My Scandinavian Christmas Day 4

Day 4 of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Pinja of Pinjacolada based out of Helsinki, Finland. Pinja has a wonderful blog showcasing her beautiful photography and fantastic DIYs complete with touches of bright colors and bold patterns.

This year I wanted to make a piece of Christmas decoration Inspired by the Finnish traditional Himmeli, which is an ornament made of straw and is hung form the ceiling at Christmas time. I wanted to keep it natural and simple by using the straw and wooden beads that I decorated with a little bit of white paint. The ornament hangs now on our tiny Christmas three but after Christmas it could still stay around somewhere in the house. 

p.s. This is the video where I learned how to make the Himmeli piece (clear even if you don’t speak Finnish).


Thank you so much Pinja for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas! And be sure to check out her wonderful blog. It’s got the best ideas!

My Scandinavian Christmas Day 3: Orange and Clove Pomanders

Day 3 of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Hilda Grahnat. Hilda is one of my absolute favorites. She photographed a lot of my DIY projects when I first moved here and before she moved to Oslo, where she now resides (she’s from Sweden). Aside from being a fantastic photographer, she’s also a wonderful person and stays very true to her artistic vision always.

This simple and all natural decoration is pretty much the only Christmas craft I do each year. It’s so easy and quick and best of all – it makes your home smell great! I’ve always thought this was a Swedish thing, but after some googling I’m not so sure. I used to make them with my mom when I was a kid and the smell of these is one of the few things nowadays that get me in a holiday mood.

All you need is some oranges, cloves and something sharp, like a sowing needle, tooth pick or push pin. Push the pin through the orange peel in the pattern you want to create, then insert a clove in each hole.

The traditional way to decorate with pomanders is to hang them in your window with red ribbon, but I prefer to put them in my fruit bowl with the rest of my fruit. Or I just lay one on a pretty plate with a stick of cin- namon beside it. Variation is endless! Why not spell out Christmas with one letter on each orange and put them in a row on your windowsill?

Thank you so much Hilda! Come and visit us in America! Check out Hilda’s beautiful photography here. And check out my version of this project from last year’s 24 days of Christmas Crafts.

Celebrating Santa Lucia

To celebrate Santa Lucia, 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 a pure joy to work with and soak in their beautiful aura. We simplified our DIY Santa Lucia crown 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 below:

DIY Santa Lucia Crown

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. Thank you to Audrey Ellsworth for helping last minute!

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

Happy (belated) Santa Lucia! You can also check out the printable Santa Lucia crown in the Lars shop!

My Scandinavian Christmas day 6

Day 6 of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Annika Bäckström of her eponymous blog. In one word, she’s awesome. Awesome projects, awesome color palettes, awesome personality. I’m so glad to have her for day 6 of My Scandinavian Christmas! She’s in a similar boat as I am (moving!) but found a little time for some creativity.

The gingerbread house that Annika built.

When Brittany e-mailed me my boyfriend and I had just moved in to our new apartment and all our stuff was still in boxes and everything was quite a mess, and that’s okay for a while. But the thing was that the next day my niece (four years old) and nephew (just turned one) had been planning on coming to visit us.

Problem: The apartment wasn’t very child friendly. 

In one corner of the living room we had some empty moving boxes and packaging that our new bed had arrived in. There was a lot of junk and a lot of cardboard. I thought, why don’t make Judit and Ruben interested in something else than the dangerous and fragile stuff (and it’s more fun to build than clean!).

Instructions with cute illustrations below


I used:
A glue gun
Scissors
two moving boxes
more cardboard
Tape
Left over wall paint

I started making the roof cutting tiles that I glued together. The ones on top were mirrored to make it possible to fold.

One moving box seemed way to small for a house, so I glued two together but kept the corners from each box. I think that made it steadier. I also glued some extra cardboard to the inside of the box. Then I cut triangles of cardboard to keep the roof in position. 
I glued everything together with more pieces of cardboard and put the roof on top. The paint made it look more like a gingerbread house. 

And yes, it was a success. 

They loved it  and didn’t even tear it apart until the second time they came to visit.

Thank you SO much Annika for participating! This is SUCH a great idea! Head on over to her blog for more awesomeness.

DIY Paper Honeycomb Ornaments

We love the mid-century modern vibe of paper ornaments, and the jewel-toned colors complement any Christmas tree. We especially like that they’re non-breakable—if you have a toddler in your house, you understand.

Plus everyone loves a handmade ornament. They are sweet and sentimental, just like Christmas should be. Though these DIY paper ornaments are quite the level up from popsicle stick reindeers and laminated school photos, ha!

How to Make your DIY Paper Honeycomb Ornaments

These DIY paper honeycomb ornaments are easy to make, you’ll get the hang of it super quick. And like all of our paper crafts, you can reuse them next year! Just make sure to store them in a box where they won’t get crushed by heavier objects.

Materials:

DIY paper honeycomb ornaments

Instructions:

Read all instructions before beginning your project!
  1. Download our ornament templates here
  2. Use your cutting machine or scissors to cut out 66 pieces for each ornament.
  3. Once all of your pieces are cut, you will start glueing them together.
  4. Carefully place 2 thin lines of super glue separate from each other, and perpendicular to the flat edge of the shape. Take care not to spread the glue anywhere else. Your line of glue does not need to go all the way to both edges of the paper, start and end in a little bit to avoid glue spilling over the edges.
  5. Place the next shape on top of the one with glue, carefully lining up all the edges.
  6. On top of this new piece, carefully place one line a super glue, in the middle of where you placed the 2 lines on the last piece.
  7. Place a next pieces on top of top of that, again aligning all edges.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7, alternating between 1 line of glue and 2 until all of your cut shapes are stacked on top of each other.
  9. Now you will seal the flat edges of your ornaments shapes together using bookbinding glue or any other flexible glue.
  10. While holding the shapes together tightly, use a small paintbrush with a flat edge to spread flexible glue along the entire flat edge of your stack of paper shapes.
  11. Before the flexible glue has dried, use it to attach a ribbon to the flat edge, on the side you want as the top of your ornament. This is what you will use to hang it up later.
  12. Let your work sit until all of the glue is completely dry. Now it is time to open your ornament!
  13. Starting at one side, start to carefully open the individual shapes in your stack, carefully unsticking any edges where the super glue might have spilled over if needed.
  14. Your paper shapes should open up to form your ornament, meeting on the opposite side. You’ll see the ribbon is now tucked in in the center of the ornament.
  15. Carefully align and glue together the 2 sides that meet when the ornament is open. Ta da!

Extra Tips

Here are some extra notes that will help you avoid mistakes your first time around!

If you are having a hard time opening your ornaments that is most likely because glue spilled over the edges in places it shouldn’t be. That is why it is important to take care to make your lines of super glue and thin and straight as possible. And avoid glueing all the way to the edge of your paper. Just take your time!

You may experiment with where you places you lines of glue to achieve different end looks – as long as you use the same pattern for one entire ornament. These lines of glue effect where the “honeycomb” effect shows up on finished ornaments. For all of the shapes included in our templates, I still used 2 lines of glue alternating with 1 line between them.

DIY paper honeycomb ornaments

More Paper Ornament Ideas

Need more DIY ornament ideas? Check out our tutorial for printable retro ornaments, paper candle ornaments, or a head to toe Swedish Christmas tree.

If you’re not in the mood for a DIY, browse through our whimsical Christmas ornament selection, introduced in this post from a few weeks ago.

Paper Ornaments Available For Purchase

 

My Scandinavian Christmas day 12

Day 12 of My Scandinavian Christmas is with Gina of Willowday based out of Stockholm, Sweden. Gina has some of the most clever DIYs and I’m so glad she’s with us today.

It’s an honor to be a part of the Brittany’s My Scandinavian Christmas. Contributing from Sweden, I thought instantly of lights and candles. These play a prominent roll in Swedish holiday decoration from the hanging paper stars in windows to Advent Candelabras and candles; right down to the Candle Crown worn by Lucia, which she wears ceremoniously as she brings in the sun at dawn on December 13 for the holiday of St. Lucia. 

Candles and lights are not restrained to the indoors. During my first Swedish Christmas, before we sat down to enjoy our Christmas Eve feast, several snow ball lanterns were built outdoors, just outside the dining room window for the final ambiance. Today, in my home, we make Ice Lanterns. I’m happy to share them with you here, today. These are both a fantastic outdoor project with kids or to made conveniently in the comfort of your home and stored until the party. For an Ice Lantern tutorial, click here. Thank you Brittany for this Swedish-Danish Christmas interlude here with you. 

Thank you, Gina, for participating! Check out her blog, Willowday here.

My Scandinavian Christmas Day 5

Day 5 of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Tina Fussell of Traveling Mama. Tina’s blog is a constant source of inspiration where she showcases her wonderful DIY projects combined with beautiful photography. She’s lived in some pretty exotic locales and her aesthetic reflects that.

After having spent three years in Morocco, a Muslim country where Christmas is not observed, we were especially grateful for the Scandinavian Christmas that greeted us our first December in Copenhagen.  We had exchanged a string of ordinary days where the world around us went on as if nothing were happening, with streets strung with twinkling lights, windows filled with soft candlelight and the bustle of Christmas shoppers.  We were filled with unending happiness that first year… tears of joy flowing freely as we observed the beauty of Christmas… not alone, but with an entire country who seemed to know a thing or two about creating a very cozy holiday!


I bought every Christmas issue on the newsstands that I could find and was mesmerized by this new and unfamiliar way of decorating… the Danish way was much simpler than my native Southern USA Christmases and almost always accompanied with a white background. I was in love!  

But it was not just the decorations that had caught our eyes, but new treats to try as well.  It seemed every time my husband went to the grocery store, he came home with a new cookie to try!  He talked nonstop about how every store and office building had a basket of pebernødder cookies, a new favorite, asking to be eaten (and we were happy to take them up on their offer!).  Then there were many varieties of gingerbread and marzipan and chocolates…

I was recently chatting with a friend, Heidi, of Wool Rocks, and she mentioned the Scandinavian tradition of creating an edible Christmas tree.  Though the idea is considered fairly old school, I decided to embrace it this year, with a modern twist…A combination of all the lovely white, the traditional modern and earthy branches, and strung cookies in several varieties to tempt anyone that came very close with it’s fragrant aroma of cinnamon, ginger, and pepper nut!

Thank you, Tina, for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas! I can’t wait to make my own edible Christmas tree (one day when I’m not living out of suitcases). Check out her awesome blog, Traveling Mama.

24 Days of Scandinavian Christmas finale & giveaway winner announced!

Well, happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are all spending it with loved ones. To end this wonderful series of My Scandinavian Christmas, I thought I’d recap all the wonderful projects that all the guest bloggers contributed. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who participated. I’m so grateful for your creativity and time! Also, a big thank you to everyone who participated in the Danish Design Giveaways. I wish I could give something to everyone, but for now the (random) winner of the Royal Copenhagen, Ferm Living, Lucky Boy Sunday, and Herb Lester products is………Jenny from Museum Diary. Congrats!
We kicked off the series with Maiju from My Second Life’s Christmas treeDay 2 was given to Mette from Bureau of Betterment and a bird mobile she made based on a childhood toy.
Swede Hilda Grahnat showed us how to make Swedish orange pomanders on day 3 while Pinja from Pinjacolada decorated her Christmas tree with Finnish himmeli for day 4.
Tina Fussell or Traveling Mama, made a traditional edible Christmas tree for day 5 and Annika Backstrom made an ingenious gingerbread playhouse for her nieces and nephews for day 6.
For day 7 Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press designed an exclusive “god jul” Christmas ornament to download and Mette from Ungt Blod showed us winter in the Danish countryside for day 8.
Photographer Camilla Jørvad gave us a glimpse to her winter in Western Denmark for day 9 while Rilla showed how she displays her Finnish himmeli for day 10.
Julia of Vintage Hausfrau described her experience of picking out a tree and decorating it with vintage ornaments for day 11 and Gina of Willowday made ice lanterns for day 12.
Heidi of Wool Rocks displayed her Norwegian knitted Christmas ornaments for day 13 and Charlotte Schmidt Olsen made a beautiful paper bird for day 14.
I showed how to make oversized holly and ivy out of balloons for day 15 and Sarah Goldschadt (author of Craft-a-day) made an owlies Christmas tree for day 16
The most awesome nativity set from Dos Family for day 17 and Danish nisser from Elise from Eliseenvoyage for day 18
Photographer Tine Hvolby dressed up her daughter as an angel for day 19 and Elaina of Fog and Cedar described a lovely walk to find materials to make an advent candle for day 20.
Jennifer Hagler of A Merry Mishap made the ultra delicious æbleskiver (Danish pancakes) for day 21 and Lina Anoff showed us her friend’s childhood discovering a gingerbread house for day 22.

I finished off the series with my family’s Scandinavian-inspired decorations around our house for day 23.

With that, I’m off! Merry Christmas! I’m taking the next couple of weeks off. Next time you’ll hear from me will be from our new place in Utah!  

My Scandinavian Christmas: Day 1

Happy December 1st! If you’re anything like me you’re thinking, “Wha? December? When did THAT happen?!” *sigh*. Wouldn’t it be so lovely to celebrate each and every day and really soak it in? Dream world! Well, Christmas time is seriously magical and this year the magic will be crowded not only with celebrations and projects but moving across the Atlantic in less than two weeks. Prior to finding out that we were moving, I was planning on doing the 24 days of Christmas crafts like I did last year, but that just was not possible this year.
SO, I enlisted the help of some of my favorite Scandinavian bloggers. I thought it would be exciting to have various holiday craft ideas from fellow bloggers in different parts of the world. (You can also check out different Christmas traditions from around the world here)!
Scandinavians have such a beautiful tradition of family and crafts and amazing food during this time of the year. I’m going to be so bold as to say that they celebrate it the best: no-nonsense, real, focus on people, non-tacky, warm. Guys, there are some really wonderful projects coming your way to show the simple and beautiful nature of the Scandinavians.

My Scandinavian Christmas: tree decoration

First up! Maiju from My 2nd Life based in Ostrobothnia, Finland. She has a most lovely blog with beautiful pictures of her life and creative projects. Here’s what she says:

Here’s an idea that I’m doing this year. I sprayed some branches white and decorated them by using simple decorations that don’t cost much. What I like about this idea the most is that it doesn’t take much room in the house, so you can have this little “x-mas tree” almost anywhere. Just pick the decorations and style as you like best –I chose this kind of playful mix with bright colors.

Thank you Maiju for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas. Go check out her lovely blog, My 2nd Life. And be sure to try out Maiju’s take on a Christmas tree decoration! All you need are some branches, spray paint (if desired), washi tape, and ornaments! Now you’ve got a stylish Christmas tree that won’t take up too much room in your house.

And don’t forget that the first Danish Design Giveaway ends tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow along with our 2nd day of Christmas!

Edit: The Danish Design Giveaway is now closed. You can check out more of the Scandinavian Christmas crafts here.

My Scandinavian Christmas day 10

Day 10 of My Scandinavian Christmas. Isn’t this so fun?! I’m loving all the projects. Today we have Rilla of Kotipalapeli, a lovely Finnish blog. She’s got great taste and everytime I’m on her blog I think, “how wonderfully Finnish”.
Himmeli mobile
Himmeli is usually made ​​of straw and hangs as a ceiling decoration. The word “himmeli” comes from the Germanic ​​word “Himmel”, or sky. Himmel is also known in Central Europe, Finland, the way they learned Sweden. This stream of air moving quietly Mobile, has been appointed olkikruunuksi places.

There was a book published this fall called Himmeli by Eija Koski. The description of the book asks, “Who says that only a himmeli Christmas and cabin on the table? Not at least for Koski Eija for suspending Himmel white room, kitchen, children’s room, the bathroom, cottage and kesäkammariin. Tiesitkös otherwise, what Himmel is a black home?

Himmeli in recent years has found its way into Finnish homes again. as well Goat straw and other manufactured traditional but trendy just because the craft. Christmas bazaars and the market can be found in a wide range of Himmel, Himmel as when making. The sky is the limit.

Thank you Rilla for participating! Make sure to check out her blog.

My Scandinavian Christmas day 16

Day 16 of My Scandinavian Christmas is from the lovely Sarah Goldschadt. Sarah has appeared on Lars before (the first Craftenhagen! Danish Christmas hearts! Mini knitted houses!) and I’m lucky to have this Danish/American crafter extraordinaire and author of Craft-a-day on the blog once more.

This is the first year I won’t be in Minnesota for Christmas. I’ll miss the real Christmas tree filled with gifted and handmade ornaments over the years, the wooden Santa and his reindeer sleigh my grandfather cut out of wood on display on the mantel, the felt stockings my sister and I decorated with beads and sequins hung by the fireplace, and the trail of paper “nisse” that comes out every year. But I’ll be celebrating with my boyfriend Ben and starting our own traditions. 

First project was decorating the Ikea Christmas tree (who knew the fake ones could look so great!) with tiny owl ornaments from my book, Craft-a-Day. I’ll also see if I can fake a vegetarian friendly frikadeller, but most importantly I’ll be making my favorite Jul dessert: risalamande. It’s tradition to serve it with sliced almonds and hide one whole almond in it. The person who gets the whole almond wins a prize! 
P.S. If you’re looking for some winter crafts, check out the Winter Edition Craft-a-Day iPad app!
Thank you so much Sarah for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas. Be sure to check out her lovely blog.

My Scandinavian Christmas day 18

Day 18 of My Scandinavian Christmas is with Élise from eliseenvoyage. Élise is French living in Copenhagen and she’s a super talented creative. Welcome!

I come from the south of France. I come from a place where there are days you can sit outside in the sun without jacket in December and not be cold. Maybe this is why I love waiting for Christmas in Denmark so much. Here Christmas lights and decorations make sense; you need something to help you go throught the darkest days. Here you start preparing for Christmas very early. Here people sell Christmas trees every corners and shops are decorated well in advance. Everything is red and white, there are paper hearts and candles, branches and more candles, little cookies and mulled wine, and we even got snow on the 1st of December! Right on time to properly start the Christmas preparations.

This year I decided to add new guests to our home for Christmas. I made these super simple little Nisser. Nisser are small beings that used to live in attics or stables, and protect the farmer’s family. No one can really say how they look like because they are able to make themselves invisible, but at Christmas, the family would give them some rice porridge, to thank them. Would they forget and the nisse would bother the family, by turning the beer into milk for example, or that kind of tragedy. Today nisser are still very present at Christmas time and you can see them about everywhere.
I don’t know why but I like Nisser. It may come from my childhood, when my grandma used to read aloud to us the story of Niels Holgersson, this little boy turned into a nisse, and his trip around Sweden on the back of wild geese. She even had a big map of Scandinavia pinned to her wall so we could follow the trip. Last year she gave me the map and today I have it pinned to my wall. The paper is getting yellow and the edges are worn, but I love it so much.

To make these ones I just painted them red and tied a little bit of wool around their necks so they wouldn’t be too cold, the weather has been pretty bad in Copenhagen recently. Then I just had to find hats for them, and to give them faces. They are very simple, but also exactly what I wanted. They don’t take much space, and they can easily fit almost anywhere at home (as long as the tiny little baby hands cannot grab them). 

Now they are standing there, next to our christmas candles, waiting patiently and observing every moves. And maybe, if they are not too mean to us, they will receive a nice bowl of rice porridge for Christmas. With a bit of butter slowly melting on top.
Thank you so much, Élise! So glad to have you on My Scandinavian Christmas. Check out her wonderful blog here and some more Scandinavian bloggers sharing what Christmas means to them here.