• Swedish of course!
  • July 28, 2014

    No Comments

    Everything I wanted to get done to turn our barn in to a “party room” has not been completed, such as finding a pair of great chandeliers. But we came far enough to be able to invite some of our neighbors over for “fika” in the barn. “Fika” as you might have seen in the Gevalia commercial means a snack with coffee generally.

    It’s so pointless to have spaces in your home, indoors or outdoors, that are not being used. They become storage spaces and burdens instead of rooms to enjoy and have fun in.

    Every space in a home should serve a purpose.


    Most images by Mehreen Qudosi.

    The barn was used since the 1800′s for farming. For years and years afterwards new owners used it as storage for firewood and other things. Ever since we bought it, it has been storage space for my bother’s salvaged windows and doors as well as leftovers from the renovation of the house.

    2014-06-28 12.35.47

    It felt amazing to get it cleared out.


    A barn is a perfect space for a meal or a party.

    There’s plenty of room for lots of guests.

    Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 9.22.19 PM

    We built an 18′ long dining table out of old planks found in the barn.

    I was really excited seeing this start to take shape.


    For the party we picked flowers in the garden for center pieces.

    I wanted to keep it to one color – sunny yellow.


    My friend Monica had a number of benches from her greenhouse she no longer used, and gave them to me.

    Thank You Monica!

    I covered them with Swedish “trasmattor”.


    As we were clearing out the barn I just randomly hung old tools and items found on the barn on the wall.


    I used antique pitchers for flowers, and bought some new ones from Ikea.


    We used simple vintage plates and napkins.

    This vase is from Ikea.


    We ate some delicious cinnamon rolls. Recipe HERE.

    The Swedish cinnamon rolls are nowhere near as sweet as the American version. A perfect snack with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.


    All the kids had run out to play soccer by the time we took this picture and my family had headed home except for my cute mom. This space now needs two cool chandeliers, painted ores for the back wall and party lights all over.

    Inviting neighbors over that you know, or getting to know some new ones, I highly recommend!

    You never know who might just live around the corner…





    Bookmark and Share
  • December 26, 2013


    Happy Holidays!

    Christmas shopping barefoot among palm trees I kind of forgot it was Christmas.

    First year in California is disorienting because you keep thinking is still August.  But after a long flight to Sweden Christmas arrived after all. Although we’re missing out on snow here, it’s still very much Santa’s territory…

    If you are up for the most delicious Swedish Christmas drink I’ve added links on the bottom of this post to two things really worth trying this holiday season. GLOGG and SAFFRON ROLLS!

    A green Christmas around here.

    But plenty white inside.

    Santa is getting ready in the laundry room. Same routine every year.

    Fake tree to save some trees….

    And on a cold wintry night…

    …you must try some—-GLOGG

    It’s a mulled wine drink that all Swedes drink during the holidays. Check out the recipe on link above.

    (If you want to spice things up you can also pour vodka in it). It will certainly help you warm up during the coldest days.


    Saffron rolls are perfect with Glogg. Check Ewa from Delish recipe in link above.


    All images are from INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN – join me there!

    Bookmark and Share
  • September 16, 2013


    One lucky winner gets to have her home custom painted by Michelle!!!   The winning number is….

    Congratulations comment number # 15!!

    And for all of you who didn’t win, this might feel like winning, at least it does for me…

    You might be familiar with the amazing Josef Frank fabrics from Sweden. They are quite the obsession over here, but the price tag at $ 250 per yard stops most of us from purchasing it. My brother shared an article about the possible legal argument involving some old copyright laws going on back home. An English company is printing the famed fabrics for 1/4 of the price -www.textilis.com.

    I’m definitely going to want some Josef Frank fabrics in our new home!

    Bookmark and Share
  • May 1, 2013


    Every year I say I will be in Sweden the last day of April for one of my favorite traditions – Valborgsmassoafton.  Yet every year comes around and with Luke  in school flying back home is not an option.   The last night of April Swedes gather around giant bonfires and sing songs to welcome spring. My mother is in love with this night and catches a few celebrations just so thrilled that the deep, dark winter now has an end in sight. I remember these nights vividly when I was a kid. Riding my bike for the first time of the year in the chilly spring air in awe of the giant fires.  It’s easy to forget living in Virginia with summer temperatures that back home some people are still skiing! Valborgsmassoafton gets everyone’s spirits up knowing warmer temperatures and lighter nights are coming.

    If you want to read more about the tradition you can do it here.

    All images various Swedish blogs and sources.

    All kinds of places have big bonfire celebrations. It was originally done on Easter to scare away witches, but since the 19th century it’s on the last day of April (and have nothing to do with witches! )

    As you can see people are not standing around in shorts!! It’s still cold over there!

    Some places still have snow on the ground.

    It’s a magical evening of toasting and singing in the dark night.

    Often mens choirs sing songs about how the winter is disappearing and how spring is rapidly coming.

    No Swede really remembers or knows that Walburgis was a saint (I think!) all they can think of is that soon they can wear shorts! And what better way to get rid of garden trash than a big fire in the yard?

    Valborgs celebration at a Swedish Ski resort.

    Living in a country covered with snow for several months, the sight of the first spring flowers make people seriously giddy. It makes them feel alive again. And as my mother said this morning on the phone, it gives her tons of ideas of things she wants to do!

    “Vitsippor” the first spring flower.

    Appreciation for nature lives deep in the Swedish soul. I don’t think you’ll find a country where they talk more about the weather!

    To all my friends back home, summer is coming, soon you can bike without mittens! Promise!

    NEXT VALBORG I will be home….seriously what’s better more homework, or an unforgettable memory?

    Bookmark and Share