Outings: The Öland Harvest Festival.

Yesterday afternoon we drove across the bridge to Öland to stop by the annual harvest festival. It was my first time going since we were engaged elsewhere last year, but it is definitely the place to be if you ever find yourself around here at this time of year.

The harvest festival is when the whole island comes alive one final time before the season ends and all the tourists head home. There are autumny things like lots and lots of pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and colours everywhere. I've never seen so many in one place before. For the first time ever I bought a bunch of those cute miniature ones. They've been lined up on the window sill in the kitchen. (You could borrow the wheel-barrow above if you bought a really big one and needed help transporting it to your car. So sweet, just like the bear + honey.) There's also plenty of fresh produce that we would have stocked up on if our home had more space, as well as arts and crafts, all over the island.

This time around we ended our visit to the island in Amanda's Café in the village of Kastlösa that we randomly happened across. The café's slogan is that everything is baked using real butter and love. I don't know what the love ingredient consists of, but it was definitely the best carrot cake I'd ever tasted. The frosting was to die for :)

Around here: Hello weekend.

Another week of work has flown by and it's time to reap the reward that is the weekend.

There's been a dramatic drop in temperatures this week and any day now we will wake up to the first frost of the season. It's already arrived in places not too far away. I wear mittens and a scarf and it looks like I will be able to start wearing the cozy autumn coat I bought on Monday sooner than I thought. To think that I went swimming only three weeks ago!

It's still dark when the alarm goes off for the first time at 6:30 in the morning because the sun doesn't rise until just before 7 o'clock now (which is when the alarm goes off for the second time and we actually get up). The days are already two whole hours shorter than they were at the beginning of the month.

On Wednesday evening we went for a bicycle ride and I wore nothing but a hoodie but it was much too cold and I realized that it was my last time going out without a coat this year. We headed down to Stensö and soaked up the last sunshine of the day by the sea. It was such a still and quiet evening...

On the way back we stopped to look at a herd of grazing sheep that have spent the summer on the peninsula. Moments later a sheepdog arrived and gathered the sheep and we saw a van further away and realized that they were going home for the season. Funny how we were there at the exact moment to witness the end of summer for the sheep, especially seeing that we went to see another herd of sheep get turned to their summer pasture in the spring. It was like coming full circle, a final farewell to the warmer and lighter seasons.

Outings: Sunflower fields forever.

This weekend felt unusually long because I managed to squeeze so much into it. On Friday I took the train to Lund as planned. The three hour journey didn't feel so long because I had the most incredible sunset to watch from the train window. The sky turned pink and purple and the fields were covered in thin veils of mist. It was all so beautiful, and to my great disappointment I wasn't able to take a single photo because the train was pretty crowded and I couldn't exactly climb over people to get a decent shot. Sigh. Now that I am obsessed with photography I can never enjoy photogenic moments fully unless I am able to photograph them.

As it turned out only Linda was able to meet me because the others were feeling under the weather. We had a great time anyway, but I wish I had got to see the others too because I go back to visit so rarely. On Friday evening we had yummy Italian food for dinner and then on Saturday we went back to Lund for brunch which was also very good, especially the American pancakes. After brunch we browsed the shops in Lund for a few hours and then it was time for me to head back north again.

Per picked me up at the train station in my hometown and then we joined the rest of the family at home for dinner. I very much enjoyed having all the sisters gathered in one place again. It won't happen again until Christmas at least. On Sunday Fanny wanted to practise her driving in Växjö (she turns 18 on Sunday and will be getting her license soon) and Per and I went with her and my stepdad. Aside from visiting a few shops we stopped by the sunflower field next to my old high school. I think it's the second year it's there but I'd never seen it myself until now, only in photos. I am so happy that I got to experience it for myself at last. It was quite unreal to walk along the paths among those majestic flowers. A huge yellow field, right there in the city centre... These photos don't even come close to conveying how amazing it was.

I must go back if they grow them again next summer :)

Photobook pages: May 2012.

Remember how thrilled I was that I'd finally made some progress on my 2012 photobook way back in April? Well, I made a couple more spreads after that but then the summer came and I didn't work on it at all for months (just like I'd expected - summer is not the time to stay indoors in front of the computer after all). Now that autumn is here I've taken it up again and this week I finally completed the month of May 2012. What a busy month it must have been - I devoted 9 whole spreads to it alone as opposed to the 4 I did for February-April. Based on the amount of photos I've got saved from 2012 I'm only about 27 % done, but I haven't given up on completing the book this year yet. It was one of my new years resolutions after all. Anyway, enough writing. Here are the spreads:

My first visits to Kalmar (Instagram photos from March-May, template on the right inspired by this template by one of my greatest sources of inspiration paislee press).

When Cissi and I went to Dalby on the 1st of May. (Template on the right from paislee press.)

A weekend in my hometown and visiting my cousin and her baby Wilma, May 5th-6th.

Exploring the parks of Helsingborg, May 13th.

When I visited Råå, south of Helsingborg, May 17th.

Isle of Ven with Cissi and Fanny, May 19th.

Beautiful rapeseed fields on the Isle of Ven.

A day on the beach in Bjärred with Fanny, May 20th.

From the woods outside my hometown at the end of the month, May 27th.

I am very much looking forward to seeing these in print. Just have to finish another 100 pages or so first so I can order the book lol.

Around here: Turning over a new leaf.

The week after my vacation I noticed that my bike was making a funny sound on my way home from work one day. A tiny yellow leaf had got stuck in the wheel. I quickly removed it but it lingered in my mind, this little reminder of what was to come, making it harder to deny that summer was ending. I thought rain and cooler weather would soon be upon us, but as luck would have it the summer's lasted quite a bit longer and even now several weeks later it's hard to decide if it's still summer or autumn. We've been blessed with the most beautiful summer this year and these past weeks have been more than I ever dared to hope for. This weekend was especially beautiful...

On Saturday the temperatures came close to 25 degrees. I went outside wearing nothing but my dress - no coat, no tights. Of course there are signs of autumn here and there, but if I hadn't known any better I would have thought it was July, not September.

I half seriously suggested we go swimming later in the day, an official last dip of the year (because I hate how you never know it's the last until afterwards), but Per thought it'd be too cold. That didn't stop me from bringing my bikini when we headed out to his parents' place in the afternoon, and guess what? I did go swimming in the end. The water was a cool 18 degrees, but it wasn't too bad. Best of all, it was really warm in the sun on the jetty.

Before Per's parents treated us to dinner, we went for a short walk around his home town in the stunning evening light.

On Sunday I travelled to the big store in the west with my mum and Fanny. There are no photos from this day because my arms were too busy carrying fluffy cushions and face masks and kitchenware and makeup and giant photo frames, etc. I had a really good time though, despite having to get up at six. We've made quite a few changes to the apartment in the past week :)

Around here: Aunt Anki's 50th birthday party.

This weekend was spent with loved ones from near and far away and lots and lots of good food. As usual it went by much too quickly. On Saturday we headed to my aunt Cilla's place in Växjö to celebrate my other aunt Anki's 50th birthday with a traditional crayfish party. Anki's birthday was actually over two months ago but since she lives in Stockholm we weren't able to celebrate it sooner. It was the first time I met her and my cousins Tim and Sanna in over a year, and the first time I met Cilla and her family since winter. I hope we won't have to wait as long for our schedules to align again.

Crayfish parties must be one of the weirdest Swedish traditions with the silly paper hats and the drinking songs, not to mention the crayfish itself, which is such a strange thing to eat... :)

As you can see Cissi came home for the weekend, too. Always nice to have the whole family gathered seeing that it's such a rare occurence these days. In fact the only one missing from this side of the family on Saturday was uncle Ola.

Yesterday started with freshly baked scones for breakfast courtesy of Fanny and a pile of birthday gifts for me to open. For lunch we went to the restaurant in the village of Korrö half an hour away from my hometown. It's such a picturesque little place with its old red houses by the rippling river, and I am pretty sure the restaurant has the best schnitzel this side of Austria :)