Posts Categorized: Scandinavia

Crafts + decorations + Helsinki + Home + Projects + Scandinavia / Thursday, 15 Dec 2016

Himmeli: Geometric Home Decor

Himmeli: geometric home decor past and present

We’ve been long time lovers of the himmeli for a while now, evident here and here. Himmeli is considered the quintessential Christmas decoration of Finland, but is popular in all Nordic countries. It is a geometric straw mobile or chandelier and can be transformed into a variety of interpretations. The Swedish word for chandelier is takkrona, which means ceiling crown. I love the idea of having homemade ceiling crowns all over your home. I feel like it captures Scandinavian design perfectly: clean and simple but stunning and interesting. This book, Himmeli: Geometric Home Decor Past and Present by Swedish author Eija Koski is a beautiful compilation of Himmeli projects and the ultimate go-to book for all things himmeli.

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christmas + Design + DIY + holiday + Life + My Scandinavian Christmas + Scandinavia / Monday, 23 Dec 2013

Celebrating Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia (pronounced Loo-CEE-uh in Scandinavia…what is it here???) ) is December 13th and to celebrate I teamed up with the magical forces of photograph Ciara Richardson and floral designer Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral, the ladies with whom I did the Midsummer shoot. These ladies are pure joy to work with and soak in their beautiful aura. 
The holiday celebrates the darkest time of the year with a light festival (December 13th was traditionally thought to be the longest night of the year). In the Scandinavian countries, a procession of girls carry candles and treats wearing white and a red sash. The lead girl wears a crown of candles. We simplified ours with a beautiful bay leaf crown made by me and Ashley (I describe how to make it below).
Read how to make the crown and some behind the scene photos by click below: 

I looked everywhere for a pre-made crown form online and alas, they were all sold out. You can find some pretty over the top forms like this or this but they’re not as available as they are in Scandinavia. SO, I had to create my own. Not so much a problem when you’re a DIY blog. First, I tried a styrofoam wreath form like this one and I just stuck the candles directly in it and it worked like a charm. BUT, it was too clunky for the garland wrapped around so I had to come up with an alternative.
What I ended up with was using an embroidery hoop, wire, and floral tape. With the wire, I created a spiral slightly smaller than the bottom of the candle then I wired it A LOT to the embroidery hoop over and over and over. You don’t want to have flimsy candle holders. If you really want to be safe, add metal cups into the bottom of the spirals. After I placed all four around the hoop, I secured them with white floral tape (again, A LOT) for extra measure. The candles were very secure in the end.
Then Ashley worked her magic and used bay leaves in small clumps wired to the hoop. So pretty huh?! 

Thank you to Jenny Bradley for being such a beautiful model. You are magic. And Jessica Peterson for your gorgeous studio. And Audrey Ellsworth for helping last minute!

And of course, Ashley and Ciara. I don’t know how you do it.

Happy (belated) Santa Lucia! 

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Design + flowers + Scandinavia / Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013

Bouquet a day

I met Juliane Strittmatter at last year’s Hive conference in Berlin. She wore a lovely dress with a wonderful peter pan collar, blunt bangs, an adorable bob, and red lipstick. She was striking. After chatting with her for some time we realized we had a lot in common and we became fast friends. Juliane is the wonderful dollmaker of Froken Skicklig, where she makes and teaches classes on dollmaking. A German, she currently lives in the fields of Southern Sweden.

Juliane recently created an Instagram account (@frokenskicklig) and at the same time, created a little project. She didn’t want to share many personal photos or doll photos so she started Bouquet a Day #onebouquetperday where she goes out to collect a new bouquet a day from the fields surrounding her home. You can imagine that I nearly died when she started sharing these photos.

AND THEN, she gave us glimpses of her adorable vintage dresses with the bouquets. As if it wasn’t already enough.

She says, “This little project is good in many ways. First of all, it helps me to capture and ‘preserve’ those precious summer days – winter was very long this year, we had snow until April. Secondly, picking flowers as a daily ritual helps me to sort thoughts and ideas. I really have to be present, have to see or find the flowers (or else I can’t pick them) and being distracted would be quite counter-productive. Being on a flower hunt means that your senses have to be open. Thirdly, documenting these daily walks does also mirror my way of working. Nature plays an important role in my work as a doll maker, I would work differently when I am in the city. 

Lastly I want to add that flowers seem like a much better and more exotic choice than posting photos of umpteen latte macchiatos and fancy cakes at cafés in exciting big cities. At least that is how I try to convince myself that this here is the place to be, the South Swedish woods and me being a Berlin girl who misses her hometown quite a lot at times.”
Let’s take a look:
and many many more below:

I’m absolutely astounded at how she can name off all these flower names so I had to ask. Here’s what she says: “I know quite a lot of flower names. When I was a little girl, I was very much into flowers, had a lot of books on plants, and had a flower press, made herbariums–and by that I learned the German and the Latin names. I have to look up a few English names from time to time, but I know most names even in English and Swedish. My mother is a passionate gardener, so it runs in the family.”

Isn’t she remarkable? I love this project and wish I could join in. Alas, my flower options are a bit more limited than the fields of Sweden, but I now have a goal to go visit her and go flower collecting. Is that alright Juliane?

Please check out her lovely site, Froken Skicklig and follow along on her Instagram @frokenskicklig and #onebouquetperday

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collaborations + DIY + Party + Projects + Scandinavia / Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013

Make a maypole

Midsummer is now behind us, but dancing around the maypole can be done all summer long. And you know what? This maypole is the EASIEST thing to make. Whenever it comes to actually having to construct something, I get really nervous and anxious–the same way I feel about cooking. I was really hesitant to make a maypole just for that reason, but with a little help from my friends at Home Depot, I think I came up with the easiest solution (with a nod to Martha’s maypole) that can be done by yourself for really cheap, which are my two requirements for most things in life.

You will need: 10 foot 3/4″ pole (I got a galvanized metal pipe for $1.59 from Home Depot), a metal circle that fits onto the top of it (I have no idea what the proper term is called, but show them the picture or go to the plumbing section), a wooden circle 8″ (mine is from Joann), nails (with a top that is wider than the 4 small holes in the metal circle), glue that holds metal, white spray paint, thumbtacks, ribbon (I got 18′ ribbon from Joann)

Step 1: Fit the metal circle onto the end of the pole. Make sure the circle is flush with the pole. Mine fit without sliding down, but if yours is sliding a bit, add some glue onto both the pole and circle and leave it to dry over night. 
Step 2: Add some glue onto the top of the metal circle and to the bottom of the wooden circle in the center that fits the width of the metal circle. Leave it to dry.
Step 3: When it’s all dry, add in the nails into the four small holes.
Step 4: Spray paint it all white. Let it sit over night.
Step 5: Find the center of the ribbon and center it onto the wooden circle. Tack both sides of the ribbon onto the circle.
Step 6: Take your next ribbon and do the same. Continue adding on more colors. Each side of the ribbon will be for one dancer.
Step 7: If you’re adding flowers, use a circle flower oasis from the craft store. Use wires to secure it onto thumb tacks.
TO PUT THE MAYPOLE INTO THE GROUND:
Materials: 4′ rebar 1/2″, hammer
Step 1: Hammer the rebar into the ground. Here the ground was so hard we only got it in about 5″, but it was secure! 
Step 2: Slide the pole onto the rebar. If needed, dig the pole into the ground a bit too.

This Midsummer series was a collaboration between Ciara Richardson, the photographer, Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral, and myself. To learn more about how to celebrate Swedish Midsummer, check out last week’s post. And once again, a huge thank you to my helpers: Audrey EllsworthMaurine Anderson, Carla da Silva, Maude Lee, Jenny Ellsworth 

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collaborations + Life + Party + Scandinavia / Friday, 21 Jun 2013

Happy midsummer!

After living in a cold, dark country for a few years, I have a ginormous appreciation for the sun. In Denmark, in the chance that the sun did come out, you never knew how long it would stay so you would get your hiney outside and soak in the vitamin D as long as you could. I find myself reverting to those patterns here in Utah though I don’t really need to because default weather is good weather. Sun = happy me. Thus, Midsummer is my new favorite holiday. We don’t celebrate it as much in America, but that’s ending today. 
Midsummer is the longest day of the year (and Scandinavians like to point out that the days only get shorter from here on out, but I cringe at that thought), so celebrations are in order. Up in the north at this time of the year, the sun hardly goes down, so you get pretty much 24 hours of sunshine. The Danes celebrate with Sankt Hans, where they burn effigies of witches, but I didn’t think that would be the prettiest shoot, so we celebrated with more of a Swedish midsummer. I’m told that Swedish midsummer is mostly about drinking, so as a non-drinker that’s not an option, so we’re going back to the classic midsumer.
I called upon some great talents for this shoot who luckily said yes to the last minute collaboration: Ciara Richardson, the fantastic photographer and Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral who did the lovely flowers. I was also lucky enough to have all my interns come be models. Aren’t they gorgeous? I couldn’t have asked for better magic makers.
First thing to celebrate the Swedish midsummer, floral wreaths. These are essential. Ashley made some beautifully simple headpieces for everyone.
Then we brought in the maypole that I made (DIY right here) with Ashley’s beautiful flowers on top.
Midsummer, or summer solstice, is an ancient paga ritual that often started with fertility dances around the pole. SO, ummm, we did some fertility dances. Because that’s what grown ladies do.
Then we started the weaving of the ribbons. I don’t know why, but for some reason I was afraid that all the beautiful images I saw on Google in my research wouldn’t come true for ours, but it did. It works! 

 In and out, in and out. Every other person goes the opposite way to create the weave.

 If you take it off the pole, does it form a Chinese finger trap?

Then Ciara worked her magic and somehow made me look presentable, which is quite the feat because well, I’ve never seen my skin so broken out before. Eeeek.

 Channeling Kate Moss’ wedding.

I’m so lucky to have such wonderful interns. Besides being helpful and willing, they are kind and good people. And gorgeous, sheesh! Audrey even had her 14 year old sister, Jenny, visiting from Texas so she came too. Thank you Jenny!

And I mentioned it earlier this week, but by the end of Midsummer, if you haven’t found someone to hook up with (not my words), then you collect 7 flowers and put them under your pillow. Then you dream about your future husband. Does it work? You tell me!

If you want to learn more about midsummer, watch this video. The humor is so dead on.
If you want to make the maypole, step-by-step instructions here.

THANK YOU to the ladies who made this collaboration possible. Let’s do it again!

photography by Ciara Richardson
flowers by Ashley Beyer of Tinge Florals
maypole and concept by me, Brittany Watson Jepsen
models: Ashley Ellsworth, Jenny Ellsworth, Carla da Silva, Maude Lee, Maurine Anderson

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