A Long Holiday

Knitting And Gift Bag | Whims And Fancies

Various reasons called for a long holiday this year and I obliged.  For me that typically means going into hibernation, at home or sometimes elsewhere on a trip.  These getaway trips would be completely impossible for us without our fabulous pet sitter, Nanci.  She not only takes care of the basic necessities of our kitties, she also spends time with them and reads aloud to them.  She even warmed her way into the hearts of my shy kitties enough that they are completely relaxed around her.

During our Sweden vacation, we got this mug for her as a thank you.  That was in September, but with one thing and another we didn’t get to see each other again until after the holidays.
 
Knitting And Sewing Gift Bag | Whims And Fancies

Pattern at One Lucky Day

As soon as I finished the first bag using the pattern on One Lucky Duck, I had to make another one for Nanci.  It made a great gift bag, the mug fits in it perfectly.  Nanci is a quilter herself.  She also runs a craft workshop for her occupational therapy patients.  She was very excited about the bag and I shared the pattern link with her for her workshop.

 

Yellow Knitted Mittens | Whims And Fancies

Harvest Date Mitts

She spends a lot of time outside, so I made these yellow mitts for her to keep her hands warm while she is out and about.  As soon as she pulled them out of the mug, she put them on right away.  She was very happy with her handmade gifts and that in turn made me smile big.

The pattern links for both the bag and the mitts are under each photo if you want to make them.  They are very quick to make and they make great gifts!

 

Pattern Writing Blog Series

 
Speaking of patterns, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Design is starting a series on Quilt Pattern Writing.  If you are interested in writing patterns or ever wondered what goes into writing them, you won’t want to miss this.  She is also doing round table discussions and I am one of the designers participating.  It will be great to see both the similarities and the differences the various designers will bring to the table.  I had a great fun writing my answers before I started my holiday.
 
Lego Harry Potter | Whims And Fancies

This year’s holidays were all about indulging my inner child.  My husband and I love the Lego Harry Potter video games.  We spent large chunks of time playing and laughing at the silliness in the game.  The settings and the music in the game are very comforting for us and we love to get lost in that world.
 

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe | Whims And Fancies

This is sticky toffee pudding, the most delectable dessert I have ever had.  I only make it for the holidays using Nigella Lawson’s easy recipe with reduced sugar for the sauce.  I had it for breakfast one morning with vanilla ice cream!  I really don’t care about the calorie consumption, having it for breakfast once a year won’t kill me!

 

Mary's Bread | Whims And Fancies

My friend Mary shared her bread recipe which I made during the holidays.  The bread came out perfect the very first time and was incredibly delicious!

 

Yosemite Tunnel View | Whims And Fancies

The holidays ended with a trip to Yosemite National Park.  There was an unexpected road closure due to a major rockfall.  That resulted in three separate three-hours-a-piece detours in and out of the park on icy and snowy roads instead of our usual 15-minute jaunt from the hotel.  On the second evening, on our way back, we were very happy to learn that they were about to reopen the quick route back to the hotel.

While we were waiting for the road to reopen that evening, we drove to the Tunnel View vista point.  The drifting cloud from the cold and overcast day was starting to settle into an even colder Yosemite Valley night.

Happy Creating, everyone!
-Soma
 

Garnet Primrose And The Rest Of Sweden

Garnet Primrose Flower Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Garnet Primrose pattern on Etsy

 

I continue to work on my Downton Abbey stained glass flower quilt.  Garnet Primrose is the last of the four flowers I designed for this quilt.  Since the rest of the flower quilt patterns look like mineral crystals, I made the tips of the primrose petals less curved to keep with the theme.  I have always loved the deep red colour of garnet, plus, I also find schist – the metamorphic rock in which garnet is found – fascinating.  So I had to name this flower after the mineral garnet.

 

The Garnet Primrose flower quilt pattern is also on my Etsy shop.  Just like the other flowers, it is also a 12″ block.

 

 
Downton Abbey Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

Links to the patterns

 

Top Row – Garnet Primrose on EtsyKyanite Iris on Etsy

Bottom Row – Olivine Tulip on EtsySelenite Clematis  on Etsy

 

Here is the initial set of blocks for my quilt.  I have already printed out more copies of each pattern.  Now I need to work on the quilt layout so I know exactly how many of each flower I need to make.  Thank you for your lovely words on these quilt blocks and many thanks also to those who have purchased the blocks already.

 

I also have the last few photos of Sweden that I want to share with you.  Last time I left off at the Lerkaka windmills in Öland.

 

 

Eketorps Borg Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The next day began at Eketorps Borg.  It is a reconstructed Viking fortress, which is closed during September.  My husband emailed them about a private tour.  We were very surprised to get a reply back and we were not disappointed. Gabriella and her friend, who are both archaeologists, were waiting for us when we got there.  While her friend got busy with getting ready for the last celebration of the season, Gabriella gave us an extremely detailed tour and answered all of our many questions very patiently.  We even got to see the meticulously created props for the festival which are usually off-limits to the public.

 

 

Eketorps Borg Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

This is the back wall of one of the reconstructed huts.  These replicated wall hangings are modelled after fragments that were found during excavation.  There is a reconstructed loom on the right side of the room.  After the tour the four of us spent more time chatting about the history of that area over coffee.  That completely derailed our tight schedule, but we were having so much fun that we didn’t want to rush out of there.

 

 

Gravfalt Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

We finally forced ourselves to say goodbye to the two lovely ladies.  On our way to the Borgholm Castle we stopped by Gettlinge Gravfält – a prehistoric burial site.  This is one of the many burial sites on the island.

 

 

Kalmar Runestone Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

There are also many rune stones in Öland.  You could literally spend days spotting them!

 

 

Borgholm Castle Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

It was a fairly long drive from Eketorps Borg to Borgholm Castle.  Due to the extra time spent at Eketorps Borg and at the burial site, we only had an hour at the castle before they closed.  It was a rushed visit, but we managed to see all of it.

 

 

Borgholm Castle Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

It is a castle ruin, most of the flooring is now missing.  There are four towers, one at each corner.  I took the photo of this tower from the top level.  We were desperately hungry by this time since we had skipped lunch to get here on time.  So it was time to forage for some food.

 

 

Ismantorps Borg Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Light was starting to fail as we drove toward Ismantorps Borg.  We walked through a short path through an extremely quiet wood at this remote place during dusk.  I could almost feel the spirits of the prehistoric people in that place.  Ismantorps Borg is a ruin, but remnants of leftover structures can still be seen.  It is suggested that it was not used as a fortress, but as a place for worship.  There is an alter-like area in the middle.

We clambered up on a wall, speculating about the area over a coffee break.  As I was coming down after taking this photo, my ankle twisted and I took a spectacular fall.  Luckily I was able to put my hands out in front of me and my face didn’t meet the rock underneath.  I got away with a limp and some bruises.

 

 

Kalmar Castle Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

We spent the next morning at Kalmar Castle.  It is an impressive renaissance castle that faces the sea on one side.  We walked all around the ramparts and also alongside the castle wall.  This photo is taken from one of the ramparts.    It was such a beautiful day, sunny, cool and lightly breezy.  A group of four young boys and girls were having a small picnic up here.

 

 

Kalmar Castle Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The rooms were beautifully decorated with panelling and paintings.  We were really happy about our decision to spend the whole morning there.  After lunching at Kalmar Cafe inside the castle we started on our drive toward the west.

 

 

Lund Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

On the way to Malmö where we would overnight, we stopped at Lund to see the astronomical clock inside Lund cathedral.   Very much like Uppsala, the university here is also located close to the cathedral.  It made for a very nice afternoon walk.

 

 

Ales Stenar Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

In the morning we drove from Malmö to Ystad by the seaside to see the stone ship, Ales Stenar.  It is a megalithic structure shaped like a ship.  It may have had astronomical significance as well.

 

 

Malmo Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

We were going to spend a little time in Malmö before leisurely taking a train back to Stockholm airport.  Unfortunately, on the way back from Ystad, we got stuck in a road closure due to a traffic accident.  That and the returning of the rental car hardly left us any time at Malmö.  A few rushed minutes at the town centre and it was time for us to depart Sweden.

Thank you so much for travelling along with me.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

We explored Sweden in 9 days, across 1500 miles, 22 cities and 1111 photos.  We had to forgo visiting a few places in favour of spending more time at others, but we are very happy with the choices we made.

 

 

Previous Sweden Travel Stories

Kiruna To Umeå

Umeå To Falun

Falun to Öland

 

Happy Holidays Everyone!
-Soma
 

 

Holiday Crackers And More Of Sweden

Christmas Crackers Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Holiday Crackers pattern on Etsy

 

The child in me still loves Lego Advent calendars and Christmas crackers.  I can’t wait to open them and reveal their unknown contents.  The pop sound of the Christmas crackers makes me laugh, just like popping bubble wrap.  The bad jokes inside the crackers are perfect for head-shaking and groaning!

Every year I think I will make a set of holiday crackers blocks and every year I forget.  Not this year!  Last week I ignored my other projects, spent a LOT of time drawing Christmas crackers and writing the pattern files.  I started sewing them as soon as I was finished with the patterns.
 

 

Holiday Crackers Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

I found these sweater checks leftover fabrics under a pile and thought they resemble paper.  The snowflake background fabric was inside the surprise package that my friend Kris sent me couple of months ago.

 

 

Christmas Crackers Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Holiday Crackers pattern on Etsy

 

I played around a little more and came up with a total of eight Christmas cracker quilt patterns.  The pattern file includes instructions to make the four blocks that I made, along with additional instructions for another four blocks that are easier to make.  By combining different pieces I can see so many more possibilities.  Most of these blocks would be great for fussy cuts.

Each block is 5″ x 10″.  They are the perfect size to make Christmas stockings with.  I am pretty sure I want to make place mats with mine though.

I had so much fun making them that I already picked out fabrics for another set.  I am calling them Holiday Crackers because I didn’t want to stop at making them only for Christmas.  The Holiday Crackers quilt pattern set is on my Etsy shop.

 

I have also been working on the Sweden photos.  Last time I spoke of driving to Stockholm from Falun, which was not a very long drive.  As we were having dinner in Stockholm, we decided to visit Uppsala the following morning even though we had no plans for going there originally.

 

 

Uppsala Library Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The primary reason for the Uppsala visit was Carolina Rediviva, the university library.  The library contains many manuscripts and first editions, some of which were on display.  Photography was not allowed, and for once I was happy about that.  It gave me a chance to enjoy the papers without fussing about getting good photos of them.

 

 

Uppsala Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Right around the corner from the library was the towering Uppsala Cathedral.  The inside of the cathedral is as impressive and beautiful as the outside.  We walked around the cathedral and the beautiful university campus before driving to Gamla Uppsala.

 

 

Uppsala Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Gamla Uppsala is a short drive away from the University.  The path goes through the royal burial mounds.

 

 

Stockholm Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

Panoramic View of the city of Stockholm

 

Once we were back in Stockholm, we set out to explore the city.

 

 

Vasa, Stockholm | Whims And Fancies

 

 

A visit to the Vasamuseet was a must.  Although the ship Vasa capsized after travelling only 1422 yards in calm water, the size and the detail carvings on the ship are sure to impress anyone.

 

 

Gamla Stockholm Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

Gamla Stan in Stockholm

 

Afterwards we started walking around the city.  I LOVE to walk.  I continue to walk every path possible in an old city until I can see my tiredness reflected on my husband’s face, or he just outright rebels against another footstep.  I walked so much that day that I had to take painkillers that night.

 

 

Vastervik Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Next day we drove further southward and at midday, we made a stop at Västervik.

 

 

Vastervik Astrid Lindgren Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

This cluster of tiny red houses were chosen as a location of the film The Bullerby Children written by Astrid Lindgren.  They are the cutest little houses I have ever seen in my life.

 

 

Lerkaka Windmill Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The day ended at these windmills at Lerkaka.  Windmills are strewn about everywhere on the island of Öland.  Lerkaka has a cluster of quite a few of them.  A couple of them were open for us to go inside and take a peek at the mechanics of the mill.  It was a beautiful place to end the day’s journey.

 

 

Thank you so much for travelling along with me so far.

Previous Sweden Travel Stories

Kiruna To Umeå

Umeå To Falun

 

Until next time,
-Soma

 

 

Olivine Tulip And Sweden

Olivine Tulip Flower Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Olivine Tulip pattern on Etsy

 

A real quick quilting update before I dive into the next part of our Sweden journey.  I’m  not sure if you remember that a couple of months ago I started working on a stained-glass-themed quilt using Downton Abbey fabrics.  I was very surprised to win the Pantone Quilt Challenge, 2014 with a quilt I made for my kitty when he was ill.  I got a gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop which I finally used to purchase this beautiful set of fabrics.

I designed a set of four stained-glass-themed flower quilt patterns.  Since I love geology and they started looking very much like crystal flowers, I decided to name them after my favourite minerals.

I made a tulip for the third flower as I like them even more than I like roses.  I named this block after a beautiful green mineral – Olivine Tulip. 

 

It is a very easy 12″ flower quilt pattern, which is available on my Etsy shop.

 

 

Kyanite Iris Flower Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Kyanite Iris pattern on Etsy

 

 

Selenite Clematis Flower Quilt Pattern

 

Selenite Clematis pattern on Etsy

 

These are the other two flowers from the series that I have already finished making.  They are also 12″ blocks.

 

Now lets go off to Sweden again.  Last time I paused our journey while overnighting at Umeå.

 

 

Umea Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

This was a quick photo of the town centre that I took before heading out.  Umeå has birch trees planted on every street, hence it is often called the City Of Birch Trees.  It was a long day of driving.  We stopped at a few a places, enjoying the scenery on the way to the destination.

 

 

High Coast Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Around midday we reached Höga Kusten (High Coast) and had a delicious fish lunch by the sea-side.  It was a beautiful sunny day, actually a bit on the warm side.

 

 

Nordingra High Coast Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

In the afternoon, before heading out of the High Coast area, we stopped at a pretty little town by the water called Nordingrå.

 

 

Hudiksvall Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

We had been on the road for a while already and a break was needed.  As we were passing by Hudiksvall,  I remembered about the old warehouses there.  We turned into the harbour and walked around a little.

 

 

Hudiksvall Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The sun was already setting and we still had a few hours of driving ahead of us.

 

 

Falun Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Next morning we woke up in Falun.  The city is in the Dalarna region, home of the Dala horses.  We wanted to see the now retired copper mine called Falu Gruva.  We had pre-purchased our tickets for a guided underground tour already, but we still got there a little early.  We spent the extra time at the exhibits in the surrounding historic buildings.

 

 

Falun Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The guided tour was incredible.  After donning raincoats and helmets, we started our descent into the mine with our very knowledgeable tour guide.  At one point during the tour, he turned off the single source of light in the mine.  I have spent a fair amount of dark nights outside, but it is really never completely dark. There is always at least starlight.  The darkness in the mine was so complete and engulfing that I felt claustrophobic.  I don’t think I will ever forget that.  Imagine the people working down there and sometimes getting trapped!

 

 

Falun Sweden | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Afterwards I wanted to see the old houses painted in Falun Rödfärg, Falun Red.  The lady at the desk marked a couple of old neighbourhoods on the map for us.  One of them was right across the street from the mine.  The workers from the mine lived here before.

We had other plans for the day, but we were having so much fun exploring around the mine that we decided to spend the day there.  I got a little tin of Falun red paint and a couple of little dala horses that I can paint myself.  I also wanted to buy a souvenir Dala horse and it had to be from the Dalarna region.  We had just enough time to stop by the tourist office to purchase a horse for myself and a beautiful mug each for my husband and our wonderful pet-sitter.

It was time to head out of Falun and drive off to Stockholm.  Hope you will be joining me next time too!

 

 

Previous Sweden Travel Story

Kiruna To Umeå

 

-Soma