18 April, 2013

Finns in Sweden

Well technically, Jessica is not a Finn. Technically, she is American - and I only know this because I knew her from age 12 when we met in 7th grade... in Utah... of all the places in the world. Well now she's in Finland with her Finn husband, Herr Finlandia, and they came for a little more of an extended trip than last time.

You'd think that, as a photographer, I would have come up with better photos but alas. I was much too caught up in the fun of having them with me than to bother with lugging around a 5kg camera. Instead, I opted for iPhone use... deal with it.

We hit the ground running on Friday. I met them at the airport, and from there we had all kinds of adventures in public transportation.

Jessica & Herr Finlandia waiting for the T-bana
We went all over the place, in an attempt to visit things in order from Airport to Home... since it is a long way to Tyresö from Arlanda, we saw many places.
Among them was my favorite second hand shop, located in Skarpnäck, where Jessica found a set of chairs to die for (seriously, this place has furniture for pennies) - and I found this:

Anyone attending an ugly sweater party anytime soon??
 The next day, was full of board games and food. We stayed home for much of the afternoon playing Herr Finlandia's newest acquisition, King of Tokyo.

Following hours of gaming fun, we all made our foods for the International Food and Game Party held at our friend Max's house. Realizing that the time was upon us to leave, we all rushed out the door to the bus stop (V followed in the van an hour later when his cake was done) and on our way! I've never travelled to Max's house by bus so it was a bit of an adventure.

 Once there though, fun commenced. All the attendees somehow managed to descend upon Max's house at precisely the same time - quite a feat considering we left an hour before V... haha

We played a very fun version of Jenga, and before we knew it - all the food was ready and it was time to eat!
I had a little of everything, but I think the shining star for me was the authentic Greek souvlaki (commonly incorrectly called simply "gyros"- which I've learned is actually the word for the meat that goes inside), prepared and served by our Greek friend Alex!

We all went around the table explaining the food we brought. Six countries were represented and at the end of the night I was very full. We followed dinner by playing Werewolf and Dixit, and much fun was had by all.

The following day, our Danish friends came to us on an impromptu gaming party, bearing SIX pizzas to share with the 4 of us. We spent much of the day doing this:

 ... and of course stuffing our faces.

The final day, V had to work, sadly, so Jessica and Herr Finlandia and I decided after much deliberation to go to the Skansen open air museum. After checking the websites, we realised that most other museums are closed on a Monday so we were very pleased that we'd get to go see Skansen as they boasted being open on Mondays.
We braved the rain and set out! 2348298736 bus transfers later, we were there. We saw the glass blowers:

...and we saw the general store and the book-binders' houses - but as we walked through the park, we realised that 80% of the exhibits were closed

We continued to walk around a bit, hoping that it wasn't true - but in the end decided that if we braved the rain and walking around in the wet April showers - it would be much more enjoyable if we could actually see the things we came to see! Even the main "market street" was completely closed and boarded up. Sad.
When we left, I politely reasoned with the entry warden for our ticket fee to be returned to us, and it was. We had only been in the park for 20 minutes before we decided to leave again. I'm very glad that we were refunded.
Instead, we chose to visit some places that Herr Finlandia was secretly hoping to visit and hit up some touristy shops for gifts for Jess' family and friends.

The last morning, we all rose at 3:00am to get to the airport on time. I saw them safely to the very last stop before they had to walk to the airport (if I left the station I'd have to pay an extra fee to get back in) and said our farewells.
It was such a pleasure hosting them here, even though things were a little cramped in our 40sq metre home. I am super excited for my turn to visit them in Finland, though we are unsure of when that will be as of yet.

Well, I have one final day on my bus pass so I'm off to use it! Have a great day!

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17 April, 2013

Things I Like Thursday

Here are a few things I'm excited about at the moment... probably more excited than I should reasonably be, but whatever. They make me ridiculously happy.

First off, this fabric:

Jessica and her husband came to visit us over the weekend from Finland. I brought them to my favorite second hand shop. Jessica, not being able to find amazing fabrics for low prices in Finland geeked out about all the curtains, off-cuts, duvet covers, and other lovely fabrics just waiting to be picked up and loved - when she found this. I saw it, swooned, and Jessica being a kind-hearted soul, let me have it. HOW AMAZING IS THIS FABRIC?! It used to be curtains but it will certainly become a sweet A-line skirt for yours truly for summer. Win.

Second, my nails right now... 

If you know me at all, you know I'm not much for painting my nails. It's tedious and for all the work that goes into them, they don't last long enough for me to feel justified in going to all the effort. If I'm going to paint my nails, it darn well better last a week!! That being said, I bought a rubberized base coat before I moved from Ireland, which has seen me successfully through a few nail-painting frenzies now, allowing my nail polish to last anywhere from 5-10 days. TEN DAYS! The polishing that sparked my recent nail polish frenzy lasted for no less than 10 days, and even then I only took it off because my nails had grown out so far.
Anyways, Jessica gave me this pink from her stash, and I felt the need to add real glitter to them. I thought it would be a terrible idea but tried it anyway. After a couple coats of clear polish on top - they look so fancy and sparkly! I love looking at them, and the glitter has stayed in place perfectly, much to my delight.

Third, is this sample pack of roving that I purchased from Carolyn of Greenwood Fiberworks on Etsy.

They are so cute and about 14g each - but they are perfect for my purposes, which is hand-spinning them into dollie hair. And that, friends, brings me to my final thing(s) - my dollies.

I've been making little dollies over the last couple weeks! I love them, as each one is unique and special in her own way. Both of these little lovelies are available right now in my shop! Get them while you can, but in case they're gone know that more are in the works right now. :-)

What's exciting in your world right now?

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10 April, 2013

A Little Bit of Random

Hey guys!
It's been a while. I don't really know why. Probably mainly because I've been dealing with a little bit of depression and all that comes with that - but also because I have had a bit of writers blog block.

V and I are looking for a new place. Our lease is up in June so I've started looking now, in hopes that we will find something much much before that. The good thing is that our lease has the option to extend if we need to so it's not like we'll be out on the street if we don't find a place. Always reassuring, that. I touched on how difficult it is to find a place in Sweden, here. So that's what's going on on the home front. I do like the place we are in, and I highly dislike moving - BUT it would be nice to find a place that's a bit less expensive if possible, and we really miss having Bilbo home with us.
Not long ago I posted something on my personal Facebook wall about how nice it was seeing Bilbo and several people were unaware that he doesn't live with us!
Bilbo lives with my in-laws! We found the place we live in now, and the landlord doesn't want pets in the house - plus he likes to birdwatch, so there was no convincing him. V sees Bilbo every day and gives him cuddles, and overall, Bilbo is very happy with the situation. He especially likes that he's able to play outside all the time now that it's warming up for spring. I posted a video on the SpiritedShannon Facebook page playing a cat version of "fetch". Go check it out. I'll wait here. If you're feeling generous, feel free to like my page while you're there!
Since we've been in Sweden, we've had our eyes open at second hand shops for bicycles for each of us. Something I love about Stockholm is that everything in the city is built with bike traffic in mind - as well as most places outside the city. I find that very refreshing after all the tiny Irish roads (you can catch a few examples in this post) where walking or bicycling on the road is just not safe, in my opinion. We have a favourite second hand shop in Skarpnäck that is open Thursday thru Sunday and has the lowest prices around. We visit it almost every week and have found all kinds of great stuff. Now that the snow is starting to melt, they've started selling bicycles and last week we found a great bike for me!
I'm so excited about it! It needs a little TLC but V knows quite a bit about bikes so he'll help me fix it up and replace the parts that need it - and eventually, repaint it. I'm still deciding on a colour but I'm thinking it's down to either robin-egg blue or a creamy peach. Fun! Right now I'm waiting for some replacement spokes for the rear wheel before I can ride around on it. There's a shop not far from our house and I think that will be my first destination! It's perfect because Tyresö is installing sidewalks along the road where we live and it's going pretty quickly. They should be done by the time I get my spokes, so that's another thing to be excited about.
Remember my last bike? After we took it apart, we found that it just needed too many parts replaced to be really useable and we gave it away only a couple weeks after we got it. It was fine because the bike was not exactly what I wanted anyway and I felt a little like I was settling for something. This time around, we have found exactly the perfect bike for me and I am over the moon about it.
In other news, our friends are coming to visit us again from Finland this weekend so I'm sure there will be much to share with you after that! So say we all.

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04 April, 2013

Family on TV: My Dad and Step-Mom - the Shackelfords

A few weeks ago, my dad called me all excited saying "We're going to be on TV!" 
KSL, a news channel in Utah, has a segment called "Mormon Times" which aires on TV each Sunday. They interviewed my dad and step-mother, Barbara, along with a young man who has been taking dictation for my dad over the course of the last year. Dad's a quadriplegic, and can't write down his own story really, so that's where Brandon comes in. He's typed up everything and sent it to me in a file to sort through and edit into a book. My dad and Barbara hope to publish their story to help inspire others sometime in the next while.
I thought it was really nice to see my dad and Barbara on the show, and I'm really glad they had the opportunity! I've embedded their video below, but if you can't see it, click here to go to the video on YouTube. 

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