SNOWED IN?

Snow and hail storms make it less enticing to spend afternoons outdoors this week = more surfing than usual. Some suggestions for those of you who can't get enough of Scandinavia:

Scandi Interiors               Scandi Food (in English)
Sköna Hem                                  SemiSwede
Hus&Hem                                   Outside Oslo
Divaani                                          ScandiFoodie
Bolig Magasinet

UNFAITHFUL

I'm usually one to advocate loyalty, but dear Mateus, this porcelain from Gerbera can do for me what you can not: tolerate heat without cracking. I placed an order two weeks ago and am getting giddy at the thought of the pastels that will grace our table this summer. The best selection online is available at Bagaren och Kocken
IMAGE: GERBERA.NU

MY BUNS


This is belated visual proof that we did not forget to stay true to the tradition of eating semla this year, even though we had to make it ourselves. A semla is a delight, though I must say I wasn't pleased with the recipe for the buns and hence no recipe was published here. In other words: to be continued...

WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?

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Sometimes we are asked how long we'll stay in this small town, assuming it's a town we'd want to get away from. Our answer? As long as we possibly can! This photo was taken on the 28th of January.
IMAGE: STEPHEN WORRALL

BLUE DREAMS


I am longing for spring colours. Greens and blues are on my radar at the moment. This pillow could be all my spring and summer dreams rolled into one. Butterfly pillow from Anna O.

IMAGE: LÄNNA MÖBLER WEBSHOP

DOLLING IT UP



Time to kill indoors? How about the Swedish Crown princess and her husband Prince Daniel as paper dolls, complete with several outfits, by illustrator Lotta Bruhn? Available as free download at Lotta's webpage. We're waiting for the update featuring the newbord heir: princess Estelle... 
IMAGE: LOTTA BRUHN, USED WITH PERMISSION

DIRRRRRRTY

As the sun returns so does the visibility of winter dirt and dust on windows, shelves and buildings. In a land of ice, there is an enourmous effort to distribute sand and salt so that cars and people travel safely. And so the cycle continues until spring: new snow, new ice, new sand, new salt, new snow, new ice etc. A layer cake of dirt that eventually gets dragged inside. Hey, I just came up with the lamest joke ever: If Dustin Hoffman ever needs a new job, he can be our Dust-It Off-Man. 

DREAMING OF FOOD

More often than not, the things you crave are the things you never knew you would miss. A wide selection of Swedish knäckebröd (crisp bread) is one of those things for me. Apparently the mere availability isn't enough, it's variety that counts! I can "only" find about seven flavours from one brand only and as it turns out, that is much too few. This one has me drooling at the thought: sourdough crisp bread from Leksands knäckebröd. Mmmmm. 
IMAGE: LEKSANDS.SE

SATURDAY SHOPPING?

Inreda.com is remodeling their warehouse and offers 20% on everything in stock in addition to free shipping within Sweden. Offer valid Saturday 25th - Monday 27th of February 2012.

GREEN THUMBS UP

Whenever I long for garden-related inspiration I turn to Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal. I always come away from the experience feeling elated. The colours, the scents, the flowers, the flavours, the surroundings, the seasons and the contagious enthusiasm of the staff make for a great getaway from everyday conundrums.

I am amazed at their ability to stay relevant and inspirational through the whole year. Even their winter inspirations are beyond the naked and stark, and instead lush and bountiful. The secret must be remarkable professional creativity, combined with passion and enthusiasm for one's work. (This team even includes 2 cats!)
  
Though nothing satisfies all senses better than an actual visit, (don't miss the mouthwatering vegetarian
gardencafé), their facebook galleries provide generous glimpses of the beautiful products, displays, surroundings and other offers.

The place:  Slottsträdgårdsvägen 8, Solna, Sweden
The cookbook: Vegetariskt
The events: Courses & Classes etc. 
The gardener: Bo Rappne on TV4

IMAGES: SLOTTSTRÄDGÅRDEN ULRIKSDAL, USED WITH PERMISSION

CARRY ON

I am curious about the sturdiness of this basket. If it's solid and smooth it goes straight to the top of the wish list for this family. What a pretty alternative to all the rattan and plastic baskets available. I see it holding the rolled up sheepskin and reindeerskins during the summer season, when they're not in use. Or the picnic blankets, or christmas gifts next to the tree, or the empty plastic bottles to be recycled... Förvaringskorg from Åhléns
IMAGE: ÅHLÈNS.SE

TAKE ME TO BED 2

Is it a new trend we are spotting here? Last month we blogged about Åhléns' bed linen Abisko, and it looks as if Himla follows suit with striped bed linen named Rindö. The calm palette will compliment Scandinavian bedreooms perfectly.  

A CLEAN KILL

Take a good look at this. It looks so innocent. White. Pure. Clean. Winter break paradise. But too much of a good thing, you know... Avalanches are rumbling here in the north. Two men died last Saturday on the island just opposite ours while skiing. 

PS. If you think this is a not-so-subtle hint to my husband who wants to go off-pist skiing, you're spot on. 

MEET A NEW FRIEND



Elias - den lille redningsskøyta is a Norwegian book character that captured our hearts the moment we met him. Since we live in the same region as Elias and his friends, the visuals and stories echo our surroundings (boats, snow capped mountains and cheeky sea gulls), which of course add to its appeal. As a result we've accumulated quite the collection of toys, plates, puzzles, lunchbox etc.

Elias was 3D-animated into a 39-episode TV series in 2005-2007. Two films have also been released (watch trailer 1 or trailer 2), along with soundtracks that became instant favourites with our son. If you're looking for a Norway-related gift for a child, anything with Elias is what you are looking for. Merchandise is available in most DVD and toy stores in Norway and Sweden.
IMAGE: 3TIL7.KLIKK.NO

GET OUT!

Bergensbanen, Finse
Today is the first day of Winter break in many parts of Norway. This image is from Finse, on the Bergen railway, and was captured many decades ago.
IMAGE: RIKSARKIVET/NATIONAL ARCHIVE OF NORWAY

BLACK GEMS

Professor Ingegerd Råman is a well known glass and ceramics artist and designer employed by Orrefors of Sweden. Her work features graphic simplicity but is never onedimensional in its expression. Her objects often retains tactile and structured qualities despite a streamlined design. The limited edition Bon Bon collection is a celebration of her 10 years at Orrefors. I see a few well chosen cut flowers or small branches in one of these black gems to celebrate the coming spring. 
IMAGE: ORREFORS.SE

MERRY BERRY

Our son is crazy about blueberries. This morning as I rinsed blueberries for his matpakke, I was reminded about my amazement in the US over the sweetness and the size of American berries compared to our small tart Scandinavian variety. When I returned to Sweden and told my grandmother about it she just chuckled. Turns out I'd only spent summers up in the North and never picked full sized berries in their actual season. I had simply gathered unripe ones throughout my childhood, and my grandmother just didn't have the heart to tell me, and spoil my delight. Some years ago I took this photo of what I used to believe was a fully grown berry and one that actually is... Quite the difference!

TAKE MY HEART


I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. I find it a little disheartening that we are quicker to import American traditions than we are to carry on those of our grandparents. That said, I don't mind showing the world a little extra love on a gray mundane Tuesday in February. The perfect gift to a loved one? This heart from Skultuna, available in  brass or silver finish, and in two sizes.
IMAGE: SKULTUNA WEBSHOP, ALTERED BY SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS

FEBRUARY PLAYLIST

En bit på väg, Cajsa Stina Åkerström  Nåde, Bjørn Eidsvåg 
Done with bleak midWinter melancholy but too early to celebrate spring? Odd has been a favourite for a long time, even though I can barely get what he's saying! The timbre of Bjørn's music fits winter, and so do his beautiful lyrics. Cajsa Stina reframes the small and ordinary into starry moments. Click on the covers to sample the records. 
IMAGES: ITUNES.APPLE.COM

NORRMALM

Shadows
Stockholm on the 3rd of February. See more every day images from Stockholm at Hanna's blog Stockholmsbild.
IMAGE: HANNA LINDGREN VIA FLICKR

MAN WITH HANDSOME PACKAGE

The downside of a long winter is the long flu season. We're coughing in a three part chorus at home: a boy soprano, an alto and a base.Where does one draw the line between candy and cough drop? For a liqorice lover like myself I'd love to justify these sweet-salty chewies as medicine! Their poster man is Norwegian opera singer Ivar F Andresen (1896-1940) and bonuspoints to Nidar for daring to resist the colour and logo craze of their competitors. 

BAG LADY


Moving to this island was stressful but quite the cathartis. We threw or gave away at least 1/5 of all that we owned regardless of its value. It was an effort to increase time spent outdoors and minimize time spent maintaining order indoors. The consequence? Everything that we acquire is considered more carefully in terms of longevity and usefulness. This bag is perfect. Durable, functional, and more beautiful with age and wear. Bag for Life by Swedish Hasbeens. Available in 4 colours.
IMAGE: SWEDISHHASBEENS.COM

NATIONAL DAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF MANY NATIONS



Gratulerer med dagen to everyone celebrating the Sami National Day.

AFROART FABRIC

Look what we found! Handmade and Fairtrade, designed in Sweden, made in Guatemala. Fabric Juan can deck tables and sofas from November with enough red to brighten Christmas and enough graphic simplicity to have staying power through the rest of the year as well.
IMAGE: AFROART WEBSHOP

TRIV(ET)IALITIES

I'm thinking about how to streamline mealtimes without making the kitchen into a feeding station. Erika Mörn is rethinking the trivet and this snakelike necklace in cork doesn't have to hide in the cupboard between meals. Produced by HETTA and available world wide
IMAGE: HETTA.SE

THE END IS NEAR


It doesn't take a linguistic genius to see that the Swedish word kyndel and the english word candle share the common root in latin: candela.  Candlemass marks the official end of christmas in the christian prothestant liturgical calendar.

SAMI MARKET HERE WE COME

Mountain Saami group in Lyngen Norway. 1928

With a temperature of -8 C (17F) and lots of wind from the harbor, we're bundling up the family's smallest member in layers of wool in the stroller to visit the market square at the end of our town's Sami week. I'm hoping to buy savory foods and perhaps some duodji (handcrafted objects). The week features the national championship in lasso throwing, reindeer races, music, lectures and much more, leading up to the Sami national day on the 6th of February.

Sami group early 1900 eds and Lavvo tents in Tromsdalen

I feel such appreciation for the Sami who skilfully thrive in the arctic conditions and, in more recent history, bravely survived colonialistic endevours of the Scandinavian peoples and governments. In some ways I wish there wasn't a Sami week, because it means the other 51 weeks of the year are not, and that they are regarded as an exception in the region. But every effort to enforce respectful coexistence, is reason to celebrate this weekend!
PORTRAITS OF SAMI IN TROMS: NORD TROMS MUSEUM 1928 , NILS THOMASSON 1901 

WEDDING GIFT: THROW AWAY

Our last wedding gift suggestion for easy mailing. A bright woollen throw that fits both a modern and a classic home, and just about any sofa, bed or car. Polka ullpläd, from Klippans Yllefabriker.
IMAGE: DESIGNONLINE.SE

WEDDING GIFT: HOOKED ON A FEELING


Need a small gift that fits the smallest of envelopes? Hon & Han means She & He in Swedish and measures 10 cm (just under 4 inches). Hooks available at Inreda.com.
IMAGE: INREDA.COM

PINK LOVE

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The other day on my way home from work I stood and watched as the sky turned from blue to pink by the second. I had no camera with me but I'm grateful that someone else did. I remember moving to this island, simply unable to get anything done during sunset. I was so taken with it every day.
IMAGE: GUILLAUME FLAMBEAU VON USLAR

WEDDING GIFT: IGNITE THE SPARK


Nostalgia and utility rolled into one. Hommage by Kristina Stark features the iconic profile of a small child that have graced Swedish Solstickan matchboxes for decades.
IMAGE: MILJÖGÅRDEN WEBSHOP

WEDDING GIFT: LIGHTEN UP


Versatile candelabre Nordic Light from Design House Stockholm, strikes the right balance between rustic and modern, and has become a modern classic in Sweden. It folds together for easy shipping and storage.
IMAGE: DESIGNHOUSESTOCKHOLM WEBSHOP