A LOT FOR A LITTLE

Weronica over at Living by W featured 9 little gifts in the range of 100-150 SEK or the equivalent of 12-20 USD. She included many of my own favourites, but here are six more in the range of 10-20 USD for those looking for a small gesture, something to bring to a gift exchange with a set limit, or for those simply looking for a small Scandinavian souvenir that doesn't cost a fortune. 

Under the walnut tree by cookbook author Anna Bergenstrom finds the perfect balance between Scandinavian modern cooking and global flavours, I refer to it often (sample pages here). Classic coasters from Svenskt Tenn (available as single pieces at the store ) with the Swedish letter Ö, denoting east, a subtle but fun detail. Handcrafted nailbrush from Iris, a great stocking stuffer for the cook or gardener. 

Rustic kitchen scissors from Danish Hay is a good unisex gift for the hipster who unwraps packages from the butcher or wrap gifts with twine. Tiny glass vase with a contemporary Scandinavian aesthetic from Ernstform, great for single stems and green twigs. Scented candles from Bruka Design are available in smoky or clear glass and a wide selection of scents, surprisingly high end despite their price. 
IMAGES: PROUCT IMAGES FROM ADLIBRIS; TINNA; IRIS HANTVERK; AHLENS; LANNA MOBLER; BRUKA DESIGN

CONTROLLING THE CONTROLLERS


Large metal flower pot from H&M Home. Perfectly sized for a small indoors fir tree, but instead I will check it out to see if it is the perfectly sized hide away for remote controls and game controllers once I line it with felt as silencer. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE H&M HOME 

CUTE CARD HOLDER

Julekort, ca 1894

"Christmas card," a post card painted by Aadne Stray in 1894, from the collections of the National Library of Norway,
IMAGE: THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NORWAY, NO KNOWN COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS

KEEP LOOKING

A few online destinations for a gray Monday. Cozy up with a cup of tea and browse away....

If you read Toast you will love the Northern Sisters Collective
If you read The house that Lars built you will enjoy Helena Lyth
If you love modern Scandinavian interior design you will enjoy Daniella Witte

SCANDI MINIMALISM


This extra large tray from the Stockholm 2017 collection is big enough to sit steady on the bed with a full breakfast for two, and perfect for turning a foot stool or ottoman into a sofa table. A no fuss design makes it timeless, and easy to stain or paint for those so inclined.   
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE IKEA

SCENT(A) IS COMING TO TOWN

Blooming hyacinths, gingerbread spices, fir branches and lit candles smell of Scandinavian christmas, but i enjoy a scented candle in the mix on cold winter nights as you wrap gifts, write cards and sample pralines. The scented candles from Skandinavisk are my personal favourites. 
IMAGE: SKANDINAVISK WEBSHOP

HAR DU FYR



CHRISTMAS IS A HOOT


Originally thought as  outdoor decoration for the garden table, this owl in cast iron from Wildlife Garden would also look great indoors during the holiday season amidst green branches and pine cones. Check out their web page for the wonderful range of cast iron sculptures.  
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE WILDLIFE GARDEN

SERVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR



Wonderful salad servers to gift in December, and add flair to the rest of the year. Stainless steel and brass at a good price, from Indiska.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE INDISKA 

IN THE BLEAK MID WINTER

Mesnavand. Tør Granbusk I

An old glass negative from the National Library of Norway titled "Mesnavand. Tør Granbusk I".
Taken between 1880-1903, by Robert Collett.
IMAGE: VIA NASJONALBIBLIOTEKET

WITH LOVE FROM SWEDEN


Together they would style a room in into a Swedish room for the holidays, but individually they add subtle Scandi flavour to most international settings. Hand printed pillow case, Norrgavel, Platter, Bruka Design, Table linen, Himla, Wool throw Klippan,Glass bowl IKEA, Wooden basker IKEA, Brass tea light holders, Skultuna. 
IMAGES: PRODUCT IMAGES NORRGAVEL; KLIPPAN; SKULTUNA; ELLOS; IKEA

BOOK REVIEW: MONIKAS JUL

Swedish cookbook author Monika Ahlberg made a name for herself as a self-taught baker and  cafe manager at the garden cafe of Rosendal in Stockholm in the early nineties. Her signature baked goods, including a carrot cake with mounds of frosting, were included in her first cookbook, a large coffee table book published in 1994. She has has since penned 21 cook books.

Ahlberg bluntly states in her foreword that it is quite the challenge to convince readers that hers is the complete hand book for a felicitous feast. The competition is fierce. Yet, she doesn't hesitate a second that she will, since her love for the season is unmatched by anyone she has ever known. It is that spunk and self confidence combined with an artistic sensibility and brilliant art direction that has paved the road to quite a few best sellers in the genre. Ahlberg has a unique ability to infuse her cookbooks with personality and atmosphere. She invites readers into her bohemian home, sharing blurry family photos and witty thank you notes from dinners past, or in this case, seasonal greetings from famous friends.

IMG_8420

The home made style of her baked goods along with the colourful mismatched china and rustic ceramics have become part of Ahlbergs trademark. Premium ingredients are treated with respect but never with reverence. Sloppy or artistic plating? You be the judge, but when cooking along with Ahlbergs books your food will end up looking like the photo in the book - or better. And isn't this what intimidates so many of us when we look at cook books styled and photoshopped into perfection? That we can attempt perfection, but perhaps also fail. Ahlberg recipes are well, doable. They're simple to the point where you wonder if cream cheese mixed with jam even counts as a recipe? Ingredient lists are mostly short and uncomplicated, and the instructions to the point.

In all fairness, despite this being one of my seasonal favourites, the recipes I've actually tried have been so-so. Both the buns and cake rolls were underachievers compared to the recipes I usually make, but I am yet to sample the savory dishes featured in the book. However, as far as inspiration goes, this is the first book I pull from the shelves when temperatures fall and I begin to plan for winter, in mid-August or so  (well, this is a Christmas blog after all, what did you expect?). Ahlberg makes contemporary Scandinavian Christmas look like fun, with her updated take on tradition in a mix of festive and casual, sensible and sensual.

As of November 2017 Monikas Jul is available in Swedish and soft cover only. Sample recipes are found here.

Monikas Jul, Monika Ahlberg, Piratforlaget, 2009, 240 pages, ISBN 978-91-642-03014. PHOTO CREDIT: COVER IMAGE PIRATFORLAGET, ALL PHOTOS ©BJORN TERRING; USED WITH PERMISSION

WARM WISHES


Looking for a Nordic gift to a Kinfolk kind of couple? The Icelandic sheep skin available at Granit will make them faint with delight. Then again, so would I. Isn't there something Aslan from Narnia -ish about this particular one?
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE GRANIT WEBSHOP

POT PERFECTION


If you are looking for a timeless addition to your christmas home, consider adding hand made pots from Gysinge instead of mass produced knick knacks. Available in four colours equally perfect for Christmas as well as seasonal blooms around the year. The perfect gift to a friend as well. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE GYSINGE BYGGNADSVÅRD