Showing posts from 2013

the backside of lagom

Written by a Nigerian-American this is an interesting take a "lagom", a Swedish word meaning just right, balaced, middle of the road, and more.  Read this interesting article to get a look into the Swedish pysche, from Slate : slate2013/09/sweden_s_lagom_the_single_word_that_sums_up_the_swedish_psyche.html

Back to IKEA

The classic get a couple bucks-run to IKEA-scenario played out today.  Leaving handsome hubby (HH) and "well behaved" children at home I made a mad dash to the store of blue and yellow for some rugs and other assorted items.  I came home with a "Kvartal" system making HH pull out the little hair he has left.  This thing is confusing.  Have you ever noticed how their drawing which are supposed to be good for everyone - kind of the "Esperanto " of instructions actually leave everyone confused?  Let me show you:

16 pages of this later.... ta, da!  We did it!  I like the updated bed with curtains look that we got using the åkerkulla motive (which I like a lot, note pillow.)  It reminds me of "kurbits" which I write about here, Modern Day Kurbits

It's kind of a new take on a Carl Larsson bed and hopefully it will bring your eye down so you don't get confused by the funky ceiling we have in our bedroom. Cozy like.  I'm so proud of HH who …

God Jul! Merry Christmas!

God Jul och Gott Nytt år from our house to yours!  The homemade ornaments by me, aka Nordic Niche, and the pretty ball at the bottom was given to me by a good friend in Sweden.  They depict illustrations by the wonderful children's book author and artist, Elsa Beskow.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Carl Larsson and Christmas

This is what a traditional Swedish smörgåsbord would look like painted by the legendary Swedish painter Carl Larsson.  We are having guests over on Monday (Lillejulafton - the day before Christmas Eve) and I will do my best to replicate it!  We are having some traditional Christmas dishes like meatballs, korv (sausage), ham, herring and Jansson's Frestele (a potato and anchovy dish that is suprisingly good).  I hope that they like meat!  Also, a shout out here to fellow blogger who writes about many things Swedish from Idaho.  I've written her a quick email so hoping to hear from her soon. Check out more beautiful pictures from Carl Larsson here at simple virtues.  Carl Larsson postcards below get you in the holiday spirit, and following a recipe for spirits that will help you feel extra jolly this season!
Swedish GloggServes 6
• 1 750 ml. bottle of dry red wine 
• 1¾ cups tawny port 
• 1 cup sugar 
• 1 cinnamon stick 
• 6 cardamom pods 
• 5 whole cloves 
• Peel of ½ orange 
• ½ cup …

Living Lagom & Charity Begins at Home

Well let's just say out right that your idea of lagom may be very different than mine.  Lagom means "just enough" - not too much, and not too little.   It's a Swedish word and although there can be negative connotations such as "who do they think they are over-reaching and trying to be better than us?", I like to remind myself of the positives of trying to do with less and living a balanced life.  So how is one to apply this rule of thumb during the hectic holiday season?

Well like I said our ideas of "just right" may be very different, and I appreciate that, but for the sake of blogging and thinking out loud I have to say the things that I can't do without during the holidays (in no particular order) are:

warmth - glögg, fire, blanket  For recipe check out glögg!fun - friends, family, good foodgratitude - presents, cards, and singing carols
My family is pretty well set, we have friends to celebrate with, presents to pass out, and food to shar…

Love Will Ferrell, and he's married to a Swede

Here he is "explaining" Swedish Christmas traditions on The Jonathan Ross show.  We are "rabid consumers" who love "goose blood soup".  Tee, hee.  Make sure you listen to his rendition of "Helan Går." Helan Går, the real words here

Lovely St. Lucy

Sankta Lucia is one of my favorite days of the year and this year we did it right. December 13th is the day that commemorates St. Lucia and the bringing in of the lights.  In Sweden it is celebrated in homes, hospitals, schools, and other public areas across the land.  The Lucia (the eldest daughter in the family setting) brings in a tray with Lussekattor which are special buns made with cardamon and saffron, and coffee while singing the St. Lucia song.

Lucia wears a long white dress, as do her younger brothers and sisters, with a red sash and a crown of candles on her hair.  The boys are star boys - they carry a star on a staff, and what looks like a white wizard hat on their head.   The girls are "tärnor" and they wear a tinsel wreath of their hair and a tinsel belt around their white robes.  The bringing in of the lights in this dark and dreary time is so magical and lovely.  I especially like all the singing, there are many songs of different origins, that we all know a…

Victorian Bed Bench

Just wanted to share a picture of my new purchase, a Victorian bed bench, found at a local favorite vintage store "Flukes and Finds".  Three of the pillows came with (the ones in the back) and the blue ones are made by moi aka Nordic Niche.  The granny squares are quite hip and happening in Sweden, believe it or not, and the front one includes a re-purposed embroidery panel that I purchased abroad and made into a pillow.  So happy with my new cozy spot by the window and the kids love it too!  I originally eyed this piece at the Vintage Bazaar in Salisbury (see there it is in the back) but I thought the size might be wrong.  Lucky me,
I procrastinated long enough that the price came down and the size was true perfection for my sunny spot. Sometimes you have luck on your side! Here's my original post about this fun day, Pettengill Farms Vintage Bazaar. And some Swedish kurbits inspiration which can perhaps inspire you as well and show you where I got my love of painted fu…

Jul Marknad and St. Lucia

Well the Christmas season is in full swing in Sweden and even in the States now that Thanksgiving is over. This weekend the family went to a "Jul Marknad" (Christmas Market) locally in Hamilton.  Our kids were in the St. Lucia parade, and it was wonderful to see them both participate.  I've written about the legend of St. Lucia here, Lucia.  Basically it's a strange Christian tradition that cloaks the original pagan celebration of the winter solstice, a celebration of bringing in the light.  Listen to the moving song below.

We love Lucia, it's a magical thing watching the children sing in their white robes, and lights in hand and hair in the dark and cold winter morning.  So why not get a head start on it?  Sankta Lucia is actually celebrated on December 13th in homes, schools, hospitals and community centers across Sweden.  But in America, Christmas starts after Thanksgiving so we got right to it!

New York, New York!


Swedish Christmas shopping and Christmas Markets

Good morning everyone.  Feeling nostalgic today for all the wonderful Christmas markets in Sweden that start to take place this time of year.  Here's a picture of Svaneholm, a castle in Southern Sweden, that hosted one a couple of years back that we attended.  The kids are all bundled up, it was cold, drinking hot chocolate and eating bullar (Swedish cardomon buns.)  Music played and it was lovely.
Mmmm, the crisp, cold weather coupled with the smell of glögg and fir trees, the handmade gifts, and special foods and lights all combine to create a very special memory.  I love the Christmas Market in Tivoli too which I wrote about here,  Here are some great ideas for Swedish Christmas Markets right here in the States, Jul markets.

Of course a big part of the holidays is the shopping for food, goodies and gifts.  Here are some of the places that I get my Swedish food fix in the Boston area:…

Color my vida

Color, love it, but it can be too much.  Trying to figure out the golden mean of color ... when to stop and when it blast it on!  I am really loving a bright citrus yellow for our house right now, like this:
 or this:
I am so enamored of bright yellow and blue.  Could it be because of this? ;-)
Have a colorful day!

Time to cook Mårtens goose

My family is from the south of Sweden, Skåne, where it's time to cook your goose.  This celebrated medieval holiday, which of tradition takes place on November 11th or Mårtens day, is named after Martin av Tours who, as the legend goes, hid in with the geese when they tried to crown him bishop.  The geese cackled and gave him away.  Ha, ha!  Not everyone wants to get into politics.  See's+goose+is+cooked
The Swedes of rank and privilege often ate goose before fasting for 40 days (the medieval diet).  This was most likely not the case for the poor people of Skåne whom Linne (the famous Swedish botanist Carl von Linne, 1707 - 1778) during his trip there in 1749 found to be among the poorest and most miserable that he had ever seen.  They were so cut off that the villagers of Skanör and Falsterbo didn't even know one another!  (These villages are only about 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers apart.)   On the positive side the people of Falsterbo w…

Father's Day November 8

Happy Swedish Father's Day!  Love all you Swedish men who are such great fathers, share in the chores and take care of the kids.  You deserve a wonderful day!  If you are so inclined read more about gender equality in Sweden here,

The battle of the beige!

Well I recently won one battle but not yet the war on beige!  See the pictures from my son's newly painted orange wall. (We call him El Tangerino because he loves orange so much.)  I only did one accent wall in case he tires of it, and it came out great.  I mixed two Benjamin Moore colors - Sweet Orange and August Morning - because one was too bright and the other too brown, but together the paint is perfect.  We call the color "Sweet Morning" and I hope my "gubbe" has a sweet orange morning every day in his newly painted room. Also, check out the welcome sign made with his old socks.  We welcomed him home from camp with the sign and the surprise paint job.  Note, it's his art on the wall!  It's so good to have him home at La Casa Lagom.  :-)

Gustaf Adolf would approve


I'm a lumber jack and I'm OK

Looks like I have a new DIY project on the shelf -- turning my jeans into a semblance of Junya Watanabe's patched ones that, according to The New York Times (Sunday, 11/3/13), are all the rage in Paris.  NYT "On the Street" by Bill Cunningham Why not?  My boyfriend jeans are all ripped and stained with oil paints so it could only help the look.  Besides I seriously need to jazz up my look.  Anyone out there is cyberspace have suggestions on how to easily make a couple of quick, fun wardrobe changes for fall?

One thing I do want to do is adding a wardrobe rack so that my favorite fun items are out there, and easily accessible.  Pus as many Swedish interior mags have shown us, clothing can be art.  I'm planning on adding a rack to our dining room with a shelf for hats and space for my funnest coats and dresses.  This way if the dinner guests are so inclined we can quickly put on a charade or Mad Hatter tea party without any effort!  More pics to follow...

the aftereffects of Halloween...

Candy, candy and more candyTeeth brushing, flossing and mouthwash (I make the kids do this for about two days)Funny pictures on Facebook of all our friends' anticsWatching the kids compare and auction of their goodies (a hoot)leftover costume parts all over the house (for example makeup and fake blood in bathroom)squirrel eaten pumpkin in the front yardCandy and alcohol-induced hangoversDid I mention funny pictures on FB? Hubby and I were foxes in honor of the internet pariah "Ylvis".  If you read my blog you'll see I was immersed in making these costumes up until the last day, but they came out pretty good.  Luckily for us there wasn't anyone interested in filming our interpretive dance of "What does the fox say?"  Thank goodness for that although it did get some laughs!  Hope you had a fun Halloween too, we missed our friends in Sweden this year, but we hope that you partied and had a blast too without us.  One more time for that video, just to really…


Here's a lovely picture to calm and center your day.  I have been feeling very harried lately with the move, enormous mounds of homework, house fixing, looking for work, preparing for guests, and getting ready for Halloween!  This is fun work, I enjoy the DIY, and I can't wait to unveil our costumes, but somehow I can't focus enough on one thing to enjoy it.  Peace.  Breathe.  Live la vida lagom.  Ah yes, my mantra. Somehow looking at the lovely picture (and unlocking my jaw) works.

Have a Happy Halloween, and may you get your costumes done in time.  "Breathe deep the gathering gloom" seems appropriate given the season, by the Moody Blues.  (Don't worry the picture is racier than the rest of the video.)

A great night for my sports teams!


Aladdin's Jewels

Just some pics from a fun weekend project from here at "Home Swede Home".  I was inspired by the beautiful antiques I inherited recently and decided instead of putting them in a cupboard and using only "for fancy", that I would put them right to use and enjoy them everyday instead.  Kind of like when your daughter insists on putting on her tutu and wearing it to school, and why not?  Beautiful things are meant to be enjoyed.  Loving the mix of textures - rough leather, smooth glass, reflective silver and my baubles all together on the old wood.   The old strainer spilling over with jewels especially tickles my fancy.  Hope you like it too but let me know!  (And yeah, I could have cleaned and polished everything first but that wouldn't have been any fun.)  Have a great weekend!