Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Cake or Death? Cake please! Very well, give him cake!" ~ Eddie Izzard

Today I had 3, yes, THREE different cakes!!! 

I just got back from cake at Anniina and Kirsten's where they had 2 chocolate cakes.  One with normal ingredients and one with no gluten or sugar... both very good! I of course had to do a taste test!  Apparently every Thursday is cake day with Anniina!! I've made very good friends indeed... not only do we laugh constantly but also because they have a CAKE DAY!!!!!

But let me start at the beginning of the day I suppose....  I have lots of pictures for you!!

In the morning I went to the hot shop.  Stig-Allen set me up making really big bubbles.  I am supposed to gather a ton of glass (well relatively speaking of course) and make bubbles which one day will become much bigger bowls and bottles and drop vases and etc... So, I spent my morning making bubbles.  I started to collect them at my feet to make myself feel like I was actually doing something.  Also, every time I made a good one Stig-Allen wasn't around to see it! I got a few "Braaaa (good) Therrrresa!"s which made me happy.  At one point he came by and poked through my bubble carcasses on the floor and was like "this one is very good" and I couldn't help it but I had to point out "thats because that one is yours!!!!"  hahaha sheesh! But here is my bubble graveyard at the end of the morning... some of the bubbles made it to a proper funeral into the recycle bin and not the mass grave you are about to see... so try to imagine it with about 5-6 more bubbles:

After lunch I was torn... literally Stig-Allen pulled on one side and Rebecca on the other while I was trying to decide if I should go to the cold shop or the hot shop.
 This is the hot shop in the school.
And this is Rebecca's sign at the entrance of the cold shop which I took pictures of a few days ago I think.

I decided to go into the cold shop where I finished the glasses and bowls that I made yesterday. It was nice to make something and then the next day finish them and have a completed product!!! Makes me feel a little bit more like a "real" glass blower! haha, silly I know!
 Here are my glasses, remember the hugeness of the matchbox please!
 I ground the bottoms down to remove any punty marks and to make them sit a little more straight then I polished away the grinding marks.
 They are still a little crazy looking... but they are GLASSES! yay!
 I think they should be a good size to put tea candles in and have all together... maybe?
 Here are my 3 keep-able bowls and one silly plate I made.
 Clear, green stripes, blue stripes and plate.
 Rebecca said the plate was big enough to hold 3 pieces of chocolate on... We decided it could be your night-time chocolate plate... when you are sneaking a few pieces to bed with you and don't want it to melt in your hand... you have this adorable plate!
Yay stripes! The color got removed on the bottom when I ground it, but I think it looks kind of neat...  Maybe just because there is nothing I can do about it now.

After lunch we all got together to celebrate Christian's birthday! He turned 25 today... a regular old man... All day there had been random rounds of Happy Birthday in different languages which was pretty fun.  He made us all a chocolate cake with banana in it.  Apparently this is very Danish... it was good, kind of interesting but good! I mean its chocolate cake!  
 Cake please!
 The gathering.... lots of people came! I got to meet some more students who I hadn't really talked to before.
 Everyone enjoyed the cake and ice cream! He had raspberry sorbet with chocolate in it too! mmmmm!
 Here is the old man!
 And, my second piece of cake... 
and some coffee.... mmmm :)

After the party I decided that maybe I should go for a walk.  I had gotten a headache over the course of the day and was feeling kind of "bla" so I thought some fresh air couldn't hurt right?!  And maybe I should walk off those 2 pieces of cake and million cookies I ate at lunch... I mean... I had healthy stuff too... but Ballerinas are so good!  I started down the road and ran into Anio and Marjut (two Finish girls) who were walking Diia and Rrrrooommmaaaalllmmmmaannn the Finish dog and cat that belong to Jukka.  We all went for a nice long walk and came across these Tim Burton-esque trees:
 They are HUGE! Can you see the cat in the lower right... they are HUGE!
 OK, mostly just fat and not that tall...  But do you see the big hole in the middle!!! It was hollow!!
 Curiosity killed the cat... haha not really!
I was curious too and it turns out it is hollow all the way up! Someone could climb all the way up maybe.... maybe?  Maybe another day...

After the walk I had a very strange dinner which consisted of the odd things that I had in my fridge... pork, green beans, pasta sauce, and cheese.  I threw it all in a pan with some basil, oregano and garlic and hoped for the best.  It turned out pretty good.  It was totally edible and I ate it alllllll.  Which prompted my roommate, Saara to say "You eat a lot!" and me to burst out laughing!  I mean... first who says that?!?! Just straight out like that?!?! Good thing I am not too concerned about my weight or eating or looking like a pig apparently.  I finally stopped laughing and replied with "well, for some reason I am always hungry here!  So, I think it is OK that I eat a lot...."  It is true... ever since arrive in Sweden I am hungry! I eat and eat and wake up hungry, get hungry an hour before lunch... eat snack and am starving for dinner at like 5pm! WHY!?!?!? Oh well, I am not too worried about it.  Second... I don't remember... it was just hilarious.

After a while of mindless facebook surfing I got a message that there was cake at Kirsten and Anniina's! Where I went and promptly had 2 more pieces of cake! I am turning into a glutton! I will be healthy tomorrow instead!  On the way I ran into Rosanne, Martin, Christian and Bjorn who just came back from pizza and on the way back they saw TWO moose, a fox and a hare! Martin has seen like A MILLION MOOSE!!! I can only see 1 really far away from the bus!!! Sheesh.  Apparently the experience with the moose was a little life threatening and scary... it was in the middle of the road being HUGE.  Luckily they are all OK and got to see ANOTHER moose! I am so jealous of the moose sightings.  Oh well, I had 4 pieces of cake today!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elefant Näsa (Elephant Trunk)!

Here is the ONE bowl I made yesterday afternoon:
 Look at the pretty stripes! It doesn't have a hole in the bottom, the punty just took off the color when I broke it off because it was a thick an elephants trunk 
(hahahahahah thats what she said.... oh god, I need to get some sleep!)!
The bottom is also kind of round... so it doesn't sit.. I decided to just hold it so you can see the size and it didn't roll around like a maniac and crash off the table... Since it is just sooo beautiful... it would be dearly missed, can't let the bowl be suicidal! 

This morning I went to the hot shop right off.  The whole class was late as usual and Stig-Allen had Mia and I work on bowls some more.  It went much better then yesterday I am pleased to say! During break Mia announced that she had had it with bowls and wanted to make something useful, like drinking glasses.  So, after she didn't say anything (as usual) to Stig-Allen I ask him if we can try doing that.  Of course he shows us and gets us all set up!  After a few failed attempts on both our parts Mia again announces that she has had it.  She will continue to assist me of course but she is just not feeling the glasses.  I JUST WENT AND ASKED STIG-ALLEN TO SHOW US THESE FOR HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, I continued to make them and slowly improve.  But it was the last straw.  I decided that I can't handle her mood swings or her angry out bursts or talking to me in Norwegian and expecting me to be able to understand her! I have had it with her snapping the tweezers (nipsax as they are called here) at me and complaining so much.  So, I went to Rebecca and said "I don't really know who to talk to about this, but you are my advisor so... Is there any way that I can not be Mia's partner for the rest of year?!"  And, Rebecca said that yes, she was the one to talk to about that and she was glad that I had said something.  Often times the nice students get stuck with difficult partners because they just take it and take and say nothing and no one notices.  She talked to Stig-Allen and we are going to rearrange my schedule some so that I will have more time in the hot shop with the first year Nordic students (like Rosanne, Björn and etc) rather than the 16 yr old gymnasium kids.  So, that was nice,  I feel and felt kind of bad/weird talking to Rebecca about this, and like I was telling on a naughty student or talking bad about someone... but I didn't sign up to be abused or to have to encourage someone through every rough patch... that is what teachers get paid to do! I am glad I did it and I hope that it doesn't lead to any awkwardness, or at least not too much awkwardness.   

After lunch Mia didn't show up for a while and everyone asked me where she was, I of course had no idea... and when she did finally show up she went a made beads all afternoon.  She didn't say anything to me all morning about not being in the hot shop after lunch or anything.  So, I got paired with Björn and we worked together.  He did bottles and I did glasses.  My glasses are getting a little bigger and Stig-Allen said you can use the little ones for an aperitif!  I made a joke to Rosanne that since they were Swedish glasses you should drink Akavit (gross Scandinavian booze) from them... she had no idea what I was talking about.  Such a shame.  Oh well, maybe it will get a laugh from Pappa later!  But Stig-Allen said to remember the American motto "Bigger is better!"  and told me to make normal size drinking glasses.

It is getting pretty damn cold here.  I had to break out my winter coat and a scarf! While I was carrying my bags back from the grocery I had thoughts like "maybe it would be nice to have gloves!"  IT IS SEPTEMBER! This is a bad sign for my survival in February!!! When I went to Kirsten and Anniina's tonight to watch bad tv and laugh at facebook pics I thought maybe I should wear long underwear... but I thought that was silly for two reasons... 1. It is September and 2. I was wearing pajamas and would have to take the long underwear off then put the pajamas back on to go to sleep... not a good plan.   I decided to just run down the street to their apartment.  I also helped Rosanne dye her hair! She wanted to bleach it all blonde so she can dye it apricot colored later this weekend.  Sounds interesting.  It was hard to dye her hair because she has SO much.  We used 2 boxes and still didn't get a very even coat... but we think it will give the apricot color more depth, like low lights and high lights... right?!?! Oh god, I hope it turns out OK!!!! 

I was looking for a funny quote for the title of the post... it is so hard to name them something.  I googled Last Straw Quotes it and brought me to domestic violence quotes... eep! Who would have seen that coming?  Ok, maybe lots of people... but not me.  Now I still have no idea what to call it.  Maybe I should start numbering them.  This one would be # 53 I think... that is kind of boring too.  Oh! I've got one ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And so, we had pig... but its OK because we aren't Jewish and if we were I would still eat bacon!

Well this morning I went to the hot shop with visions of crazy patterns swimming in my head... I found a bowl to work on and it was kind of small looking after I tried to lay out the pattern (which also became strangely phallic...).  While I searched for another bowl I found this cool black/grey one that is higher on two sides.  It is hard to explain.  But, this bowl in it coolness would not be good for my new wang design either.  Instead I sat around with a magic marker and drew a new design on it. Maybe I will grow up to be a really cool cutting designer?  Until then I had a good idea... but I was supposed to practice it on a plain bowl.  I got the bowl, did the cutting... very complicated, involving big and small deep cutting wheels and a flower cutting wheel... and it really wasn't very interesting.  I was so disappointed that after all that work and super hard cutting it just wasn't that interesting... Tove and Rebecca pointed out that I had designed it for the other grey/black bowl and it was sure to look more interesting on that and probably very pretty.  So, I sat around and ground away at the bowl.  I did the cuts really well and was pleased with my work but again slightly disappointed.  Tove said it was very pretty, not very exhilarating, but maybe I should do a series of bowls in that shape all with different designs and then it would be cooler.  Essentially my slightly lame bowl design needs a buddy or two to make it less lame.  This is like high school for my bowls.  great.
So here is what I created (it was really hard to photograph this color bowl):

 It is two swooshes meeting over a big circle with two little ones going towards the middle where the ends meet with the swooshes on the other side... wow that sounds more confusing then it is...  Also, it is not so white looking in the carved areas in real life.
 This is a better representation of the true colors.
This is the side where the ends of the swooshes meet.

Oh here are more bottles on parade from yesterday... sheesh.  
Oh and remember that the match box is enormous!

After lunch I went to the hot shop where I mentioned to Stig-Allen that I was done with bottles.  He said he thought so too and maybe today I could work with some colors and then make bowls with them.  Some free blowing he says.  Mia and I were very pleased to hear this.  She is super into colors and I am really tired of mold blowing! So we broke out some colors and Stig-Allen walks over with an optical mold and Mia and are  I are like "uuuuuh oooh" but he shows us how to put color stripes on the glass with the mold.  Pretty cool.  Sadly, I was having a really off day.  I think I made maybe 2 bowls.  I made several very nice and big bubbles and then tried to put them on the punty and they met with their maker (the cement floor), I didn't get punties in time because my partner wasn't paying attention and because I am not experienced enough I would warm it too much or not enough and then the whole thing was dead.  Also, the furnace was nearly empty of glass again.  I had to do what is called a "varmnavel"  which I fondly refer to as a warm belly button.  It is where you gather a tiny bit of glass on the end of the pipe, blow a bubble big enough to unclog the pipe then gather again.  This gives you more surface area for the glass to stick to and makes it easier to gather more glass in tricky situations.  My problem (and why I don't often use this method) is because I am pretty good at gathering glass already and always end up with a TON of glass.  Now, maybe I need to practice at gathering less glass?  Maybe... but for now... colorful bowls.  sigh.  Mia had a fairly good day which was good.  And I am sure that tomorrow will be better!  I will stop making excuses and get down to business!  I once again knocked myself in the teeth! At this rate I am going to have to blow glass with a mouth guard in like a football player...  I am sure to get some odd looks with a big blue mouth guard hanging out of my mouth!

After school I went to mail some postcards to my sisters, our made up Siblings Day is coming up! Then I went to the Library Bus!  Yes, a giant bus drives from Nybro to Orrefors every Ttuesday and brings us books! I signed up and got a library card (made me very happy!) and ordered a John Grisham book for next week! I can't wait! The lady was really nice and even though I completely sucked at using the library computer to order my own book helped me out a whole lot.  I am very glad that I went and very glad that my Aunt told me about it.  Thanks Eva!

Later, Rosanne and I (well mostly I) made stuffed bell peppers for dinner! I have been thinking about this for a while, I think Sam mentioned it a week ago or so.  The other day in Nybro they had a sale on peppers, meat and cheese! PERFECT!  

We used cooked rice, a tomato-y mixture with some onions, basil and oregano in it.
 I got Rosanne to touch the meat! She goes "hmmm I don't usually eat this kind..."  and I say "what do you mean? ground?"  and she goes "No! Pig! I usually just eat graded cow!"  Whoops! I totally meant to buy ground beef... instead we had pig... I mean pork.
 We mixed it with egg, cheese, the rice and some of the tomato-y mix and put it in the pre-boiled peppers.
 Baked it for an eternity! and then coated it with cheese and ate it!
 Pretty damn delicious I thought! Everything is good if it has meat, tomatoes and cheese on it!
We shared it with Yenni who could eat it because it was glutton and lactose free! And she agreed to do the dishes ;)

This evening I have also enjoyed that all of you in America finally have new TV shows! I caught up on Glee (but not the Brittney show yet) and some Bones (an all time favorite).  It has been a good evening for my kind of poopy day at school.  I am sure tomorrow will be better! I am going to go get in bed with some chocolate and Pride & Prejudice!

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Somebody's got a case of the Mondays" ~ Office Space

So, even though I went to bed fairly early and did absolutely nothing yesterday I was exhausted this morning when I woke up.  I blame it on the fact that I woke up 24984198165 times last night and this morning.  Then when my alarm went off I rolled around in my nice soft bed (maybe I shouldn't have gotten such nice sheets at Ikea) and fell back to sleep.  I woke up at 8:37 cursing and running out of the house to school which starts at 8:50! But I made it, and I even ate a little bit of breakfast.  I have learned I can't make it through the day without 3 solid meals with all this glass blowing!

So, needless to say in the morning Mia (after she finally showed up) was like "whoa... are you really here today?!" to me at one point when I couldn't blow a damn bubble straight.  But it got better.  I made a few really good bottles and was OK with my output considering how tired I felt.  Mia had a pretty good morning and mostly we just giggled at each other over things that weren't funny at all.  

After lunch (where I ate mushroom pie and laid in bed) I went to the cold shop.  Rebecca and Tove said I should pick out a pattern from the book that I want to do and they would help me get there instead of doing each tedious exercise in the book.  I found one that combines the deep cutting and flower cutting.  So, today I practiced making deep cuts on a curve! It was so hard.  I got a little discouraged and then reminded myself that its pretty hard to draw a nice curve (like eye shape) on a glass bowl much less do it with a crazy grinding wheel! Then I felt better and made some very pretty curves.  Then I was done with the curves I added a star in the bottom (tres hard) and some dots to make it pretty.  I have decided to call this my Crown Pattern:
I don't really know why now that I am looking back on it... 
I guess I thought the dots on top of the 3 straight lines looked like a cartoon crown... sort of...

Tomorrow I will practice on the pattern I picked out.  Tove will be around and be able to give me some insider tips on making it easier.  Rebecca and I today just kind of winged it with the curves... I think they turned out pretty damn good though!  While we working on which grinding wheel to use Rebecca told me that Stig-Allen said that I was a really great student and they need more students like Theresa! I can't believe it! It made me really happy, I kind of thought Stig-Allen thought I was a little bit of an idiot... not in life in general but in glass blowing at least.  But hearing that made my day get much better :) Rebecca and I also rejoiced in hanging out together, both being native English speakers!

My evening has been fairly uneventful... I finally took the shower that I meant to take this morning, went to Tempo (the grocery), ate some leftover pasta, watched bad TV and then hung out with Rosanne and Yenni and caught up on what we each did this weekend. Rosanne is thinking about moving to an apartment on the other side of Orrefors! I know Orrefors isn't that big... but it will be a lot farther when it starts to snow!!! I want her to be happy but I want her to stay close.  It is so nice to be able to just walk up stairs and hangout with her whenever.  Oh well, she hasn't decided yet.  We will see.

OH! I almost forgot to show you all the bottles I made on Friday!!!
 This is going to be my size reference for a while until I find a normal size match box... This is huge I know.
 This is with the coarse green pieces and then the one on the right has green and yellow powder color.
 Here is coarse blue, white and green on a round bottle and then pink power on the square bottle.
 Here is the teal that matched my shirt and then one of my favorite bottle so far with the coarse green, blue and white.  I like that the colors made it all the way to the bottom of the bottle.
Here is more coarse green.  My Sweet Briar bottle with green and pink and then the other one on the right is coarse yellow with specks of black/brown and some white.  

I need to find a normal matchbox... it really shouldn't be bigger then my bottles! Haha

OH! And I finished off the tops of some my very first bottles in the cold shop this afternoon:
 Now they all have smooth and shiny tops! I really like the tiny one still... 
  Some of them got angled tops because the bottle just felt like it should have that.  I stood around and tried to figure out the best way to hold it to pour with the shape and weight and I hope I got it right and it was a good idea... not just a lot more thought then was necessary.  I like them though :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just in case you haven't been counting... THIS IS POST # 50!!!

Another random bit of information is this:
Orrefors + Volvo = Really Cool Car 

This weekend....  Saturday morning I got up and made Mushroom Pie with my freshly picked mushrooms! It turned out really good and I ate a TON.  I didn't know what to do with the mushrooms at first and the Finish girls suggested this.  After I bought all the stuff, of course, my Aunt Eva sent me a few, less complicated seeming, suggestions as well that I will be sure to use next time I have a mound of fresh mushrooms!
Sautéed onion and mushrooms
 ... and a bunch of cream.
 A small mound of cheese!
 Doesn't it look pretty?  I put some salt and thyme on top of the dough (as well as in the mushrooms) to make it a little less sweet hopefully.
Baked for 40 minutes and Beautiful!
And, tasty!!

In the afternoon I went with Kirsten, Anniina and Thomas to a lecture in the Crystal Bar.  This bar was designed by the designer I met on Friday in the school.  It is never open and no one is ever there so it was nice to go see it all lit up and full of people.  It was all older people but still nice to get to dress up and drink a glass of wine with strangers... The lecture was about Orrefors from this guy whose family was one of the original owners I think of the factory.  From what I could understand (which was VERY little) it was pretty boring and Thomas confirmed my suspicions afterwards.  
Here are some pictures of the place:

 This is Kirsten before anyone else arrived.
Anniina, Thomas and Kirsten all dressed up!

I really like these glasses.  They were designed to be a gift to the Crown Princess and her new hubby as a wedding present.  The design is called Love is Divine or something like that.  So pretty!

Saturday night Kirsten and Anniina had a New Couch Party!  It was pretty small since a lot of the school isn't in town this weekend but a lot of fun!  They put a ribbon around the couch and cut it off and I brought some champagne to toast the new arrival.  It was nice to have a small group, you could actually talk to people some.  But now that I think of it there were 10 of us, so not too small.  Of course the evening digressed into a very silly dance-a-thon.  We danced into the wee hours of the morning....
 Thomas, Kirsten and Anniina serving the champagne!
 The ribbon cutting!
 This is funny since Kirsten is Norwegian and she and I have the Swedish ribbons and Anniina is Finish with the Norwegian ribbon... aaaaahhh Scandinavian confusion.
 The kitchen is Anniina's domain.
 The dancing has begun... Here is Kirsen in white, Nick in plaid, Anniina in black and Thomas in the back.
 Here Thomas is break dancing...
 Nick doing the worst caterpillar I have ever seen!
 Kirsten and Nick singing Spice Girls
 "tell me what you want... what you really really want..."
 Boosa and Nick both in blue plaid I just noticed... I have no idea why they look so serious...
 More dancing it looks like...
Boosa making pan cakes!!! I love pan cakes!
 Ahhh, a classic Theresa pose.
And this how the night ended with Thomas and Anniina doing some sort of tango to "I wanna be Americano"

And, Sunday morning we were all feeling a little rough.  But luckily it was the perfect day to spend in your pajamas all day.  Rainy, windy and chilly!  I laid in my bed for a long time then finally made the long trek back to Kirsten and Anniina's to watch TV and sit on the new couch.  It was exhausting going up their stairs!  They said they were amazed this morning when the place was really pretty clean! Apparently at one point during the party all the Americans (me included) grabbed all the empty bottles and took them from the living room into the kitchen and I remember we didn't think anything of it but Kirsten and Annina loved it.  They also said the kitchen floor was very clean and after a moment we realized that Thomas had scrubbed it clean with his back doing his break dancing! haha oh well.  I think everyone had a very good time, a very lazy Sunday and all in all in a good weekend.