Since I could not be home for thanksgiving this year I decided to make a thanksgiving dinner for some of my Norwegian friends who have been especially hospitable to me while I've been here. We still had classes on Thursday so I had the dinner on Saturday. All the baking and cooking took quite a lot of time and energy...not to mention finding all the ingredients needed. Luckily my friend Daniel was kind enough to drive to the stores and back home so I didn't have to carry all those groceries up the hill! I was stoked to find fresh cranberries at the store Meny (the more expensive store). I thought that I'd have to use lingonberries with the meal, but I was able to make a cranberry sauce from scratch. My friend Tina made the turkey and Hanna baked some delicious potato rolls. Tina was so sweet to host the dinner at her house, arrange getting extra chairs and tables in addition to baking the turkey all day. The rest of the meal I made was all from scratch. I bought bread a week before, cubed it, and dried it out for the stuffing. So in addition to Tina's turkey and Hannah's rolls I made garlic mashed potatoes, herb stuffing, gravy, candied yams, green bean casserole, and buttered carrots with fresh parsley. There is no pumpkin here, and only one store sold pecans so I made Ina Gartens pecan bar recipe for dessert. I hadn't realized before the meal that most Norwegians haven't tried stuffing, green bean casserole or cranberry sauce. It was fun getting to share our American tradition with everyone. It all turned out great. The only thing I would change if I could would have been to have had more time to chat with everyone who came and less time in the kitchen. I for sure respect people, like my mom, who often are the ones in charge of the dinner. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I look forward to celebrating it with friends and family in America next year....pumpkin pie and all.
The past couple weeks I have spent a lot of time at the bunad shop. I finally decided which style of bunad to get, øst telemarks bunad. Since this is a dress I will wear the rest of my life I want it to be as perfect as possible. Luckily, I have had tons of help from one of their employees names Tove. She has been incredibly patient with me and has spent hours helping me pick out patterns, designs, colors, etc. I appreciate her more than she probably knows. I am always welcomed with a smile and hug from her.
Now that I have finished planning the dress, the only part left is the blouse. I picked out the two styles that I was drawn to first. The blouses all have a design on the collar, cuffs and on the front of the blouse about half way down. Sadly it Turns out I am like my mother and have expensive taste. The two I chose are the most expensive styles! The more expensive of the two is a geometric design with cross stitching and would cost almost $400 ( it's the same collar that the queen of Norway has) . The second is an embroidered and closer to around $260 extra. I still liked them both very much but figured I'd go for the cheaper of the two. Tove made me a couple black and white photocopies to take home and color in so I could figure which color order o wanted. So sweet of her!!!.
Still, I was a bit discouraged about the other design I liked best but when I got home I remembered she had mentioned that I could maybe make that collar myself. I went back two days later with the color s in copy and asked her about making the other collar myself. She gave me copies of the two collar patterns I liked best, the cotton embroidery thread that I had picked out and the two different gauges of cloth that the stitching is done on. Sorry I am so poor at explaining this, I am not fluent with this genre of lingo. Anyways, I rushed home and started practicing the stitching. The pattern I like the best is the one that is done on the very tiny woven cloth. You have to count the threads for each stitch so when it is smaller it is A LOT harder to be exact.
*I started writing this blog post last week and since then I have made some progress on the stitching. The last two days I've started on the harder pattern. All the work I've done so far has taken me probably a total of 6 hours to do, much longer than the other easier one.
Here is the progress I made. You can see on the left where I miss counted and messed up a bit. Since this is just for practice I decided not to undo 20-some stitches and to just continue. Altogether this has maybe taken me about 4 or 5 hours to. Let me emphasize again how hard it is to be EXACT on the counting. Sometime the threads in the cloth appear almost invisible so it is easy to miss them.
Yup. So I will continue to practice and hopefully figure out soon which pattern and what colors I want to use. The colors I picked out look much different when actually stitched/embroidered.
Since the time I had started writing this blog entry I have gone back again to Alamankås (the bunad shop) to make the downpayment so they could start on my bunad. It takes a long time to make, but we are going to try and have it complete by time I leave in June. Tove had to ask me a couple of questions for color placement, since I had moved around and switched some of the colors in the embroidery on the bunad, so we went back to the work table to figure it out. During this time I expressed that I was not 100% stoked about the shades of the colors of the wool for the embroidery. The wool colors they use are the traditional colors, but I had seen other telemark bunads with brighter colors.
I asked if I could maybe buy wool somewhere and bring it for them to use. After I asked about that she went and grabbed a box from the back full of miscellaneous wool yarn of all sorts of colors. This is how wonderful this woman is, she constantly goes out of her way for me. I feel so blessed. I am glad that I spoke up because in the box I found vibrant light and dark green wool that I loved! There was also some violet and i light robins egg blue/turquoise color. We reworked the color scheme of the pattern again. When I left the shop I felt relieved and this time truly excited about my bunad. I am excited to share my progress with everyone!
Here are some pictures from Halloween. In Bø there are not costumes for adults, nor are there 2nd hand/thrift shops to buy costume fixings. So, I decided to make my costume accessories by hand. This year I dressed up as poison ivy, from the Batman series. I already had green tights and a vintage green swimsuit to wear, but I needed foliage. There was no live foliage around town that I could pick to use. When I went into the hardware store I saw the paint sample section and got the idea to glue the paint samples together and cut them into various ivy shapes. I bought some green wire (kinda like the kind used for twist ties) that was green and used that to string my leaves together and to make a crown. I think it turned out pretty well! All I had to buy was wire and a glue stick for less than $10! On Halloween night we started with a cord (preparty) as is custom and then I walked with two of my Norwegian friends, Maja and Guril, down to a gathering we had been invited to. It was lots of fun being surrounded by only Norwegians because I was able to practice speaking more and be forced out of my comfort zone.
Unfortunately while at that party my mom told me that our oldest dog Henry died, which of course broke my heart. Fighting back tears didn't work so I tried to escape into the stairwell to cry in private, but instead I ended up making some more new friends who were very sweet and comforted me. Everyone at that party went to Kroa for the "actual" party. There were lots of costumes, loud music, dancing and tons of fun to be had.
My name is Bonney, and I am a student at Pacific Lutheran University. This year I will be studying abroad in Bø i Telemark, Norway.