Thursday, 13 October 2011

Autumn is here....

and Sweden is looking beautiful. Crispy mornings, with sunny windy days, beautiful sunsets and nights drawing in. Mushrooms are picked, apples made into pies, and life is busy, but good. After six years at home, this mamma is now earning again. The oldest Macolsson kidlet has started school, and Mrs MacOlsson has ventured out into the world of paid employment again. I work 30 hours per week at a local nursery, or preschool. Yes, its an extension of the last 6 years at home! However, pleasant colleagues and that monthly paycheck make the transition smoother than expected. Time is precious. Doesn't stretch to everything I would like to do. Balancing isn't easy, but practice makes perfect! We had a wonderful summer. Flew home. To my childhood home, where my children played on the same beach mamma played on, in the same playpark, ,, went to the same seaside cafe, paddling pool and most importantly, spent time with their beloved Nana and Grandad. And now, my firstborn walks happily into school each day, is learning so much each day, is growing so much each day, and yet at night, when she sleeps, still has the same expression she wore the first night she entered this world. Slightly smiling, long long lashes, rosy cheeks.....and still snoring! Kidlets number 2 and 3 are growing so fast. They still have those dimply hands, and chubby cheeks, but they are stretching, reaching upwards and outwards, expending so much energy that we can't keep up at times. But at night, they sleep, like their big sister, slightly smiling, long long lashed, rosy cheeks....and snoring. Here they are, in my beloved Scotland, at a place called Chanonry Point, on the Black Isle. For the uninformed, its in the Highlands, and the place to go to if you want to see the Moray Firth Dolphins.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Return of the elderflower!

Since updating my status on facebook, and boasting about my 5 buckets of elderflower cordial in the making, I've had a couple of requests for the recipe.
Its a tried and tested one, super easy, and pretty much foolproof.

You need a bucket with a lid, but no other special fancy equipment.

Pick approx 30 elderflower heads. Ignore any little beasties as they will be
euthanised (sorry!)
Put in the bucket
Pour over 2kg of sugar. In Sweden sugar comes in a 2kg bag, so no measuring needed!
Add 60g of citric acid granules. Again, comes in handy packs here!
Wash and slice 2 lemons. Add to bucket
Pour over 2 litres of boiling water. This is the euthanising part.
Stir well to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
Put the lid on the bucket. Leave for 5 days in a cool place. (We have a food cellar so
that is ideal) Stir every other day.

Strain through a muslin cloth into a pan, measure the amount and add the appropriate quantity
of preservative. I use natrium benzoate. This means you don't need to freeze the cordial and it keeps for well over a year. If you don't add the natrium benzoate, it will keep for about a fortnight in the fridge, or you can always freeze it in plastic bottles. We don't have a big freezer, but we do have a big food cellar.
I prewash my bottles in boiling water before bottling the cordial.

To serve, dilute with ice cold water, if you like serve with a couple of slices of lemon. Some people use sparkling mineral water, but I just like the oldfashioned way. I dilute it in 1 part cordial to 4 parts water.

I have also used the undiluted cordial to make elderflower parfait.....leave a comment if you'd
like that recipe!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Long time no see!

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I'm ashamed to say how long it has been since I logged on here. Life has been super busy and the MacOlsson family has not left much time over for blogging! However, we are all just dandy, trying very hard to be good, and generally enjoying this wonderful pre Summer season here in Sweden. The lilacs are blooming, the rhododendrons are blooming, the sweet peas are stretching up the wires, Mr MacOlsson's cornflowers are sprouting nicely , the strawberries are starting to form, and all over our garden the wild strawberries are promising sweet treats to come.

I've posted before about recycling and just have to share again about its delights! Today I went with all our recycling and a couple of books we were finished with. Came home with a fabulous working Brother sewing machine which is much fancier than my own one. AND this beauty..

A vintage Arabia jar with lid in absolutely perfect condition! For those not in the know, Arabia is Finnish porcelain. As with all Finnish china ware, it is both funky and functional, and very sought after. Not everyone appreciates it though, luckily for me! I see on ebay the same ones go for a great price - but sorry, I am keeping this lovely piece in the macolsson household.
Last time I was there, I picked up 6 Arabia dinner plates, the exact same as our ones we use every day, so after a swish in the dishwasher, we now have enough matching dinner plates for us AND for when we have visitors!

So what about your finds? Bargain stories please!

Off to pick some lilac - you do know that you can make the most delicious cordial from the blossoms, don't you? Get picking.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Spring Fever

1 comment:

There must be something about Spring which awakes the creativity in me. Or is it the possibility of laundry blowing in the wind which inspires me? Whichever it is, I thought I should dive into my fabric stash and make some peg bags. As every good Swede knows, the best way to dry is outside on a line. Oh, and I really ought to say as every good Scottish woman knows......

I think this one is my favourite. The fabric is remnants picked up for a song at the local fabric shop. I thought I
might make a tote bag, but this is a great way of using it up too.

And this fabric, was a table cloth, which I bought on sale
for a ridiculously cheap price. I made some chair covers for our old kitchen chairs (sadly all broken now, but that is another story), a tea cosy for a friend, and there still is
about 1 metre left for future projects. Any ideas?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Easter Chick!

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I just had to crochet this tea cosy when I found the pattern online! It took me an afternoon, and is on sale in my shop

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday Feels Fab!

Since I am a SAHM (stay at home mum), one of the highlights of the day is when the yellow postvan zips up the road. Today, I was already in the garden when it came, and instead of a handful of bills; the postman handed me a handful of packages!
The lovely Shelley from Nebraska, whom I have never met, but is a friend of a friend of a friend sent me these gorgeous dishcloths, all wrapped in a pretty pink ribbon.

The lovely Olivia, who we miss SO much sent these! A bundle of balloons just begging to be blown up (poor mamma!), 3 gorgeous cross stitch kits for the macolsson kidlets, and 2 pretty towels with embroidery threads to embroider on.

Thank you thank you thank you! Mrs MacOlsson is now going to sit down with this gorgeous teapot - a present for her fabulous mother in law - and spend a peaceful oh- so- short minute or two enjoying the sun streaming in through the window while the kidlets have a well needed nap.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and to my package sending friends - THANK YOU!

Friday, 18 March 2011

A New Shop Front!

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I've decided to launch a new shop through my mrsmacolsson facebook page! I've also changed the name to reflect the new status. mrsmacolsson on facebook is now called Mrs MacOlsson Boutique Shop. All my products are available there for purchase - I'm going to be adding some new ones every day over the next week. At the moments all items have free shipping, and as an extra bonus, if you "like" mrsmacolsson on facebook you will receive an extra 5% discount.

Find me here.

To make a purchase, click on the little shopping trolley on the left of the page, alternatively, if you want to pay by bank transfer, contact me direct instead.

Remember, I am delighted to accept custom orders, so if there is a colour or size you would like, or even a different product, just contact me!

Thank you!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Hair and the Moomin Bag Winner!

These are my new fun crafting occupation! Sweet, springlike, and great for using up my fabric scraps.

These hair clips were a lot of fun to make. The buttons come from my Nana's button box, so are most definitely vintage! They are all available for purchase on my etsy shop.

And the winner of the Moomin bag is the lovely Allie from Ystad! Comment number 9 and the random number generator picked your number. Email your address (again).

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Little Lizard King

1 comment:
Have you seen this fabulous site? Scurry over to Little Lizard King and drool over her fabulous patterns and designs. You can purchase and download her patterns direct.
I have bought several of them, and been really impressed how easy they are to follow.

Think of gorgeous sunsuits for little girls, sweet apron knot dresses, funky little boy vests, bowties, crayon holders.......

Check out an old post of mine to see some of the items I have made here and here

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Semlor and French Style Cooking

Yesterday was Fettisdagen (Shrove Tuesday) in Sweden. Traditionally, we eat semlor, a delicious sweet bun filled with marzipan and whipped cream. So, since all the MacOlssons are still feeling very yucky, we decided to bake our own.

And to compensate for all the delicious indulgence yesterday, I made this absolutely scrummy healthy lunch today!
Its courgettes (zucchini) and tomatoes layered in a dish,drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 10 mins. Mix together 3 eggs, 1 1/2 dl creme fraiche, a crushed garlic clove, a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne pepper, some chopped basil and salt and pepper. Spread this over your courgettes and tomatoes and return to the oven until the mixture is set (about 30 mins). Serve with a green salad, preferrably drizzled with the balsam vinegar I brought back from Paris.

Don't forget to enter the Mad March giveaway to win a Moomin tote bag. Leave a comment on the previous entry before Saturday...

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Mad March Giveaway!


Not a Mad March Hare, but a Moomin cloth tote bag giveaway.

All you have to do is become a follower of this blog, AND post a comment on the blog telling me you have done so. If you are already a follower, then just leave a comment.

A random comment on this post will receive this cute bag! Closing date Sat 12 March.

To become a follower, scroll down to the follower section on the bottom right and click on the button, to post a comment, look for the comment box! You can hide your profile if you like, to follow anonymously.

#This isn't one of my own creations, but I saw it on sale and couldn't resist buying a few!#

Thursday, 17 February 2011


Paris was fabulous. Totally, completely worth the wait. We should have gone there more than five years ago when motoring in France, but detoured to visit a friend studying near Rennes. We should have been there on my actual birthday, but my poor father in law hurt his back. But the should haves meant that we were there on Valentine's Day instead, so what could be more romantic than that.

Oh, how we walked. And walked. And walked. From our hotel to Montmartre, skipping past all the tourists having their portraits drawn, drinking in the view from Sacre Coeur over Paris, and then moving away from the mass of tourists to the kind of France we love. Just wandering. Stopping and looking up tiny streets, shrugging, and following winding steps up and down, back and forth.

This was our lunch, in a tiny delicatessan which only had two tables (so definitely not a tourist trap). Corsican specialities, followed by lemon tarte and delicious coffee. Feet and stomach rested and filled.

We wandered on, people watching, window shopping and enjoying just being Mr and Mrs MacOlsson. And treated ourselves to Sunday brunch at the most elegant tea salon ever. Ladurée. Not cheap, but incredibly chic, and incredibly French. Did we catch a glimpse of the lovely Audrey Tatou? If not her, a very close likeness.

We had delightful neighbours, very unFrench French, who when they heard us speaking Swedish wondered where we came from. And when they heard that I was from Scotland, became rapturous. Ten years ago, they had camped for two weeks in Bonnie Scotland. It rained every day. And on the last day, on the Isle of Skye, he proposed to her. Scotland has that effect on people. Its not just the French who understand romance!

Finally, the wine. I imagine one would be completely fluent in French after this. Perhaps that is the secret.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Sun and Sweden

When I came here nearly 10 years ago, there were two things which really struck me. One of them was that all Swedes seemed to wander around talking to themselves. It was the weirdest thing. Until I realised that they all had handsfree earpieces for their mobiles. There's a phrase we use in Scotland to describe a country bumpkin. Translated into proper English it goes like this..."Down from the hills with heather in their ears" Well, that was me! Yes, we had mobiles in Culloden, but handsfree? That would just be for people in the Big Smoke.

The OTHER thing which struck me was Swedes and the sun. I arrived in November, getting towards the darkest time of the year. Every single time the sun was shining, a remarkable phenomenon occured. All Swedes were to be found either sitting on a park bench, or simply standing, with their eyes closed and lifting their faces up to the sun. Like a mass of bundled up sunflowers. Surrounded by snow.

Fast forward to today. I was waiting for the MacOlsson kidlets to finish bundling up to go out for a walk in the fresh snow. (Yes, we have more snow). So, I sat on the chair on the front step, closed my eyes and lifted my face up to the sun. And burst out laughing. Yes, its official. I have become a true Swede, appreciating every ray of sunshine which shines during the long Nordic winter. I too am a sunflower.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Recycling and Upcycling

Sweden is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to recycling. There are green recycling containers all over the place. You recycle your glass - coloured and plain - your newspapers, paper bags, everything cardboard and paper, soft and hard plastic, metal, batteries, light bulbs, clothing. The list is endless. At the supermarket, it costs to take a plastic bag, so a lot take a cloth bag with them, or reuse plastic bags from home. We usually take a bag of recycling on the way to nursery.
We also compost all our food waste. We have three bins in the garden, which are solely for that. One for new waste, one for waste breaking down, and one for the almost ready to be put on the garden waste. As it has been such a long cold winter, they are getting quite full, but I noticed today that the new waste is sinking - which means all the lovely little munching maggots are waking up.
As well as the little recycling centres dotted all over the place, we also have a large recycling plant where you can go with EVERYTHING -furniture, garden waste, paint, you name it, we can recycle it. And this plant is a treasure trove, because there is a large shed where you can leave what you no longer need/want, and find something you do need/want.

I leave a book and come home with a fabulous storage bench for the hall. I leave some plates and cups and come home with Donald Duck comics. So far, I have exchanged my unwanted goods for the following : one red child's bicycle in perfect condition, one cycle helmet, two fabulous garden chairs, glass bottles for the cordial making season to come, books, comics, a kitchen chair, toys for the children and gorgeous gingham curtains for the youngest kidlet's room. Oh, and best of all, a box of handcrocheted pieces of washed and pressed and looking so prettily ready for crafting.

Its called Upcycling. So in theory you could cycle to leave your recycling and upcycle your cycle for ...........well, that's the most fabulous part of all!

Monday, 24 January 2011

And the winner is....

Maxine Jelinek!

Congratulations Maxine on being my first giveaway winner. You were the random comment chosen using this site

You are the lucky winner of the mrsmacolsson shopper bag!

Please email me your address so I can post off your loot.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Snow and the Giveaway

I have a friend in Australia who is currently sweltering in over 30 degrees heat, and having problems sleeping! I thought she might be cooled down by some of these pics, and I KNOW her boys would just have so much fun with the mountains of snow we have here right now.

Having said that, today it has been a balmy plus 2 degrees, or 2 degrees warm as the Swedes say! For the uninitiated, that means super slippy everywhere. There is a layer of slush on top of ice on top of hard packed snow, which makes for difficult driving and whoosh walking (that's when you are walking along quite happily and whoosh! you are lying flat on your back in the most undignified manner). Now those savvy Swedes have studded car tyres which are fabulous with the difficult driving conditions, and for the whoosh walking...well you can buy these rather unattractive spikes you fasten over the soles of your shoes which totally eliminates the indignity of ending up flat on your back for the umpteenth time.
Our neighbour's car!Picnic?

We have so much snow they have to drive it away in lorries from the streets. Once the snow melts, the grit is gathered up again and recycled the next winter.
A traditional Swedish house
My rascals. The snow heap is taller than the apple tree!
Our house with the youngest rascal checking for mail.
Snow on hedge meets snow on road.

And these are what you need for optimum snowball making...

Crocheted mittens in gorgeous ecological natural dyed wool....hmm, who could get those I wonder?

If I write in capital letters, I amn't shouting, just reminding you of the GIVEAWAY.
If you want to post anonymously, that's fine, but write your name or initials in your post so I can work out who you are!

Oh, and I know the captions for the photos are slightly off....I have tried redoing them but failed miserably!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy New Year 2011 and a giveaway

This is a big year already! In exactly 2 weeks I turn 40, in a month our youngest will turn 3 and soon start in daycare and I need to decide what to do with myself!
As in what kind of job will I look for? What would I LOVE to do? Well, those of you who really know me, know that I would really like to just be mrsmacolsson, with a successful etsy shop, supplying lovely non massproduced items, and converting Sweden to be a nation of tea drinkers from teapots, thus required my gorgeous tea cosies.....

With all that in mind, I move on to resolutions. I have never been a fan of those. First, because its incredibly hard to keep them, and the usual ones like being a kinder person/losing 500 pounds by tomorrow/clean the bathroom daily/find my inner self today just sound plain daft. I KNOW I should be a kinder person/should lose a few pounds/clean the loo/and I know what and where my inner self is - believe me, she needs working on, but that's a daily resolution, not an annual one!

So, what about resolutions then? Well, I will try to build up mrsmacolsson into something more viable, and I will try to find a job which allows me to still be wife, mamma and me. So now that decision is made, let's celebrate!

A friend posted a payitforward idea on my facebook page. That gave me the idea of a giveaway! One lucky person will win a mrsmacolsson cloth shopping bag - no restrictions on location! In order to enter you have to do the following:

1. mention me on your facebook page (say something nice, please :))
2. like my facebook page and
3. post a comment on this blog when you have done the above! (on the actual blog page, not on the facebook note link!)

I will then use a fabulous random post number generator to pick the winner. Don't worry if you already won my facebook pay it forward, you could just double your payitforward surprises!

Closing date.....well, let's make it January 24. I'll be away on that date, but as soon as I come home from my secret romantic birthday trip, I'll be generating that number.

Good Luck!