My Scandinavian Christmas day 8

Day 8 of My Scandinavian Christmas is by Mette Kærlig Hilsen, a web designer here in Copenhagen. She is also the blogger behind Ungt Blod (Young Blood), a blog that I can only describe as really cool. She’s one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram too. 
All my life Christmas has looked like this. My family moved in to my childhood home the same year I was born and every year Christmas has looked, smelt and felt the same: Dark, warm and full of traditions. 

But last year was our last Christmas in that magical childhood home; in the spring my parents moved out of the huge house and this year I will for the first time celebrate Christmas in my own home; in our small Copenhagen apartment. I will buy my first Christmas tree, I will cook Christmas dinner for the first time and I will be responsible for creating all the special Christmas tradition that my 3-year-old daughter will come to remember.

I feel like this is one of the most grown up steps I have taken since moving out of my parents house 10 years ago. Luckily my daughter gives me a good perspective on all the pressure and stress: I am not even going to try to create the most beautiful, stylish, picture perfect Christmas. instead I will focus on the things that makes her happy: Lots of sparkles, ‘nisser’, red and white colors and simple family DIY projects – and Santa, of course. 

I love Mette’s perspective on the Christmas season and I think it’s so important not to get too caught up in being stylish or going overboard. Thank you Mette for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas! Check out Ungt Blod here.

My Scandinavian Christmas Day 7

We’re already on the 7th day of Christmas! Welcome Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press! I first met Eva at the very first Alt Summit and we had a lot in common so we’ve stayed in contact ever since. It’s been fun watching her beautiful letterpress company and cute little family grow. Eva lives in Utah (where we’re heading!) but her family is Norwegian so her work is very Scandinavian-inspired so I thought she’d be a perfect fit.

 
Growing up, our home was always full of cheerful Scandinavian decor for Christmas. My great-grandmother stitched, sewed, and wove table runners, quilts, baskets and more while my Norwegian great-grandfather did all kinds of woodworking. Every year, they’d sell their handiwork at the Christmas bazaar put on by the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, and every year, my parents would pile my siblings and I into the car to attend the event. We’d put our names down for raffles, sample the cookies, and listen to the older folks speak in their melodic native tongues. We would purchase colorful ornaments, candlesticks, and pillow covers. Once in a while, we’d get lucky and win something in the raffle. Either way, my great-grandparents would always give some of their handmade goods to us, which we would proudly display in our home. 


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE

For Brittany’s “My Scandinavian Christmas” countdown, I made a couple of illustrated ornaments that you can download. Simply print them, cut them out, punch a hole in the top, thread some ribbon or string through, and hang them up. Easy! My illustrations are inspired by the ornaments I remember hanging in my home growing up. One features a traditional Swedish Dala horse, and the other reads “God Jul”, which means “Merry Christmas” in Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. 

Thank you SO much Eva! I LOVE these ornaments and will be making mine soon! Check out the wonderful collection of Sycamore products and their blog here.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.