Wednesday, 23 August 2017

late summer

I'm not going to lie, this is my least favourite time of year - the last weeks of August. My birthday is over, so there's not that to look forward to. Even if the days are warm, the mornings are so cold and you can feel autumn in every breeze. The swifts have left for the south and every time it rains you feel certain that this will be the last summer rainstorm, the one that blows out the season.

I do like fall - the leaves, the cozy sweaters, the feeling of newness and back-to-schoolness. It's these in-between weeks I can't stand.  Nevermind that I've finished primary school, high school, uni and grad school, every year at this time, as sure as the days get shorter, I can't escape that particular end-of-summer melancholy, that bitter-sweet, deliciously familiar feeling of the season of freedom ending.

Rather than wallow in my nostalgia and regrets for yet another summer gone (I didn't even go swimming once this year!) let us relive the highlights of my season:

In July we went to Carl Larsson-gård (the home of a famous Swedish painter) in Dalarna.

In August I spent a week camping in a meadow in Skåne, at the World Scout Jamboree. I've been in charge of planning one of the activities, about sustainable development, since this time last year. It was so great to actually see the results of all our planning in real life, and spending a week camping in the sun with great people wasn't too shabby, either. Definitely the highlight of my summer.

Welcome to Rinkabyfältet!

it's almost enough to make me want to become a morning person

a scout dog!

in boss uniform, complete with reflective vest and walkie-talkie

view from a tent
The day after I got back we went rambling in an area of Uppsala called Hågadalen. It was lovely but rainy and definitely felt like fall.

I shouldn't fail to mention that in June I finished a quilt top - not quilted yet, though, I'm still looking for a double-wide backing.

my second summer sampler

Somewhere in there I did some kitty-sitting and we went to a wedding at Skokloster - and got to come home via ship the next day, a beautiful trip up Eköln and Fyrisån on a perfect cloudless July day.

<3 you, Uppland

And I did quite a lot of sewing, too. More on that next time.

peter pan collar of my dreams

I was at camp during my birthday so we celebrated a week later with lots and lots of smoked shrimp, västerbotten pie, kräftor, skagenröra - the essentials of a late-summer feast, in other words.

I guess this hasn't been such a bad summer after all!

Thursday, 3 August 2017


I went to visit my garden today. It's in an allotment area a few kms from my house.

a bee getting nectar from a borage flower
bees <3 borage

a small fence with yellow flowers in front of it

Everything is growing a bit slow this summer. We're in a drought, and the first part of the summer was rainy but very cold, so the plants didn't exactly get a head start. Everything is a bit smaller than normally, but still pretty!

a yellow summer squash plant with a squash and some flowers on it
summer squash

borlotto bean on the bush

purple spotted green beans on the bush
italian beans

I did manage to get quite a lot of beans today and a few small squash.

beans and squash lie on the grass with garden tools

 After all the chores I spent about ten minutes eating red currants off the bush. They're the tastiest!

closeup of a redcurrant bush

When I got home I realised the borlotti beans I picked are not at all ripe! They're supposed to be white and red. But I just cut them up like the other beans and used them to make this tasty salad.

a bowl of green salad with tuna

The recipe is adapted from this one, I also want to try it with proper borlotti!

Bean and tuna salad with parsley

mixed green beans (enough for two people or however many will eat)
1 tin really good tuna in oil
a big handful of flat parsley, chopped
½ onion, finely sliced or chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1-2 tiny summer squash, or one slightly bigger one, sliced
1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
a slosh of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the beans in two or three pieces and boil them for two minutes. Dump them in cold water right away to stop the cooking. Drain when cool.

In a bowl mix the tuna, onion, parsley, capers and squash. They're so lovely when they're tiny! So tasty! Add the beans, a big splash of oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

This makes a good filling meal together with some bread.

hej bloggen

Listened to Sandra Beijer today in P3, about being a professional blogger (listen here) and got inspired to start blogging again!

We'll see how it goes this time. I have a new laptop now with an intact keyboard, so I think (hope) I'll be more inclined to blog now!


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

hand-piecing tutorial: farmer's wife block one

after months of anticipation, i have finally started my farmer's wife 1930s quilt! wheeeee!

solid: from my stash
strawberry biscuit by elea lutz
robert kaufman just one of those days tilt in screamin' cactus (i got this in last month's flirty 30s club from pretty fabric & trims. can't wait for this month's instalment!)

i love the letter that accompanies this block, about moving to a farm and enjoying all the work that comes along with it. i also want a ranch, "mostly in timber"!

i'm planning to use 30s repro fabrics and a lot of really cute prints (like that strawberry biscuit!) in this quilt, and no specific colour scheme, but 1-2 solids in each block. i've also seen really wonderful examples of blocks that use only prints, but i think it works best to pick one or the other - either solids in every block, or none at all.

i'm also planning to hand piece all the blocks, although we'll see how that goes when i come to the blocks that have 40+ pieces...

my reasoning is that i like hand piecing and find it fun! plus this is going to be a fairly long-term project as i'm still collecting fabrics, so there's no need to get through a block quickly and onto the next one. i don't even have fabric for the next one yet! with that said, hand piecing doesn't really take that long, at least not for a simple block like this one. i think the sewing took me a little over an hour, although tracing and cutting out templates is a little slower than rotary cutting.

here's a little tutorial in case you want to try your hand (heh) at hand piecing these or any other blocks:

start by cutting out the paper templates, glue them to thin cardboard (such as a cracker box) and cut out the centres with an x-acto knife. (i feel like i should save the centres too but i'm not sure what they would be good for...)

your pattern will tell you how many to cut of each piece. trace around the outside and the inside of the template on the back of your fabric. when you cut it out you'll have a piece with a 1/4" seam allowance and the inside line will show you where to sew.

i think all the little pieces look so cute!

if you're fussy-cutting, as i did with the centre and the blue points, the process is slightly different. and fun! using your template as a "view finder" move it around the fabric until you find a motif you want to use. trace around only the outside of the template. turn it over after you've cut it out and trace the inside of the template on the fabric back so you have a line to follow when sewing.

then it's on to the sewing! i usually follow the general piecing order given for machine piecing, but if it seems like there's a more clever way to put a block together, go for it!

the stitch used for piecing is a standard running stitch. load 4-5 stitches on your needle, pull it through, then take a backstitch for strength and keep going. taking several stitches at once keeps your line straight and is the secret for a nice result. when you come to an intersecting seam allowance, don't stitch it down like you would when machine piecing. rather, lift it up, take a backstitch on the other side, and continue stitching.

i usually use all-purpose thread but a lot of people swear by quilting thread, which is stronger.

here you can see a unit from the front and the back. you don't need to use an iron to press the seams, you can just finger press them. i generally give the whole block a gentle press when it's done.

and that's all there is to it!

p.s. i often think that it's a little easier to be super accurate and get your points to line up with hand piecing, but i noticed as i was editing these photos that one of my points got cut off. oops! so you still have to be careful, heheh

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

summer sampler 2016 block 19

here's my second finished block for the summer sampler 2016 quilt-a-long, which is actually the 19th (and second-to-last) block overall!

summer sampler 2016 block 19: horsetail falls

 this block was fairly easy to put together and gives you lots of practise at making flying geese. i'm not totally sold on my colour placement though, i think the bright magenta corners kind of detract from the overall design. and maybe the background is too scrappy? if i have fabric left over i might re-make this one. still in love with my fabrics though!

i've been following along all summer as the blocks have been released but hesitated to join in as i have so many other projects on the go. but of course i couldn't resist! the first summer sampler was so fun and the first quilt i ever made, so naturally i have to make this one too, right?

choosing the fabrics for this quilt has been really fun, and different from my usual process. my first quilt (the original summer sampler) was made with fabrics i found at my local sewing store. i had a colour scheme in mind but i wasn't too fussy when i chose fabrics, i just took what i could find that i liked and that worked with what i had in mind. this time, though, i used a different strategy.

i chose an "inspiration" photo from my pinterest board colours - where i save interesting colours, quite simply. it's probably the pinterest board i look at most often, it's so full of ideas and a treat for the eyes. otherwise it's easy to pin something and forget to check the board again, right?

magenta, purple, wisteria, lime and teal

once i had my photo i looked for fabrics based soley on colour - and favoured modern prints with bold designs, rather than my usual small-scale, mostly floral, prints. the result is something totally different from what i usually use and fabrics that i'm super excited to work with. i woke up early the morning after they arrived in the mail and was too excited at the thought of making my first block to fall back asleep!

now that's a project that's worth making, even when you have a lot on the go!


hello readers! welcome to my new blog.

formerly i blogged at i decided to move because i wanted a blog name that was a little shorter and more memorable, and a little more personal - although my vintage sewing was certainly descriptive, and moving wasn't an easy decision. i was also a little annoyed with wordpress, and prefer working in blogger.

plus, let's be honest, i've had a cold all week and needed something entertaining i could do while sniffling on the couch. making a new blog sure fits that bill!