June 26, 2015

Our Midsummer Weekend

 MIDSOMMAR! This ancient tradition of celebrating the summer solstice is our favorite Swedish holiday to celebrate together in the land of the midnight sun! We spent the weekend with Jonas' twin's family on the west side of Sweden and it couldn't have been a more lovely time together!
 We made a stop on the way to visit the quaint little town of Gränna!
 The famous Swedish candy "Polkagris" (literally translated: polka pig) was first first invented in this town in 1859.
 The traditional shape is a peppermint flavored candy stick and the classic color combo of red and white stripes is what defines the meaning of "polka" and there are about a dozen old-fashioned candy shops scattered along the main street of the town where you can even watch them making them!
 Surprisingly, we didn't pick up any candy canes for ourselves but we DID get some "polkagris" flavored gelato, the perfect thing to kick off our midsummer weekend!
 Gränna is a quintessential charming Swedish village with cozy cafes and antique shops nestled away into cute old red buildings.
  The unique landscape and location of Gränna is what captivated us the most; if you look to one side you see a steep wall of rock and to the other side a most stunning view of the lake Vättern. 

On a previous road trip to visit Jonas' family we actually stopped at a nearby medieval fortress where we got a most spectacular view of the fairytale landscape of Gränna and the lake (which you can see here).
Onward we went to meet Jonas' family at the most charming little red cabin overlooking a lake...

...it was so relaxing and the perfect place to spend a midsummer weekend.
 The lupines were in gorgeous bloom the whole weekend with the most vibrant colors of purple, blue, and pink.
 Isn't one of the most fun things about celebrating a holiday is all the good food?! Jonas' family sure spoiled us with loads of bbq, fika, and of course a strawberry cream summer cake!
Then it was time for the midsommar festivies! We went to a small open air museum sort of place called Haraberget where we just were in time to see them raise the "midsommarstång" and this was a variation of midsummer pole we hadn't seen before, but it's usual for different counties across Sweden to have different styles of maypoles.
  Our favorite part is seeing the folk dancers in their beautiful traditional outfits, each unique to their hometowns.
 Of course, we always enjoy dressing up in our own folk/viking inspired outfits. A downpour of rain started to fall just as we were taking this photo and as we were running to the car for shelter a guy said "Nu är det midsommar" (Now it's midsummer) which made us laugh because it seems to be tradition for it rain at least once on the day the Swedes are celebrating summertime!
On the night of midsummer's eve we sat by the lake close to midnight watching the bats fly over the water...since the sun never really "sets" around the summer solstice it was enchanting to watch them buzz about with the pale light of the Northern sky as the perfect backdrop.

 Midsummer day was spent at this cute book cafe in an old red house on an old-fashioned Swedish style farm.
 The inside of the cafe was absolutely charming with books scattered about...
 ...this fairytale book about Nordic creatures instantly caught our attention!
 FIKA! Oh how lovely it is to sit outside in the summer with some delicious treats (and coffee for Jonas).
 We had a lot of fun hanging out with our little 3 year old niece, we even went on a little adventure in the woods together...
...and found a hobbit hole!
 
Summer wild flowers...there's an old Swedish legend that says on midsummer night you will dream of your future spouse if you pick 7 different sorts of flowers in the evening light in total silence and place them under your pillow.
 This medieval church ruin was near the cabin we were staying at and it was lovely to walk around there on midsummer day.
 The weather was just lovely and there was a magical feeling in the air, being around such history always makes us feel that way but there was a little extra enchantment over the day being the summer solstice weekend.
 Speaking of midsummer magic, we got a wild idea on the drive home to go on a last minute photo adventure! We headed into the woods a little before midnight and though the forest was dark, the sky was still light, and the candles *fairies* cast an enchanting glow on the trees...this was our midsummer night's dream come true and you can see more of that tale HERE!
It was  the perfect way to spend the summer solstice and end our midsummer weekend festivities! Wishing you and yours a blessed summer season! 
 -Tales of Sheaves

June 17, 2015

MÖRKÖ (Swedish Fairytale Island)


In the summertime in Sweden there are loads of quaint cafes that open up just for the season and it's been one of our favorite things to do in the summers is find as many as we can. While we were looking through a summer guide of the ones listed in our area we came across Idala Cafe
which instantly caught our attention when they advertised their place as  being located on a fairytale island of flowers. 
 We did some research about Mörkö the "Dark Island" (the small Swedish island not too far from Stockholm) and thought it'd be the perfect place to go with Jonas' mum as a belated mother's day/birthday gift!
 We hadn't planned out the day too much besides visiting the cute cafe and having a nice fika and since the island is small enough we thought it'd be fun to play it by ear, take a drive, and see where we felt like stopping.
Well we should have known that the Mörkö claimed to be a fairytale island for a reason because we stumbled upon not one, but TWO magical castles!!!
The first was Hörningsholsm Slott which is a private estate but we were allowed to walk around the grounds. It is located on a cliff by an inlet of the Baltic Sea and probably built during the late 15th and early 16th century but was burnt to the ground by Russian troops in 1719 and rebuilt in its present shape, and lastly was renovated in 1919-20.
This stately tree with twisty knobby branches was the only thing on the property that wasn't in bloom or green which lead us to believe that this tree is much older than it seems...
  Something we have learned in our castle explorations is that what people usually assume is the front of the castle is often actually the back entrance by land. So now if given the chance we always try to go see the "back" of the castle that faces the water which is usually always much more beautiful than the other side! This castle is a great example of that since we would have totally missed seeing this part of the medieval fortress they kept. What a stunning contrast of the old part of the wall against the newer more stately part of the castle.
 How cute is this little cottage nestled in the trees?
  We wouldn't mind being care takers of the property if we could stay in a quaint place like that and tend to beautiful flowers like this. 
 After going for lunch we really weren't sure where to go next but we found ANOTHER fairytale castle!!! We laughed how even when we aren't looking for them we find them! Jonas' mom said she thinks we've seen more castles in this county of Sweden in a few years than she has in her lifetime, so I guess it's just a knack we have.
Engsholms Slott was a glorious sight to behold when we came around the bend! It truly took our breath away and Jonas said he has a new favorite castle in Sweden.
The details of it's history are a little sketchy but it seems the first castle built here was in the 1300s but was also destroyed by a fire in the 1700s and again in the start of the 1900s. The year "1916" runs across part of the building and it sure does give you Victorian/Edwardian vibes. Jonas commented that it felt more like a castle you'd see in England and Lindsay said it felt like it could be a Swedish "Downton Abbey". 
 We could only take a little peak inside but it completely captivated us and we sure wouldn't mind staying a weekend there sometime. They actually had an offer going for Halloween weekend which sounded intriguing as they advertised it as "a castle without a ghost isn't a castle".
 We seem to never get tired of exploring new castles and I think that's because we never can get enough of that fairytale feeling where for a moment you feel as if you tripped into a portal to another magical world and era...
 How about you, what era do you wish you could time travel to?
-Tales of Sheaves
We hope you enjoyed seeing the video tour as well as the photos and if you liked this make sure to check out our adventures from the rest of our June 2015! (coming soon)

June 9, 2015

Our STUDIO APARTMENT in Sweden!

In February of this year Jonas' green card was approved so we knew soon we'd be sorting, selling, and packing up the "homey" touches we had put in our little studio we lived in for almost 2 years before moving to California...which is now in just a few short weeks, CRAZY! 
How the apartment looked before we started renting!
It's bittersweet saying goodbye to our first little home and I'm sure we will always have special memories of it even if it was so tiny and we bumped around each other all the time but...it was OURS! After long distance dating for so long and finally getting married, moving to Sweden, we were just so happy to have a place or our own and to just plain be together!
How our place looked with some autumn decorations, our favorite!
Since it was so small we didn't have company over too often but a highlight will always be the "Julfika"/Christmas get-together's we had on the 4th advent where we packed up to 16 family members into our little studio! It was chaos but it was fun and you'd be surprised how much food and treats we could whip up in such a small kitchen for such an event!
This little place has sure served us well but we are looking forward to our new adventure and where our next home will be!
We hope you enjoy seeing an inside peak of the way we lived in Sweden in our first "home" we had together!
-Tales of Sheaves

June 1, 2015

MAY 2015

 The last spring month has come and gone and while it seems we didn't have a very eventful month which is true in way of videos/photos but we've had one of those kind of months where there is so much going on yet not at the same time. 
We spent our May Day weekend on the west side of Sweden on a daffodil forest + family adventure (which we included in the April blogpost as it was connected to the last weekend of April.)
  A friend of ours from the UK contacted us out of the blue saying she was going to be in Stockholm for a few days and hoped she could see us.
 We thought that was a lovely idea and while our time with her was short but sweet it gave us an unexpected "date night" that we didn't realize we needed until it was happening, such a blessing!
 Stockholm was just blooming with spring beauty and we really enjoyed exploring the island of Djurgården again, it's such a fairytale dream there with majestic mansions and museums...
 ...the last time we were there was on a very snowy day when Jonas got his green card approved and we celebrated by wandering around and having a nice fika! 
(See our winter adventure there in February)
 The closer we get to moving to California unexpected things start happening. So to counteract the anticipated unexpected misadventures we try to seize every opportunity we can to make everyday an adventure! Even if that only means buying ice cream and enjoying it in a field of yellow.
Another highlight of our month was spending a lovely day with Jonas' parents at one of Sweden's royal summer palaces.
 Tullgarns Slott (castle) is from the 1700s and is a beauty to behold, inside and out! We got to take a free tour because they were having their "Tullgarns Day" and we were swooning big time over the ornate rooms, especially this one of green, white, and gold!
  Getting back to the unexpected...ever since Lindsay returned from her trip to the States this spring she started having really bad nerve pain and swelling in her right hand. She was told it was carpal tunnel syndrome (which really isn't a shock after many years being a hair stylist) and needed to have wrist surgery to prevent it from damaging her hand permanently. They said there's a 3 month guarantee to have the surgery but the catch for us is that we are moving from Sweden in less than 2 months! 
So we waiting a few weeks to hear if/when Lindsay would be able to have the operation and then BAM we were told we were in luck and could she have surgery the next day! WHAT! We had less than 24 hours to prepare and we were running around like mad! It was probably best that it all happened so fast but it was crazy nonetheless! So, we were very glad we had finished filming the final outfit for Lindsay's "Spring Lookbook" a few days before the operation that day we were at Tullgarns.  
With only a few weeks left until our move we knew whenever the surgery may happen that it was bound to interfere with some of the plans we had made as all our weekends are getting booked up till departure! Therefore, the reason this month's vlog & blogpost was shorten than usual and why we didn't get to film upcoming videos we had hoped for this spring.
We've been learning how to plan as best we can but allow room for flexibility when the unexpected may happen and adjust accordingly...which is a difficult balance to find but we're starting to realize how important it is to learn and why those moments of adventure in the midst of misadventures are all the more sweet.
-Tales of Sheaves