25 November 2014

Scandi miscellany

Here are all the random things I didn't have time to fit in anywhere else this month! Above you can see some cool things from Mollie Makes magazine, including an article about collecting Dala horses, and a Scandinavian cushion. The Dala horse cake is in the calendar that was in the latest magazine I bought, and that issue also had a lot of folklore themed items that would have fitted in well with my Nordic themed month.

This little wooden pot from Alesund in Norway was found on the 50p table at an antiques market. I can see that it originally had a painted design on the top which I would like to try to restore. The little dish by Royal Copenhagen of Denmark shows Arhus Town Hall (Arhus Radhus). I bought it because the building reminds me of the clock at the town centre of my town!

This is a gorgeous little retro craft book that I picked up at the Christian Aid book sale in Edinburgh. It's in Danish, but the instructions are fairly easy to understand. The projects include an embroidered horse, an elephant cushion, a fuzzy knitted Scottie dog, and a cat money bag.

I really meant to make some recipes from these cookbooks this month!

This book isn't really Scandinavian, but the cut paper designs in it have a very Scandinavian feel to their designs.
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24 November 2014

Kurbits and Rosemaling


This week I’m hoping to show you a few projects based on the traditional Scandinavian designs of kurbits (from Sweden) and rosemaling (from Norway). So first I thought I would show you some items from around my home that illustrate these designs.

The little bowl was one I bought when I visited Norway in 1992. It’s a lot more simply painted than most of the items I saw in Norway, but I couldn’t afford anything bigger or more elaborately painted at the time!
The larger bowl is one that I found in a charity shop a few years back, and it has a lot more detail in its design. I love the teal and orange colours of it.

This heart hangs in my bathroom, and was a cheap find at a charity shop. I don’t think it’s Scandinavian, but it has a similar design.

23 November 2014

Lingonberry cocktail

Here's a delicious cocktail that I made ages ago! It uses lingonberry syrup which can be bought from Ikea. Lingonberries are very widely eaten in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.

It was also one of the first cocktails I made using Hendricks Gin - I must admit that I was mainly attracted by the gorgeous bottle!

Ingredients:
Gin
Lingonberry syrup
Raspberry lemonade
Ice (I used heart-shaped ice)
Mint leaf

22 November 2014

Doll's bag


This bag has a touch of Nordic simplicity in its design, but it's actually based on a full-sized one in the book Zakka sewing by Therese Laskey and Chika Mori.


1. Cut a piece of felt, about 10cm x 5cm
2. Cut a cross shape from white felt and sew this in the middle of one half of the felt.

3. Fold the felt in half (with the cross to the inside) and sew up the sides. Turn the right way out.

4. Cut two lengths of leather thong.
5. Pierce the leather with a sharp object.

6. Attach the leather straps to the bag with small paper fasteners.

You can make another style of bag by sewing felt flowers and a bead on the front of the bag, and gluing the straps to the inside.

21 November 2014

Fun with Moomintroll!

I've been having a bit of fun with the Moomintroll toy I bought on my 40th birthday a few years ago - he's been wearing a few disguises!
The Snork Maiden!

Moominpappa!

Moominmamma!

Snufkin!

The Groke!

20 November 2014

Scandi-style Christmas ornaments

Here are some quick and easy Christmas tree ornaments, with a touch of Scandinavian style about them.

Although I'd picked up some Hama beads at a car boot sale last year, this was my first time using them!

1. Gather inspiration and your Hama beads!

2. I started by laying out some red beads in a star shape. 

3. I filled in the points of the star with white beads.

5. Iron the beads

6. A finished ornament! I made a number of different designs. I was surprised by how light and flexible the finished product was.

7. I added twine to hang them from. 

I think they look great on my Ikea tree! 

19 November 2014

Stamped paper strips picture

When I showed you my Scandinavian jumper card last week, I mentioned that I'd made another project with the stamp, and here it is! It's a really simple way to make a piece of art for your walls.

This print was based on a cute handbag I saw in a magazine. I liked the colours of it, and decided to use it as inspiration for this picture.
 1. I cut paper strips in various colours

2. I stamped these with different colours of ink.
3. I glued the strips to a white background.

18 November 2014

Porch makeover


Goodbye rotting wood, cracked single glazing, and ugly door (with unused catflap) that has been known to need pliers to lock! This is the reason I didn’t go on holiday this year – I was saving up for my new porch!

If you’re planning something like this yourself, it’s a good idea to ask your friends and family who live locally for recommendations of a company to carry out the work, and to read online reviews too. Also, talk to your neighbours to let them know what’s going to be happening. And I found it helpful to visit the company’s office to see glass samples, as I found it difficult to judge the scale of the design online or in a brochure.

One thing I would definitely recommend is getting white coloured finish on the inside. I hadn’t realised what a difference this would make, compared to the dark wood I had before.

Taking down the heavy curtains, getting plain glass in the windows (although I did get obscured glass in the door), and having a window in the door, all added to the light coming into this area. I just added a thin voile for privacy, but this is easily pulled back if I want to look out.

I painted the sides and back of the bookcase white, leaving the wood shelves as they were. This also helps to lighten things up. This is the bookcase where I keep some of my favourite vintage children’s books, and I think the white helps to show them off better.
This is now one of the brightest spots in my house, at all times of day (I keep coming downstairs and thinking I’ve left the door open, because of the amount of light coming in!), and I am finding it a new favourite spot for drinking a cup of coffee, eating breakfast, or reading. I’m thinking of replacing the chair and basket with a bench which would have storage baskets underneath – I’ve always hankered after a window-seat!

Being able to see out to the garden was something I’d looked forward to when planning this project, but I hadn’t realised what an amazing and emotional moment it would be when I did so for the first time. Seeing my garden from a new vantage point has in itself made all the expense worthwhile!

17 November 2014

Ikea pattern

I've managed to amass a good collection of Ikea catalogues over the past ten years! I can't bring myself to throw them out, as, even though many of the items are no longer available, I find the room settings give me lots of inspiration.

I started off this drawing by leafing through the catalogues drawing some of the items that I have in my home. I also drew some of them from the real items, and some from the instruction leaflets that I still have.

I've been wanting for a while to try making a seamless tiling pattern in Photoshop, so this was the perfect opportunity. I moved the elements closer together, then I used this tutorial, which showed how to use the offset filter. Once I'd done this, I moved some of the central elements to fill any blank space. It was quite an easy pattern for my first time doing this - it has a lot of white space which makes things quite simple!
It makes fun patterned paper!