Now I've finished telling the story of our visit to Sweden in 2012 I thought I'd add a few extra sketches from my journal.
This is a copy of one of my favourite photos taken when I was 5, a year or so before we moved to England. I'm the fairy on the left of Daddy and Christopher is the cowboy. Rosi is the little sailor girl and the only one missing is Juliet as she was about to be born on the 23rd of December.
This is something that I cherish, a heavy glass bowl made at the Orrefors glass works that we visited during the trip. It's signed and numbered by the artist and was given to my parents as a wedding present in 1947. They had quite a collection of different glasswares like candle holders and beer glasses that I also have and hope that they will pass on to my children and grandchildren in the future. I recorded my entire collection in my 75 day challenge journal a couple of years ago. You can find the start of the challenge here.
Christmas starts early in Sweden with the festival of St Lucia, when girls dress in long white robes and wear a crown of candles. There is a candlelight parade in the church and beautiful singing.
My Mum embroidered a rug to put under the tree and these figures are part of the decoration.
My granny gave me a pretty angel chimes candle holder and these are the cherubs that go round with the heat from the candles.
Another strong Christmas memory are the pepperkaker, delicious spicy biscuits made with cloves and cinnamon. I made them for my family and now my daughter has taught her girls to make them too so the tradition carries on.
One of my favourite artists is Carl Larsson and while browsing his book today I found a few pictures that perfectly capture the times in Sweden at the end of the 19th century. They are almost a match for my own memories of 50 or more years later. Here you can see one of the beautiful room heaters, exactly like the one I drew in my old cottage.
A picnic by a lake that looks identical to ours with the birch trees and all the children of the neighbourhood having fun in the water.
Midsummer has strong memories too and this reminds me of how all the girls and women collected armfuls of wild flowers to decorate the pole while the men cut the wood and got it ready for the celebrations.
Winter too is nostalgic and this is amazingly like our own yard, even the cottage on the left here has an outside staircase just like ours!