KADETVADUSADETVADETVA?


Six medical students at the University in Tromsø wanted a product to sell at christmas markets in order to pay for a gourmet dinner at a fancy restaurant. Eleven years later they have a small collection available in their web shop. T-shirts and aprons with idioms and expressions from Northern Norway, a fun gift for anyone from the region or an affinity for the area.  Visit Hæx to see more. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE HÆX WEBSHOP 

SOUNDTRACK FOR CLEANING HOUSE

Today is the day we've earmarked for our christmas cleaning, and after that, the game is on! What used to be a housewife's lengthy list of chores from October to December, we will attempt to accomplish in a weekend and a day. Ehem.

In the sidebar to the right is a christmas cleaning compilation on Spotify that I hope contain a few new favourites that haven't already been played to pieces in your earbuds.

3 x NORWEGIAN CHRISTMAS MUSIC

   

New secular winter songs performed on Di første jul by Tone Damli. Beautiful choral arrangements of sacred Norwegian christmas classics performed by Skruk on Stille natt

If you are looking for a CD to send as a gift around the world, this is it: the double disc Desemberstemninger  with Ole Edvard Antonsen and his impressive list of guest appearances. It includes enough Norwegian classics to make it a Scandinavian gift, but enough well known carols and standards for it to be a welcome gift in non-Norwegian homes as well.  
IMAGES: COVER IMAGES FROM ITUNES

SNOW AT LAST!

PEM-CHA-GP00645 Nordre Rådhusgate sett fra krysset ved Grønnegata i Tromsø

By Rådhusparken in Tromsø, captured around 1930.
IMAGE: CHRISTIAN HANSEN, FROM THE ARCHIVES OF PERSPEKTIVET MUSEUM, VIA FLICKR

A BLUE YULE

Tea cup Ostindia Floris by Rörstrand, Candle holder Ilse by Georg Jensen, Bowl Oyster by Mateus, Night stand Hemnes by IKEA, Tea light holders Kivi Frost by Iittala, Silverware Focus de luxe by Gense, Kartio glass by Iittala, Christmas tree decorations Vintermys by IKEA, Brass Vase by Klong, Platter by Mateus, Table linen by HM Home, Christmas tree Fejka by IKEA, Basket Gaddis by IKEA, Wooden monkey by Kaj Bojesen, Linen pillow by Svenskt Tenn. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT/PRESS IMAGES FISKARS, MATEUS, GEORG JENSEN, IITTALA, GENSE, IKEA, HM HOME, SVENSKT TENN, KAJ BOJESEN, KLONG

DAWN IN STOCKHOLM

Gryning över Riddarfjärden Gryning över Riddarfjärden by Prince Eugen 1899.
IMAGE: Eugène Jansson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

INDECISIVE

As our loyal readers know, I've been contemplating forest green glassware but this image has me second guessing myself. A mix of cool shades. Hmmm. Pretty glasses from Eva Solo available from designonline among others. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE DESIGNONLINE.SE

A RECEIVING HEART



It is labelled as a candle tray, but I'm considering gifting this iron heart from Bruka Design as a catch all for keys etc. There seems to be a never ending supply of little rocks, nails, paper clips and rubber bands in our children's pockets. Something sturdy might be appreciated in a family of six. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE BRUKA DESIGN, USED WITH PERMISSION

VÄLKOMMEN DU GODA




Read about Lucia in Sweden here, be inspired by my Lucia board on Pinterest, or watch it on SVT Play, available until the 13th of January 2015.
IMAGE: CECILIA LARSSON/imagebank.sweden.se

LUNA FOR LUCIA

Anders Nørgaard has designed candle holder Luna for Applicata in oak and brass or iron, and it's a brilliant hommage to Scandinavian advent and Lucia traditions. The candle holders can be placed around the tray as you wish, making its functionality last beyond the holiday season. Brilliant.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE APPLICATA 

MADE THE LIST

PEKANNÖT Blomsterpotte IKEA En innerpotte i plast gjør blomsterpotten vanntett.
A nice surprise from IKEA is flower pot Pekannöt.  I love it when IKEA steps away from their generic white glaze. A great fit for both rustic and modern interiors. Added to my shopping list as of today.  
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE IKEA

EMBROIDERY ON THE EDGE


Another great pattern from Korsstygnsbolaget. Original pattern from 1850. Enjoy! 
IMAGE: KORSSTYGNSBOLAGET; USED WITH PERMISSION

A NOBEL NIGHT

Stockholms stadshus borgargården 2012

Tonight is the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet at the City hall of Stockholm. Read all about it here and find more links here.
IMAGE: By Holger.Ellgaard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

MY CHRISTMAS


I was entertaining the idea of setting up a christmas table and show you our christmas. Lucky for me, a press image for Rörstrand does just that, down to the wrinkled table cloth. Someone over at Rörstrand sure has great taste... 

This is Christmas at our house: Unironed white linen as table cloth, semipolished and mismatched silverware, Swedish grace in white by Rörstrand, gray and brown glass bowls and votive holders, red apples, green branches, and candy jars. God jul!
IMAGE: PRESS IMAGE RÖRSTRAND VIA WWW.MICKSON.COM

KITCHEN ASSEMBLY LINE


         

Every day comes with a new request in the inbox: "Can your family please bring something for the christmas party/potluck/julebord/teacher appreciation/church concert/lucia breakfast..." 

These are times when you need simple recipes for crowd pleasers, made assembly line style in baking sheets, and are easy to transport. The painstakingly decorated cupcakes aren't from my kitchen this year. Or any year! It's the season for simplified versions of christmas flavours and foods. Click on the covers to sample recipes from three Swedish cookbooks that I turn to for suggestions. 
IMAGES:LIBRIS, NORSTEDTS, TANUM 

GETTING TRASHED

We need more storage space for recycling. The amount of paper and plastics we use around food items for that christmas meal alone is sickening. Knodd from IKEA is available in 2 sizes and is pretty enough to be permitted outside your garage and sit outside the kitchen for speedier sorting during holiday get togethers. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE IKEA 

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GAMLA STAN

Christmas market at Stortorget in Stockholm, Uppland, Sweden

Christmas market at Stortorget (the Main Square) in the Old Town in Stockholm around 1937. The market is still in full swing every December.
IMAGE: SWEDISH NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD VIA FLICKR

MIND YOUR STUMPS

My mother fell in love with the design and concept of Stumpastaken many years ago. A large slab of  cast metal that allows every candle or tea light to burn until the lights, literally, go out. The different heights of the flames make for a pretty centrepiece during chilly game nights. I'm in the mood for grilled marshmallows. Do you think it would work as a portable camp fire?
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE MILJÖGÅRDEN WEBSHOP

PAPER FLOWERS

free christmas printables

The one flower I haven't gotten around to buying yet is amaryllis. And oh, how I miss it. Pictured here is a beautiful botanical illustration from The Graphics Fairy. Available for free in pdf. format to print as instant christmas art for your home. A brilliant idea. 
IMAGE: THE GRAPHICS FAIRY

GIFTS FOR MUSICAL CONNOISSEURS

   Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 3 Gruber: 3 MOB Pieces - Busking - Schwertsik: Divertimento Macchiato

If you are looking for a musical gift that'll last beyond the holiday season, Scandinavia boasts several acclaimed classical virtuosos with award winning releases. Try Martin Fröst's latest release,  Brahms: Clarinet Quintet, Trio in A Minor & 6 Songs, Leif Ove Andsnes, Beethoven: Piano Concertos No.1 & 3, or Håkan Hardenberger Gruber: 3 MOB pieces - Busking - Schwertsik: Divertimento Macchiato
IMAGES: ITUNES

A FAMILY FRIENDLY DRÄLL


This tablecloth comes with a personal letter of recommendation from our family. The geometrical dräll patterns are a Swedish classic, and while I'm grateful to have inherited the beautiful real deal in linen, this cheaper version is the one used most in our home. 

It's a linen and cotton mix that is durable beyond imagination. The laundry directions say cold wash only, but I've had mine in both warm and hot cycles and even the tumbler. It still looks good going on its 9th year. (Ours is white, so perhaps colours would fade if you abuse yours like we do ours...) 

It's rather thin so sometimes we use a silencer, and to get it shiny, expect a lot of work with your iron. But most of the time we just iron it when damp and consider it good enough for a family get together involving kids.  

Available in 5 colours at Hemtex
IMAGE: PRESS IMAGE HEMTEX

PRE-ADVENT

Plates Swedish grace by Rörstrand, Paper star garland by Indiska, Candle holder Season by Georg Jensen, Cupcake liners Vinterkul by IKEA, Egg cups Origo by Iittala, Lavender bags Vendela by Himla, Glasses Kartio by Iittala.
IMAGES: RÖRSTRAND, INDISKA, GEORG JENSEN, IKEA, IITTALA, ELLOS

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORWAY AND SWEDEN

BorderPost272 - Norway and Sweden

In our neck of the woods, the only difference is on which side of these boundary markers you stand. National border mark number 272, demarcating Norway and Sweden, built in 1763.
IMAGE: By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

NO MORE JOTTING IT IN


Nordiska Museet in Stockholm (The Museum of Nordic History) has an excellent calendar named Årets Dagar (Days of the Year). It's a guide to when, how and why for Swedish traditions. Now available as a free app for iPhone and Android, where you an mark days and holidays you want to be reminded of. Perfect for the trivia oriented, Scandi-interested, or the expat who's lost track of the days...
IMAGE: ITUNES

A TRIBUTE TO GRANDFATHERS

TREET YOURSELF


Is it a tree? Is it a curtain? Is it a tablecloth? It's Vinter 2014! So happy to see this fabric return to IKEA.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE IKEA

SUDDENLY...

Why are the simplest things the most difficult to find? A throw cushion for our couch in a navy shade that was leaning towards midnight blue,  removable cover in a fabric suitable for casual family life (aka wrinkles and stains).  It took me 6 months but here it is. Washed Diamond Sham from Swedish lifestyle brand Lexington

Now, how do I convince the rest of the family that a cushion cover with the price tag equivalent of, let's see, about 500 meatballs, or 1600 lollipops, or 4 big boxes of lego is what they want on their Christmas wish list?  
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE LÄNNA MÖBLER WEBSHOP 

SPILL CATCHER



There is plenty of sleek Scandi design to go around, but this year's first christmas purchase was traditional kitsch! The textile placemats we use during the holidays are family friendly, but I decided that for every day spills, we're going plastic. Not very eco/conscious, I know, but neither is daily washing and stain removal. Place mat with Jenny Nyström motif, available at ICA, and other retailers. We found ours at Clas Ohlson. 
IMAGE: ICA HEMMA 

READY TO WEAR FOR YOUR WALLS


Sofia Magnusson, the entrepreneur behind The Folklore Company wanted to combine her appreciation for traditional folklore decorating with a modern lifestyle. She created a web application where you can design your own embroidered wall hanging and have it ready made and delivered! 

I was impressed that they also offer the option of turning your design into a DIY kit. That shows respect for the original craft and handmade creations, earning them bonus points from me. 

And then I found the sample wall hanging above... Ha! It's like they know me... 
A global site is in the makings, so stay tuned folks. 
IMAGE: SAMPLE IMAGE, THE FOLKLORE COMPANY, USED WITH PERMISSION 

SLÅ PÅ RING

"Slå på ring", Folkefjellet.

The other day as I was picking up my son at school, a group of children were playing Slå på ring, a sing song verse that is part of a game of catch. So is this group from around 1910 on top of Folkefjellet. Looks like fun!
IMAGE: PAUL STANG, FYLKESARKIVET I SOGN OG FJORDANE

WANTED



The traditional Swedish cheesecake is nothing like the velvet smooth American cousin, but a grainy almond flavoured pudding similar in consistency to baked cottage cheese. It's served warm, plain or with jam. I adore it. 

Homemade always taste better, but is time consuming. I don't mind cheating with cheese cake or ostkaka from  Frödinge, the dairy company founded in 1929. 

Imagine how badly I've been wanting to sample the ostkaka with saffron, the Swedish christmas spice No.1. Gah! It's enough to consider a christmas in Sweden next year. 
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE ORKLA FOODS, CC

STABLE DWELLER

Design duo Bengt och Lotta always find the right balance between naive folklore and modern graphics. A personal favourite is candle holder Häst, available from Designonline among others.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE DESIGNONLINE

IN THE DARK OF THE NIGHT

Northern Lights over Tromsø

Polar night is approaching, but the town and the sky is everything but pitch black. Such a beautiful season. Nothing can compete with Christmas in the very North. Sorry, Australia.
IMAGE: CLAUDIA REGINA VIA flickr.com/claudiaregina_cc

WEEKEND READING LIST


Read recipes and get christmas party inspiration from the book Fixa julen, cozy it up with Ernst in his magazine Hemma med Ernst, and get some embroidery inspiration in Brodera mera. Click on links for complete online issues, or excerpts.  
IMAGES: COVERS VIA ISSUU 

PERFECT PITCH?



I bought a cheap blown glass pitcher a decade ago, and after using it and finding it great I decided to get another. To my horror, well all right, to my disappointment it had been discontinued, and I haven't found one as good or pretty as that since. Two months ago it slipped out of my grip and I have been in mourning ever since.

Looking for a business idea in Scandinavia? Here's one: good pitchers for every day use. They're actually really hard to come by! Stelton is trying to fill the void with Freja. I applaud the effort. Durable steel, with a 2 liter capacity, and good looks -I'm almost convinced. But the handle means it can't go in the dishwasher, and with a hefty price tag... it still leaves me on the fence.

The search continues.
IMAGE: PRESS IMAGE STELTON 

(K) ELLY GREEN


Sometimes it's not the big name designer collaborations that make my day, but the small releases that update the look of my weekday chores. Kitchen towel Elly from IKEA is now available in green. How much money am I willing to bet on the chance that they'll be used as napkins in quite a few creative holiday tables on Pinterest? Quite a large sum, dear.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE IKEA

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY

Bruno Liljefors - Räv i vinterlandskap

My cousin has shot two foxes these past days and shown them off on Facebook. I immediately thought of Bruno Liljefors. Of course.
IMAGE: By Bruno Liljefors (1860-1939) (www.bukowskis.se/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 

LULLABY FROM FINLAND

GOOSE WALK


Today is Mårtensgås in Sweden,  or Martinmas, which honors St. Martin and marks the start of the orthodox Catholic Christmas fast. A European tradition since the 16th century, although it is vanishing into obscurity in most parts of Sweden except the very South. Admiring cute Geese ornaments from Danish company Maileg, is as close to a celebration as I'm getting today.
IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE MAILEG

PSSSST... NATTEN GÅR TUNGA FJÄT...

Now is the time to gear up for Lucia! Don't be the frantic parent driving from store to store on the 12th of December looking for the right items in the right sizes, ribbon, glitter and new paper cones, and batteries from the gas station... don't be that person. Order online or get to the stores, but do it before this weekend.

ICA Hemma 
KappAhl Tomteshop
Lindex Lusseshop
Åhléns 
Ellos Luciashop

LA TABLE

Table settings - Mateus
IMAGE: MATEUS CERAMICS

WOOF WOOF


Our 1-year old saw this classic Kaj Bojesen dog in the Illum Bolighus Christmas catalogue the other day and went nuts, pointing and laughing and getting excited. 

Why yes, appreciation for Danish design does transfer via breast milk.  
IMAGE: ILLUM BOLIGHUS WEBSHOP

HUBRIS



This could be the year pigs finally learn how to fly, because I am determined to finish a sewing project before Christmas. The plan: a simple envelope pillow with a legible line from a Christmas song embroidered on front.
IMAGE: MADE USING THE CROSS STICH WRITING TOOL

NEW CASES

Cushion Cover Tallyho 50x50 cmLustgården kuddvar - röd - Design House Stockholm     Cushion Cover red Fruktlåda

Ljungbergs Factory have been in business since 1834, and their brand is associated with designer Stig Lindberg. Their webshop is an excellent browse for those of us who ponder pillows as pastime. And, you know, red on red gets me every time.
IMAGES: PRODUCT IMAGES DESIGNONLINE, LJUNGBERGS FACTORY WEBSHOP