Showing posts from December, 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!