Two candy canes form a heart. An old metal grater acts as the base for a simple decoration that can be either hung from a hook or left leaning against the wall.
I like the idea that christmas decorations are not completely separate from their surroundings, that somehow they thematically link to the room they're put in. Hence the grater greets breakfast munchers and dinner guests alike in our kitchen during the holiday season. An old rolling pin would also be a good starting point for a kitchen decorations. A selection of cookie cutters (old and new) is a nice alternative, or a bunch of fragrant cinnamon sticks tied together with twine.
Although Christmas comes just once a year, I think christmas sleepwear is a lovely and a bit silly tradition. Christmas sleepwear meaning pj's and nightgowns that echo the colors and sentiments of christmas.
But then again after all the preparations and excitement it's soothing and joyous to switch into a red-and-white pj before slipping between the covers. And if the following day is spent lingering around in pj's or other leisurewear, one certainly matches the decorations, don't you think?!
I have a little wooden shelf in our living room and it's appropriate for displaying seasonal items.
I used a basic white display frame and glued unbleached linen on a cardboard to make the background. The white letters are made from children's modeling clay (the air-drying variety).
A pair of old decorations catch the eye on the bottom. The wooden dolls are tiny and charmingly chipped.
Oh, and many have asked why I've used the words "God Jul" (Swedish) and not the Finnish equivalent "Hyvää joulua". The reason is purely esthetic! The short words line up nicely and are visually pleasing. Since I love words, there are some scattered around the house. My christmas vocabulary includes English and French, as well. I'll show you more of these, don't worry.
I quick and easy way to make your own ribbon.
Plain white cotton tape, red ink pad (I use VersaCraft which is suitable for fabric) and an appropriate rubber stamp. And there you go!
Oh, I realize my posts are getting shorter and shorter. But it's just because my ideas are so simple and easy. No need to elaborate.
For me Christmas brings the color red into our home. The combination of cranberry red with white is festive, yet nicely fresh. I tried to reproduce the idea of a candy cane and made this rope, garland or whatever you call it. It could be hung on the tree, in front of a window or around a glass jar. (If it feels like I use the same glass jar over and over again in my blog posts, you're onto me! It's all about multi-functional!)
Here's a close up to give you the idea how I made this. Red felting wool lightly needle felted around a felted rope.
A cheesecake with a christmas twist. The crust from crushed gingerbread cookies, the cream cheese flavored with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. A layer of gingerbread cookies in the middle adds texture and taste.
The recipe comes from a Swedish book, "Vinterns söta", a celebration of sweet treats by the Eisenman sisters. Recipes in this book suit me well, simple and no-fuss, but with delightful results. Lisa Eisenman Frisk and Monica Eisenman have written several cooking and baking books, all divinely beautiful.
While doing a booksigning at Hobboks yesterday I leafed through several interesting and inspiring books. One was about twig crafts; Tarja Heikkilä's Risuja ja rautalankaa. The book has lots of marvelous and modern ideas, one was creating words from twigs.
The result. Joulu, meaning Christmas in Finnish. Pretty neat, for a first time twigger. Or what do you call a person who creates stuff from twigs?
Christmas is a collection of scents and tastes. Three favorite spices begin with the letter C: cinnamon, cardamom and clove. I use all of these (one at a time though!) to spice up my morning coffee, they add warmth to the cold November days.
The first gingerbread cookies have been baked. The mushroom shaped cookie is this year's addition to my collection of cookie cutters. These cookies would look pretty iced with christmas red icing and some white dots...
Today I want to show you a simple, quick to make decorative piece that looks good in the foyer, greeting comers ang goers. It has a bit of that french countryside appeal, I think. I used about 20 little plastic apples and glued them on a bed of sea grass stuffed into a rustic tin container. I like to keep it as simple as that, but you could add ribbon or other trimmings.
Fake apples and other decorations can usually be found in the after christmas sales for a very affordable price.
Oh, the nights can be dark and the days dreary. A little flicker of candle light strengthens the spirit, I think.
If venturing on a picnic, even if not farther than one's own backyard, why not bring a candle along? A cup of hot chocolate or coffee from the thermos becomes a wee bit more festive in candle light.
A sturdy jam jar with a metal lid is a handy container for a picnic candle.
Don't forget the matches, though.
Christmas brings the bright red color into our home. Splashes of christmas appear in almost every room adding appropriate zest to the otherwise white/light blue palette.
Even our plain white refridgerator doors gets decorated as well. Fabric scraps are easily sewn into plump hearts. Little magnets glued to the backside keep these on the swinging fridge door (I could write an ode to the hot glue gun!).
Oh, the light must be on! Warm candle light is dearly needed during gloomy October evenings. I have candles in every possible corner of the house, in old and new glass jars mostly. (Those are the safest options with two kids running around.) I light one the first thing in the morning, even for the short time it takes for us to have a quick breakfast before heading off the work, school and daycare. When we get back home, I light one outside the front door even if no one is coming for a visit and another one out back behind our living room windows. My kids know now how to sigh approvingly "oh they create such a wonderful atmosphere!".
My little white houses (bought last year from Country by mail) cast interesting shadows and get the mind geared towards little creatures, like elves, and to christmas, as well.
Our family has a tradition of sending out handmade christmas cards each year. We sit down, have a few mugs of glögi (spiced red wine), listen to christmas music and just cut and glue away. Often this happens on the night before the last date of getting them spent out on time but we just crank up the factory and get them out.
We've done this as long as we've been together with my husband - except for last year when due to the exhaustion of working on my christmas book we skipped handmade christmas cards altogether. And didn't even feel bad about it! (My husband probably did as he gathered up some ready-made cards and sent them to the most important people.). See, I believe nothing about christmas should be an obligation. If you don't feel like sending cards, by all means don't send any.
But I really like christmas mail. I love getting cards and I enjoy sending them. This year I started early. Usually we send out just one type of card, so I did a test run on few of the ideas I had. We've probably always used white as a background, it gives a simple look. As you can see, I've fallen in love with paper punches.
The four little gingerbread cookies on a silver cookie sheet represent the four members of our family.
I like to do stuff like this. When Anna was born, we sent out cards with two large elf's hats and one small - to symbolize the birth of a new member to our family. When Matti was born, we had four silver stars on the card. I don't know if any of the receivers ever noticed these things I perceive as clever though.
Running up that hill to the bright new year? So if we did this card as our family card, I'd put four cars instead of these five.
And maybe there's snow outside? The same way I'd hang four pairs of mittens on the line. Call me silly but I'd just have to do so. I couldn't leave anybody out.
I'll let you in on a little secret. I have a christmas tree already!
OK, it's rather small. And simple.
Just the top part, in an old glass jar. I picked this tiny tree top up on an afternoon walk in the nearby forest. I saw its head peeking out from a pile of cut-down trees (there's been some legitimate forest maintenance done, don't worry). It is not overwhelmingly christmas-y, I think. Just a little tree indoors. I added the red ribbon for these photos to add contrast but decided to remove for a while.
I love the dark green glossiness of lingonberry leaves.
I like my wreaths to be a bit on the skimpy side. To make a simple wreath all that's needed is a bagful of lingonberry and some florist's wire. And some wire cutters, don't kill your scissors by cutting on wire. (I'm obsessed with my scissors for every purpose, I know...).
Lingonberry can easily turn an ugly brown in warmth, so I have mine hanging on the front door.
Not every christmas is white, even here in Finland, so paper snowflakes are almost a necessity. I like to paste them on windows and watch the pale winter light cast shadows through them.
Cutting paper snowflakes is one of those magical things that whisks us back to childhood with the snip of scissors. The uniqueness of every snowflake, paper or real, reminds me of the uniqueness of every human. All beautiful, all unique.
Now, virtual snowflakes, just bits on the screen. Oh, I was a bit sceptical. But soon found out it's actually quite addictive! A neat tool, too, if you want to practise cutting patterns. And no clean-up afterwards.
Go and play at Make-A-Flake.
I have a thing about christmas. I love it. I have a thing about blogs. I love them. Hence this christmas blog. Here we go, come along with me.
An old souvenir, a pair of tiny wooden clogs, that I painted lingonberry red. Suitable size for an invisible little christmas elf, maybe? A little hint of a christmas to come.