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 tree. Day 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 23

If you’re just joining The House That Lars Built, for the 24 days leading up to Christmas I asked my favorite Scandinavian bloggers how they celebrate Christmas in their respective countries. We’ve had such tremendously beautiful responses (see here). Today I’m happy to show off my talented family. 
So, all throughout this “My Scandinavian Christmas” journey, you might have asked…well, how do you, Brittany, bring in the Scandinavian-ness to the holidays? Good question. This year is a bit different because we moved to America last week. Needless to say, packing took priority over decorating (how rude!) so I don’t have much to show. HOWEVER, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Scandinavia had in fact infiltrated a bit into the Watson household when we arrived to my parent’s place in Southern California (notice the Mexican paver tiles). My sister had painted these faux Christmas boxes with some Scandinavian-inspired folk patterns in white and then topped them with candy-cane striped wire ribbon.

Not particularly Scandinavian, but very clever, my mom used painting paper from Lowe’s for all her wrapping paper this year, including the bows. My mom’s a very clever one.

Paul showed me how to make some Danish paper hearts to top off the tree.

One more day left of My Scandinavian Christmas! And don’t forget to enter the last Danish Design giveaway (today is the last day!).

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 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 15

Day 15 of My Scandinavian Christmas is with….drumroll…me! Check out the other guest contributors to My Scandinavian Christmas here. There are some pretty awesome blogger and projects.
Ok, this holly and ivy balloon garland is not Scandinavian at all, but it’s one that I recently did for Hello Bee and it’s a super easy Christmas decoration to make for a party or for kids. I modeled it after my fruit balloon DIY. It’s pretty much the same concept, but with different shapes.

You will need: balloons, tape, scissors, twine, green paper for leaves, glue gun

Step 1: Blow up some balloons aso they are small enough to group in small clumps as berries.

Step 2: With scotch tape or double-sided stick tape attach a little to the balloon and stick to another. Clump in threes or twos.

Step 3: Cut out holly leaves in proportion to the size of the balloons. Draw or paint yellow veins on the leaves.

Step 4: Tie the groups of berries onto the twine and leave extra twine at the front and back.
Step 5: Glue gun the edges of the leaves to the edge of the balloon and a bit to the twine to secure it in place.
Donzo! That’s it! So simple!

Check out the rest of the amazing Christmas stories and projects for My Scandinavian Christmas here.

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.

My Scandinavian Christmas Day 2: Three bird mobile

Day Two of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Mette Hornung Rankin of Bureau of Betterment. Mette is an amazing illustrator/designer from Portland living in Copenhagen. 

When Brittany asked me to contribute to her 24 days of Christmas blog series about holiday decorations, I took the opportunity to work in a new format I’d been wanting to try – mobiles. My inspiration came from a small felt bird I have placed above my doorway that my mom sewed for me when I was a baby.
For the simplest mobile possible, forget about balancing acts and bars and doing pseudo-math (or even real math). Just hang three things in a row with a string between them – they still spin gracefully and take up much less space than a traditional mobile.
Step 1
The materials you need are cheap and easy to get: thread, a needle, scissors (and an X-acto if you want to be crafty), and thick colored craft paper.
Step 2
Cut out the pieces to your mobile using the PDF template I made, which fits on an 8.5×11″ letter size sheet of paper. Choose colors that will stand out well against the wall color where you plan to hang the mobile. You can also use patterned paper or wallpaper for a more eclectic look. If you want to put a holiday twist on the mobile, cut out different shapes to hang inside the birds’ bellies that make you feel whichever holiday spirit you want to get into.
Whatever you do, be sure to ask the people who are going to see the mobile every day (i.e., your roommates, boyfriend, husband, or kids) if they like the colors. That way, you will avoid mistakenly making a SWEDISH colored mobile instead of a DANISH colored mobile just because you think the colors are pretty.
Country specific colors – choose them carefully!

 

Step 3
Thread the pieces together using white or clear thread, and hang it up for everybody to enjoy. This type of mobile is relative easy to balance, but it is still a good idea to tie a piece of thread around the bird where you plan to thread a hole to test the balance before actually puncturing the poor fowl.

Thank you Mette! Go check out Mette’s awesome work on her site, Bureau of Betterment

My Scandinavian Christmas day 22

Don’t you love these last few days leading up to Christmas? I hope the stress is low and you’re able to enjoy it all. I’m pleased to announced day 22 of My Scandinavian Christmas, photographer Lina Ahnoff. Lina is one of my favorite people. She was kind enough to let me share part of her studio space  the last 6 months I was in Copenhagen, and I got to know her talent and kindness. Welcome, Lina! 
Every year we celebrate the holidays by making a gingerbread house with the kids. This year my friend, Pia Lindgaard, came over and I photographed her niece exploring her creation. I think she was highly tempted by all the candy!

Thank you so much, Lina! Check out her wonderful photography site and blog. Stay tuned for the last 2 days! 

My Scandinavian Christmas day 14

 
We’re on American soil and it feels good! Sunshine on my face, In-n-Out in my belly–life is good! Day 14 of My Scandinavian Christmas is with the wonderful photographer, Charlotte Schmidt Olsen. Charlotte and I met a few months ago at Craftenhagen through crafter of Sarah Goldschadt. Charlotte is a crafter/photographer in Denmark who does fancy shoots for magazines like Bolig Liv and Alt for Damerne. I’m so glad to have her here! 
I was so glad when Brittany asked me to join her countdown to Scandinavian Christmas.
It made me think of my Christmases growing up in the seventies. I found a pattern that resembles this time to me. We did not have this bird at my home, but we had a lot that was along the same theme. We always made decorations for the home, a tree, and a lot of biscuits and coloured marzipan figures. I still love to do that. I find doing creative stuff with family and friends wonderful! 
For the bird I wanted to use copper-coloured paper, it is a colour that has recently court my eye. I found some wrapping paper, coloured paper and a page from a magazine. I used two different colours to make it sparkle. I put the birds on a small pine branch but in a window would be just a suited. 
Merry Christmas!

Thank you so much Charlotte for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas. I’m looking forward to your visit (that’s a hint!). Check out her photography site here.

My Scandinavian Christmas day 20

Day 20 of My Scandinavian Christmas is with the lovely Elaina Keppler of Fint og Deilig. Elaina was my very first blogging friend in Copenhagen. As a Canadian living in Denmark she brings rustic elements from her native homeland to her new home and infuses it into her new Etsy shop, Fog and Cedar that she shares with Nicola Ens.
This time of year means a lot of different things for different people. Though one of the things I think we can all agree is worth celebrating (especially those of us living in the north) is that the days start getting lighter after the 21st. Since I’ve been living here in Copenhagen, I’ve started a tradition of celebrating the winter solstice and appreciating the beauty of these cold, dark, and quiet days by bundling up and taking a long walk in the nature reserve near our apartment. I watch the earliest sunset of the year and then spend the evening in candlelight, enjoying a simple meal and good company.

This year I decided to make some easy decorations by gathering branches and berries on my walk to make a candle centerpiece. To make your own you’ll need some branch and greenery cuttings, candles, a board or plate (I used a plank of cedar), and clay (sold here in grocery stores but hobby or craft stores should have it too). All you need to do is spread the clay on the board to make a base to stick the candles and greenery into. I find it’s easiest to work in layers, arranging them as you’d like and adding cuttings until the clay isn’t visible. Once you are done, you can add an ornament or other decoration to personalize it a bit. Happy solstice everyone! 

Thank you so much Elaina! Check out her blog and Etsy shop!