Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Iron Craft #21-Where we come from

Growing up I always told people I was Polish, Germany, Swedish and French. What a mixture. My mom's mom was Swedish and her dad was the German- or so they always told us. My dad would be the Polish and French. There was always a strong connection to Sweden in our home. My grandmother decorated with lots of Swedish stuff and would tell me stories about the Tomte'. We celebrated Christmas Eve every year with Swedish meatballs, lefse and pickled herring ( not my favorite at all).

My husband is also Swedish and German. His dad's mother, Tora was first generation American leaving Stockholm to come to the United States where she met her husband, Fred. Andy grew up in Door County, WI an area in northeastern Wisconsin settled by Swedes and Norwegians.
Iron Craft #21
The Things in front of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant with goats on the roof

From knowing him and spending time up there I grew to love all things Swedish. I love Swedish and Scandinavian architecture, the textiles, housewares and so much more. When thinking about this week's project the first thing that came to mind would be to make a pair of these Swedish Mittens or a pair of these mittens. But knowing my time constraints this week I knew that there was no way I would be able to knit a pair... I am still working on a pair of plain mittens from last winter.

The more I thought about it and what I associate with where I'm from the more I realized that food is something we make to "honor" our heritage. From my German side we make sauerkraut and spareribs, which my cousin, Kathy has written about here.

From the Swedish side we make our traditional Christmas eve meal and each year the boys and I make cookies together. Not just any cookie, but Pepparkokar. We use my husband's grandmother's recipe. We set aside a day each year and make them. The house is usually decorated in Swedish Christmas decorations, we listen to carols and we make cookies. It is a time that we get to share with them a part of their history. So, for the boys and my "craft" we decided to make some cookies.
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Iron Craft #21 Iron Craft #21

Iron Craft #21

Swedish Pepparkokar
from Tora Kordon

3 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 Cup butter (1/2 #)
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1Tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water

Sift flour once, measure, add spices and sift again. Cream butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the corn syrup and egg. Add the soda which has been dissolved in the warm water. Add flour/spice mixture and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator 2 1/2- 3 hours. Roll very thin on a lightly floured board and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until done.
* the key with the cookies is to get them really thin. And then dip them in some milk and enjoy.

Grandma also made a craft for this week's challenge. She too, associates where she is from with Sweden. She made this folded paper heart in traditional Swedish colors.
Iron Craft #21

The cookies are a favorite in our house-they are loved both baked and raw. This is usually what happens when I turn my back....

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I'm just hoping there are some cookies left when their dad gets home next week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Iron Craft #20- To a T

Wow! It is hard to believe that we are 20 weeks into Iron Craft. I did not think I would make it past week one.

This week the challenge was to do something with a T-shirt. There is no shortage of t-shirts in this house and since we have made a few already for Iron Craft Thing 2 and I decided to do a little twist on the project. It was also perfect timing for a project that Thing 1 was doing for school. He belongs to the Anime Club at school and they all made t-shirts to wear this week for the last day of the club.

Iron Craft #20

Thing 2 and I were talking about the theme and what he wanted to make. He came up with the idea of taking a favorite t-shirt he had outgrown and make it into a pillow. He is a bit of a pillow hog as he has at least 5 on his bed currently. He cut the sleeves off the shirt and then he sewed up the sleeves, collar and the bottom and stuffed it. He is getting pretty good at sewing which is fun to see.

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He is planning on using it as a neck pillow for road trips in the car.

Every summer the Things come with me to work to attend one of my day camps. Each day they haul a lunch, sunblock, a water bottle and a book. I get tired of looking for all the stuff each day so I thought I would take one of the old t-shirts we had from camp and make it into a tote bag. This project could not have been easier. I just cut off the sleeves, the collar and then sewed up the bottom and squared it off. Instant bag. These would also make great good grocery bags.
Iron Craft #20

Until next week and hopefully we won't be finishing our project late on Tuesday night again. We seem to be getting busier and busier around here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Iron Craft #19- Spring Challenge

This week on Iron Craft is the quarterly challenge- spring. My mom sent along a great representation of what spring is to her. Grandma says:" Spring to me is symbolized by eggs which are a sign of rebirth and new life. This shadow box was purchased at a dollar store that I filled with straw grass and small speckled eggs--with a small ceramic bird it says "Spring" to me! "

Iron Craft #19 Spring Challenge

Those of us here in Minnesota found this week a challenge on it's own and did not finish our project. Thing 2 and I had a project planned but playing outside and baseball with his friends was much for inviting for him. That's ok... there is next week.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Iron Craft #18-Flowers

This week for the Iron Craft challenge we were given the theme flowers. What a great theme for this time of year. Typically flowers are starting to show themselves everywhere in my gardens by this time but no so this year. Everything is weeks behind but I am working on my list for the upcoming flower sale with the hopes of flowers coming soon.

This week Grandma was back with us. She submitted 2 projects for this weeks theme. Three if you include this gorgeous Easter lily that bloomed just in time for this week.

Iron Craft #18

Grandma's first project is a stitched card that she made using a pattern from

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Her other project is a dogwood branch in bloom that was seen on Martha Stewart video. She found a branch outside and made these white flowers to put on it.

Iron Craft #18

Thing 2 and I had discussed what he was going to do this week and had decided on painting a flower pot for a plant. Every summer he always has his own little grouping of flowers. I had gone out to run an errand the other night when he called and said he was bored and wanted to get ready to paint when I got home. Well, so much for waiting. When I got home this is what I found. He presented this cute pot to me as an early Mother's Day present. I love it.

Iron Craft #18
I think the best part is that he did the whole thing from start to finish on his own.

I had seen this pillow the other day that I really wanted to try making. After looking at it some more, I decided it was like the petals on a flower and I decided that was my project for the week. Thing 2 is in full baseball mode and when looking at JoAnn's I saw this cute material and my baseball themed pillow was started.


I have to admit that it is not totally done, that is what happens when you try and finish it after baseball late at night. I did run into a problem with the side... but once I figured out the diameter of my circle I was on track and then I ran out of stuffing but for the sake of a photo I temporarily put the button on. I love how this turned out and so does Thing 2.

Until next week.....