Showing posts from 2015

The Swedish Theory of Love

I truly hope to be able to see this movie which explores some themes that I myself have found disturbing in Sweden recently.  The coldness that comes from strangers, the lack of simple human interactions which are being replaced by technology, and the feeling that although the country is very well-off that people are missing something.  It makes you wonder -- how is it that people who live in such a great country complain all the time?  I don't know if it's just human nature to want more and not appreciate what you already have, or if the Swedes are more morose than others.  I think that this film may have hit the nail on the head in terms of the loneliness epidemic in the country.  I always love being in Sweden because I see family and friends, but if that wasn't the case it would be awfully hard to meet people there.  Gandini, the writer of The Swedish Theory of Love, was interviewed in The Local to whom he was quoted as saying the following:
I was very disturbed during…

Nordic Middle Days


God Jul!


We wish you a Merry Goat Christmas!

As they say in today's Daily Mail Action Aid has jumped on the silly goat bandwagon to bring us 8 Christmas carols by  yes, you guessed it, goats!  Please read more here at Daily Mail, and if you have any extra cash after all the shoping, please consider donating a goat to a family in need.  In America you can do so thorough "" for only $120 or Oxfam.  Listening to their new goat CD will have you bleeting a "delightful" Christmas ditty in no time . LOL

the temptation of Jansson

So the 4th Advent has come and gone, and what a wonderful weekend we had!  Saturday was a great day spent watching the new Star Wars movie and caroling with friends at their annual XMAS party.  Sunday I enjoyed a delicious Christmas brunch (julbord) with Swedish friends.

We had meatballs,  little hot dogs, salad with beets and apples, knäckebröd, cheese, glögg and Janssons frestelse aka temptation.  I don't know what it was about potatoes, anchovies and cream that drove Jansson to distraction but it is good.  I made it for our little get-together and the recipe is linked  I didn't have Swedish anchovies so I used the Italian ones which seemed to work.

Now we're watching "Rare Exports", a Finnish movie about a bad Santa Claus.  It is nerve wracking for sure and I'm not sure if I will watch the whole movie.  (I'm not much for horror movies, I just wanted to see Finland and the landscape there.) Finnish men are reputed to be rough and tough, drinkers and m…

Alicia Vikander Shares Swedish Glogg with Will Ferrell and Jimmy

Who doesn't love Will Ferrell?  And his wife is Swedish which endears me to him even more.  Here's the new Santa speaking Swedish with Alicia Vikander.  Those glasses of glögg are huge!

Lucia soon, get ready!

Tusen tack to the person who posted this on Facebook, this will come in handy! :-) St. Lucia is on Sunday December 13th and I can't wait to get the kids into the groove as well as into their white robes!  It is one of the best days of the year in Sweden and at Huset Lagom (house just right).  Time to practice!  The song sounds like this when done right --
Hi, postscript - here's me at school singing St. Lucia for the kindergartners.  I just love doing this. They love it too.  :)

Nobel Prizes 2015

So the important passing out of the Nobel prizes happened with all the pomp and circumstance that the Swedes can muster today.  A beautiful meal was served in the Blue Hall of Stockholm's glorious City Hall for dignataries, winners, and royalty.

Seinabo Sey and Anna Ternheim were two Swedish musical artists that performed at the event.  I had never heard of the Swedish-born, Gambian-bred Sey but wow, what a voice!  It compares to Beyonce and Adele. Check out her contribution to the festivities below, the song "Poetic".  Just beautiful, and I love the harp too.

Congratulations to all of the 2015 winners! Also a link to more information on last year's event.  Please enjoy the beautiful music by Seinabo Sey, a Swede.

Christmas Joy

Here is an amazing idea for the holidays - instead of making a gingerbread house how about making a chocolate house!  You need 6 large bars of chocolate.  First cut out the windows and doors, they recommend microwaving the piece that you are cutting for 7 - 9 secs before cutting to make it easier,
... and then melt the cut chocolate and glue the house together using melted chocolate.  Yum!  Using white icing add the piping around the door and windows and into the funnels on the roof.  They suggest that it's easier to do the piping before you construct the house.  The woman on the video will show you how to make the adorable icicles (so much better than ice dams) and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  It's in Swedish but images speak a thousand words and you'll figure it out because my readers are smart.  So there.  Voila!

But for those of you whose creations using end up on the Pinterest Nailed-it Fail page, here is another video from Sweden - perhaps more understandable - fr…

Art and Kids!



Sweden has tightened border controls as they have taken an proportionally high amount of refugees compared to other EU countries. Now they are going to tighten border controls temporarily. Under the usual Swedish immigration policy all of the people who are granted asylum are given permanent residency.  Now temporary residence permits will be given to only the minimum number of refugees that Sweden is obliged to help under EU and UN conventions.  Also there will be strict ID checks in and out of Sweden.  I guess it will harder to enter the country by train.  Hyllie is the first train stop after Copenhagen over the bridge that spans the waters between Denmark and Sweden, and that is how we typically enter the country from Kastrup Airport.  Here's a picture showing the first ever train check! Per Reuters: "Until Thursday, the half-hour ride over the Oresund Bridge separating Denmark and Sweden had no checks, under the European union's border-free Schengen agreement.&quo…

Happy Thanksgiving! And movies and kings and baths

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a funny movie.  Allan Karlsson just leaves the old people's home on his 100th birthday and if off on the lam!  Things just happen as it seems they did throughout his long and eventful life.  A suitcase full of money provides the glue that binds a cast of characters into place and they are an unusual group.  
It's rated R but mainly for language. I think older kids could watch and enjoy it, they may even brush off some history facts while doing so.  I read the book too but actually liked the movie better, and how many times can we say that?  I enjoyed seeing summer shots of Småland as well as hearing the spoken Swedish, and the story is a hoot.  Maybe a fun movie to watch over Thanksgiving holiday? Also trying keep a straight face when I read how the King of Sweden denounced baths, but it's true, they do use a lot more energy!  He also uses a hybrid car now and said recently:  "‘We do what we can here at…


So we all know what happened when I tried to make something every day ... (clearing of throat)... not so successful.  But you'll be happy to know that I have cleared my plate to paint!  This means that I have actually been scheduling time in my downstairs dungeon, I mean studio, and there's some success. Time + effort = results!  Who knew? ;)  Start2Art is my new mantra, and business idea too.

Let's just get going and create.  My life is art and I want to make it my way.  I love education, and kids and art so putting them all together makes sense.  I realize that people don't know about my artistic skills because I purposely put them under a bushel (skipping the scrutiny of something I care so deeply about) but it's time.  This little painting is going to the NAA for their holiday show.  I have another painting underway and a small one that I did outside so the wheels are turning.

Having a hard time scheduling creativity into your life? This gadget, the make time…


Sweden to EM!  Zlatan is king!  (photo from internet) Sorry Denmark, Sweden will be moving on the 2016 European soccer championship.  As they say Zweden!  Read more here about the line-up and the games which will be next June in France!

Grandma Britta

Heading to New York City this weekend and I am so excited!!  Of course lots of my thoughts swirl around the eternal question -- what am I going to wear?  My mother reminded me that Gudrun Sjöden has a shop in SOHO at 50 Greene St.  I will definitely try to go there.  It's funny when I clicked over to their site I found this page on Grandma Britta.  We too had a Grandma Britta, or Mormor as we called her (which means Mother's Mother) and she was a fashion inspiration as well!

But her style had nothing in similar with Ms. Sjödens eco-concious, hippy feeling prints and big sweeping styles.  My grandmother wore tailored suits, turbans, and leopard print.  She had a raincoat lined with fur (cheetah I think) and loved polyester pants for their practicality.  She always wore diamond studs and loved to show off her gams, which everyone agreed were her best asset.  Well I didn't inherit her legs sadly but I did get her love of fashion.

My mother inherited her fur and handmade dol…

Balmain line at H&M

H&M, the Swedish super store, has unveiled and sold out of their new Balmain inspired line.  Read more here if you wish on the pieces and their prices (which are quite high for H&M) at Forbes . Good thing I'm not in need of a red tipped faux fur or a rhinestone bedecked dress.  All I can say when I see this line is "Is it the '80's again?"  All you need are some serious shoulder pads and we're in the 'Hot Tub Time Machine'.  (I trust you know that's a movie where they go back to the 80's. )
And I'm sorry but just 'cause you have Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner does not mean your ad campaign rocks.  As Tim Gunn said, she could be very nice but she's "tainted by the Kardasian aura of yucky".  (Tim Gunn slams Kardasians etc.)

Here's a young Swedish lady who can rock anything but even on her Balmain looks frumpy.  Sorry Kensas!  You are beautiful but not loving the look.  See for more about thi…

IKEA The Other Letter

As I start my XMAS shopping here's a good reminder. It's an ad from Spain that someone translated and put on Facebook.  Be forewarned though, you'll need a tissue nearby!  It's a great message.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend spending time with your loved ones.

Happy Day of the Dead

A fascinating holiday don't you think?  The thought that our loved ones come home to eat and drink and be with us for one night a year.  I am intrigued by it and decided to use the day to tell my children stories about their great grandparents.  Oh and it made for a good Halloween costume too.  Happy belated Halloween!  May your candy last and last :)  Here is a link to a post from last year's Day of the Dead and its altar

Happy National Chocolate Day!

I knew it, chocolate really is good for you!  (Read more in article below from Nordstjernan, 10/28/15) Rejoice and spread the good news!  Now how about one of these lovely goodies to go along with your fika?  ;) It's kladdkaka, which basically means messy cake and it's oh so good.  Try the recipe Swedish here, and let me know what you think.  Happy National Chocolate Day!

Swedish researchers find the good in chocolate. A 2010 study from Linköping University in Sweden found that cocoa may reduce blood pressure by inhibiting the ACE enzyme, which regulates fluid balance and blood pressure in the body. Rejoice chocolate lovers, you can have that extra piece – but make sure it’s of the dark kind. A new study from Sweden has found that dark chocolate could control one’s high blood pressure levels and thus keep one's heart in good shape.
Dark chocolate is already known to contain high levels of antioxidants, which are thought to be beneficial to health. Now, a team from Sweden …

Trollhattan horror

On Friday, October 23rd a man in his 20's attacked teachers and students at a school with a sword in Trollhättan, Sweden.  Two people are dead from the violent attack and two others are in intensive care. The attacks were racially motivated.  The young man, Anton Lundin Petersson, was a 21-year old Hitler admirer and he left a suicide note describing his plan as explained in The Local here. This type of violence is unusual in Sweden and especially terrifying in a country that accepts more refugees per capita than any other EU country.  The attacker, who later was shot by police, luridly posed for a picture before committing the assault at the primary and middle-school.    More here on this tragic event -  I am crying for Sweden. :(

Crafting extravaganza

Ok peeps, got my creative mojo back and this week it's all about burlap!  I made a runner with my daughter's class at school to be auctioned off later and it came out great.  They stenciled on it using my stencils and wrote what they are thankful for on it with sharpies.

This was more about the organizational aspect than art to me, I had to figure out how to accommodate 23 kids and keep them busy and productive for an hour while I helped 4 kids with the runner.  What we came up with is making place mats - basically they drew Thanksgiving scenes on yellow paper which will be laminated. In my back pocket I had a third project for those that finished early - paper towel napkin rings which they painted.  Phew!  It was a busy day but fun.

Now I'm waiting for my new crafting group to come over to "Huset Lagom" for some fun making more runners and drinking hot cider.  I really hope that they like the project too.  At least I have a lot of experience now with the proce…

Creativity to the MAX!

I feel shy and slightly ashamed in front of you dear blog reader because I have failed at my goal.  I resolved to make something every day and although I have dabbled in making things most days I did take Sunday off, and I will admit, it was glorious.  I have too many things going on right now.  The big lesson for me is if you want to be creative you have to make space for it -- mentally, physically and time-wise.  I haven't done so.  My time is filled with projects and work and kids and house.  Everything is piling up.  Not feeling exceptionally "lagom" (balanced) right now, but I am excited because all the things that I am involved with are positive and fun. 
My job right now is substitute teaching and this week I have been at a vibrant Reggio-Emilia inspired preschool where the young naturalists were busy at work and play.  My home projects include starting a crafting group for friends which launches this weekend!!  I am very excited to share my house and love of mak…

Day 5 - A Cute Birdfeeder!

For those of you new to "Living la vida lagom" (which means basically living a balanced life) I am trying to make something every day for a year.  It's been a challenge trying to fit this resolution (read more here) into an already overloaded life while trying to stay sane and balanced, but so far I have managed.  Do not be surprised though if many of my "creations" are actually just quick ways to up-cycle what I've already got, or something I already needed to do.  I am learning though that by putting "Making Something" top of mind is forcing me to ask - Could I make that instead of buy that?  Could I use what I already have?  and What do I want to make today?  I consider that progress.

Inspired by some adorable bird feeders I saw recently at "The Vintage Bazaar" I asked myself those questions today and came up with this - a cute bird feeder on a broomstick.
 The original idea looked like this:
Yes they are super cute but with a propri…

Day 4 - Connections and Brownies!

Today I went to a "Boost Your Business Boston" seminar given by Facebook where I mingled with people who actually do run businesses, drank coffee and got great swag.  Oh, and listened to informational seminars.  But seriously, check out these cute hats Mail Chimp was giving away!  I gave one to each of the kids and a pad to HH - I felt very grand and generous spreading the wealth among the hoi polloi at home. The speakers included co-founder of Little Passports, owner of Hopsters, the media manager of Museum of Science and Repat Quilt founder.  It was held at the Cyclorama in Boston and I learned a lot about Facebook and Instagram.

Soooo, what did I actually make today beside connections (and my kids happy when I gave them their new hats) you ask?  Well dear reader I have to say I snuck under the wire on this one with some quick brownies that my dear daughter and I made before bed.  So there, I did make something today (barely) so day 4 was a success.  And now I need to go to…

Day 3 - homemade cards!

Hi again, the resolution of making something every day for 365 is is well underway but it is a hard thing to fit it in.  I love doing it but so many things get in the way (like cooking, meeting people, working - ya' know somewhat important stuff.)  Ha, ha!

I am happy to say that on day 3 that I am still on track with my resolution!  I made cards - two weddings, two thank-you's, one rock star birthday -- it all adds up big bucks at the card store so I whipped 'em up using scrapbook supplies. I tried to be creative. That's day three for you!  Tomorrow I may have to get the minions to help me stay motivated. :-)

The Christening of Prince Nicolas

The Swedes are just cracking me up on Facebook now as they analyze this photo to the max.  Turns out that the two hat ladies to the right are Chris O'Neil's relatives.  Victoria (in the purple) is of course Princess Madeleine of Sweden's sister and next in line to the Swedish throne, and next to her is little brother Carl Philip.  His new wife Sofia is not in this picture but you can see her here and here.
I guess there's a whole website devoted to hats and her "fascinator" got the thumbs down.  Even Princess Madeleine, the new mother, got skewered in the Facebook thread but I think she looks beautiful.  Someone said her eyes seemed to be looking this way and that (Som utklippta, påklistrade, upp- och nedvända) and others said that she looked stiff.  What do you think?  I think she's really a very pretty princess.