on the blouse.
There are variations within the parish, like these neckerchiefs.
They are still stitched by hand.
The wool skirt sometimes has a red band…
…and always has a crocheted edge,
although there are many designs for the crochet!
The apron also has many variations. Some designs were specific for certain holidays, feast days, weddings, etc.
There is a cap which is tied under the chin, on the left side.
Only married women have lace on their caps.
Here’s a cap that is made completely from crochet.
The purse is beautifully embroidered and worn half hidden by the apron–a sign of modesty.
I was honored when my Swedish relatives had a Nåsdräkt made for me in 1984.
Wow! Look at this. This is the man’s folk costume.
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/
I’m obsessed with Swedish doors!
They’re all different….
…but somewhat the same.
They seem to be made of planks. Some are horizontal like the first four, but they’re not the most common.
These chevron designs seem to be quite common.
I love the nail head detail on this one.
This is a very old door.
Here’s a combo of chevrons and horizontal planks.
A variation on the chevron theme is the diamond design.
This is probably the most common.
Blue is a popular color,
as is gray.
Often a natural stone is used as a step.
Great detail around this double door.
An interesting combination.
I love the little diamond windows.
Another very old door.
I love the stairs in front of this one.
Another fancy surround.
I thought the arched top of this door was interesting.
The following are all at least a century old.
I think these very old ones may actually be carved.
What a cheerful way to be greeted when visiting someone!
When we built a Swedish cabin in our woods, it had to have a Swedish door, too!
Sometimes beauty is in the details. That’s the case with Swedish windows.
There are so many designs of leaded windows.
Some of these are centuries old.
I know leading served a purpose…
…but making it decorative didn’t make it any stronger.
It just made it more beautiful.
These windows are not just lovely to look through…
They’re lovely to look at!
Even shutters can make a statement.
The heart finds its way into lots of Swedish folk art.
This shutter is in Nås, Anna Lena’s hometown.
Some windows have decorative trim.
This is a very popular design.
Here’s a fancy one.
I saw this one on a resort island.
The designs here are painted on the building and not really part of the window. How ingenious!
Look carefully at the upper story of this house. With the exception of the tall window in the gable end, all the windows on the second floor (not just the trim) are painted on! At one time, you were assessed taxes based on how many windows you had in your house. Perhaps that’s why these aren’t real windows.
Of course flowers enhance any window.
This is the design the windows in my dream sunporch will have!
I liked the greenery both inside and outside this window.
Hope you enjoyed this peek at Swedish windows!
The food in Sweden is wonderful–and so beautifully presented.
This was our breakfast buffet one morning…
…on the island of Öland.
This was called “Summer Farm Hard Bread.”
Even the fast food/take-out is amazing.
We enjoyed some fine meals, like this tuna…
…and these were the best French fries I ever tasted–crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Picture yourself at an amusement park and going into a fast food restaurant for a bite to eat. You go up to the counter and order, someone slaps some food on your plate and you find a place in the crowded restaurant to sit down. Do you expect it to look like the photo below? Well, that’s what it was. And I have to say, the meatballs were some of the best I’ve ever had!
This was the coffee service in the same restaurant. Help yourself!
Berit served dessert outside while we were at her house.
We discovered rhubarb crisp with vanilla sauce was quite popular.
On, and in Visby we discovered a crepe shop! It doesn’t get much better than crepes served with ice cream AND whipped cream!
It isn’t midsummer without a strawberry whipped cream torte!
In Sweden, waffles are dessert.
I showed you in an earlier post the pastries offered at McDonald’s!
Well the next THREE photos are in a 7-Eleven!
One of my favorite signs is “Konditori,” which means bakery.
The selections are always incredible.
Besides sweet rolls, the breads are wonderful.
Sweden has the best strawberries, and when they’re in season, they are everywhere, like on these tarts at the bakery in the NK Department Store.
When you graduate from high school in Sweden, you wear a cap like the one shown below.
So it was no surprise when we saw cakes baked to look like the graduation caps!
I thought they were so fun.
Of course, I’m very fond of the traditional Princess Cake–the green ones are the most traditional.
And you see a lot of them in bakeries around Sweden.
But now there’s a new cake–the Princess Estelle cake…
…named for Sweden’s newest royal, baby Estelle.
A few days ago I had a voice mail from Sandy, a retired teacher and volunteer extraordinaire. She said something about a horse looking for a new herd—that it was free from disease and well mannered. Hmm…..
Then, yesterday I got home and this bag was on my porch.
“I came to the United States in 1971 on a big airplane (I think) locked in Mi Britt’s suitcase. For a few days there were lots of parties and welcomes for the person who brought me. I thought this was the way I would live forever. But, I was wrong and soon was given to a lady in a big building.
“I was put on a shelf and there were lots of young people who came in and out. Many of them picked me up and that felt so nice. And, they exclaimed how pretty I was and wondered about my ancestry. I lived there for many years and mostly was quite happy. Sometimes there were pretty long periods of time when no one much was around. I think they were called vacations. But, even then sometimes, the lady I was given to would come in and once in awhile she even picked me up and talked to me.
“Then, one day, for no reason that I knew I was put in a box with some of the friends I had made while sitting on the shelf for all those years. We were all confused because we didn’t do anything wrong so why were we being locked up? At first we were in the box in a warm place so it wasn’t too bad.
“Later we were put in another place that was kind of cold and we were really scared so we huddled together and tried to be content be we weren’t successful. We had heard of a fellow who just went to sleep for many many years so that is what we tried to do.
“Just a few days ago the lady came and opened our box and we were so relieved to see light. She picked us up and talked to us again and that felt really good. Now, she has told me that I get to live with another very nice lady who has a whole herd of my kind and I am very excited! Thank you so much or letting me come live with you and my new herd.
“Your new friend.”
And so it has come to pass. Here’s the new member of the herd making the acquaintance of some of “his kind.”
He found a comfortable place among his new friends.
I think he’ll be very happy here. Thank you, Sandy!
Dalarna is the province of my ancestors. Whenever you read about Sweden, Dalarna is referred to as “the heart of Sweden.” It’s the place where the folk traditions live on, where people still wear their parish costumes at midsummer, where the Dala horses are made, where the quintessential red paint comes from. To me, Dalarna feels like home.
The lupine grows in abundance.
The chimneys are artfully designed.
Every village has a maypole.
Each with its own special symbols.
There’s room for a giant tupp candlestick in the middle of a roundabout!
It’s where Mora clocks originated.
The parish costumers are colorful.
Red buildings abound.
The forests are abundant.
The fences are special.
Charming little lakes are everywhere.
The sunsets are amazing.
And the strawberry whipped cream cakes are pretty darned good!
I’m ready to go back now.
Last year, I was delighted to discover a book about traditional Swedish parish clothes called Scandinavian Folklore. While reading through it, I discovered a series of photographs that were taken in the village a Boda, at their Gammelgård—which literally translated means “old farm.”
It wasn’t far from Nås, so on Sunday, Bob and I went for a drive to Boda to see the old farm.
The midsummer decorations were still up, like the birch branches…
…and, of course, the maypole!
Did you know every village decorates their maypole differently?
There was no one around, and they skies were threatening….
…but we took our time and looked around.
I even climbed up to an outside balcony.
As always, I love the old windows…
This door had a great old handle with some decorative carving and the date–1755. Also notice the decorative plate behind the keyhole.
At one point, the sky opened up and we had to take refuge on a porch.
Luckily, the shower didn’t last long and we were able to walk around the perimeter of the property…
…and enjoy the typical Dalarna fences…
Good-bye, Boda. Thanks for letting us visit.
You can’t visit the province of Dalarna—the heart of Sweden—without some exposure to Dala horses!
While at Sven-Eric’s I took photos of the Dala horses that he’s had since he was a child. I like the old ones for several reasons. I love looking at the different styles of decorative painting, for one.
I don’t mind the worn paint at all. In fact, it makes me happy to think of the hours someone spent playing with this horse. I also love his round tummy!
This little fellow must have had a cart at one time, like the horse in the book Karl’s Wooden Horse.
There was even a pig!
It’s not hard to find Dala horses to buy when you’re in Sweden.
Shops are full of them.
They’re lined up like little armies!
Already have a horse or two? How about a chicken?
Or a Dala horse on skis?
Even though I’ve been many times, it’s always fun to go to the factories. The horses are still hand carved.
Oh, my, that’s a lot of horses waiting for paint!
Seeing them like this makes me think of story lines for a Dala horse thriller. ”Let me out!”
Oh dear. The carnage! Oh wait, that’s just paint.
Ah, this is better. All dipped and ready for decoration.
I love how rapt the expressions are on these kids’ faces.
More horses waiting for a new home.
We bought a special one for our youngest granddaughter, Peyton. This color is a limited edition.
My collection is already, shall we say, “extensive?” So I just bought a couple of novelty things, like this jigsaw puzzle horse.
And this paper one, that was a card that I punched out.
I couldn’t resist these two that I found in an antique shop.
I hope they’ll be happy joining the “herd” I already have!
I’m never happier than when I’m in Sweden for midsummer! Midsummer is a holiday in Sweden, and everyone celebrates! In 1983 my Swedish relatives had a parish dress made for me. Every parish in Sweden has a different folk costume. Mine is from the parish of Nås, Dalarna, the village that Anna Lena came from, and the place we celebrated midsummer this year.
Nås is on the banks of Västerdalälven, the West Dala River. The musicians arrive by water.
The village celebration is held at Storänget, the local park. The musicians lead the way to the maypole.
The maypole has been prepared with greenery. Usually there are flowers, too, but not this year.
The MCs ask for volunteers to help raise the pole.
It’s a big job, but there were lots of volunteers.
Up, up, up it goes!
Finally! It’s in place.
It will stay up until next year.
Many of the children had made crowns from wildflowers.
Did you know that if you pick seven different wildflowers on midsummer eve, and put them under your pillow, you will dream about your true love?
It’s so nice to see youngsters dressed in the local style.
I don’t think these are the traditional shoes!
I’m not sure what parish this costume is from.
There is a competition among the neighborhoods which includes sack races, water bucket races…
…races on stilts….
…and wooden skis.
Many of my relatives were there. This is Torsten, on the left, and Sven-Eric.
Torsten’s daughter, Emmi, and Sven-Eric’s wife, Anna.
Bob and me with Ulrica and Carl.
And with Berit and Gunnar.
This is Ida.
From the park, we went to Sven-Eric and Anna’s for an alfresco meal.
This table is made from one plank!
Sticking with tradition, the barn was decorated with birch.
There was plenty of wonderful food.
And wildflowers, of course!
Meatballs, potatoes and Vesterbotten pie.
Gunnar won this giant box of candy!
Which he shared with the rest of us.
It was an absolutely magical day!