Friday, 29 March 2013

Wallpaper Origami Crane Mobile

Let's not beat around the bush, babies are expensive little things. The baby-wear market is huge and growing, everyone wants to cash in. I have a problem spending money on things that I'll only have for a short time and I don't like exposing my children to the marketing of the corporate entertainment giants. This DIY project allows you to make a beautiful mobile with minimal cost and resources. When you're done with it you can simply recycle the paper and send the sticks back to the backyard (or park, or wherever you got them).

What you'll need:

A drill
5 squares of wallpaper scraps or Japanese paper (colour of your choice)
Needle and thread
2 meters ribbon (width and colour up to you)
2 sticks (minimum width 1 cm)
2 eyelet hooks and 1 nut
Carpenter's glue (for good measure)

Step 1 - Collect Your Sticks

As mentioned above the sticks should be wide enough that you can drill a small hole through the centre and either end. One stick should be longer than the other so that your hanging cranes don't get tangled. Clear the sticks of bark, the drier the stick the easier it will be to remove the bark.

Step 2 - Drill Holes

The hole has to be big enough for the hook to clear. The size of the hook will be indicated on the package and you use that same measurement for the drill bit. The holes on either end can be smaller as you will be threading a needle through those. Feed the hook through the centre holes of the sticks making sure that the longer stick is on top.

Step 3 - Fold Origami Cranes

Unless you've been lucky enough to get one-on-one training with origami, the instructions can seem very complicated  Click here for a pretty comprehensive tutorial.

Step 4 - Attach Cranes

Now you can attach the cranes to the outer edges of the sticks by threading through holes. Wrap around many times to make it extra secure and safe for baby.  They should dangle but always keep in mind the total height of mobile. You want it to hang over crib but never be low enough that baby can reach it once they are able to stand. The fifth crane will be threaded through the nut, which will then be attached to the bottom of the hook, thereby securing the sticks. You can further strengthen everything by dabbing some carpenter's glue (or white craft glue) to the bolt and the edges where the thread meets the sticks.

Step 5 - Attach Ribbon

Attach the ribbon to both hooks. Triple check your height and adjust ribbon length accordingly. Once you have decided the length, you can further secure the knots at either end by sewing them. I wrapped the screws with ribbon to soften the look, this is optional.

Now screw top hook to ceiling.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hötorget - Hötorgshallen Update

 A great way to make your home look and feel fresh is to add fresh flowers.  There are flower stores and kiosks scattered all over Stockholm but I feel like this is the type of thing you want to buy in an open market.  In my opinion, having access to an open air market gives your basic life quality a boost.  The selection is better and the vendors' need to reel you in usually makes them quite animated or super cranky which is also good for a laugh.  Stockholm's open air market, Hötorget* is located just off of Drottninggatan (the pedestrian shopping street) in the courtyard outside the Konserthus, which is painted the prettiest shade of blue.  The majority of what you will find at the market is fruit, vegetables, flowers and luggage (of course?).  And to add to its charm it is a flea market on Sundays!

Hötorget Flower and Fruit and Vegetable Market - Stockholm Directory


(Update - October 23, 2013)

My home town of Toronto is a multicultural hot spot.  There are "Little insert country"s throughout the city.  ChinaTown, GreekTown, Little India, Little Jamaica, Little Italy, you name it.  Each with its own culturally specific grocery shops.  Grocery shopping can be a lot of fun in Toronto.  But here in Stockholm, I had only ever seen the big name grocery stores with their very limited selection and often not the highest quality ingredients.  I was recently given a little tip from a native of Greece when we were discussing the best place to get olives - Hötorgshallen.  Located in the basement of the movie theatre flanking one side of the outside market, Hötorgshallen is a little market with a great variety of venders selling all sorts of fresh meat, cheese and produce.  Check it out when you are picking up your flowers and produce outside.

 Hötorget* - Hay Market.
 I can only assume that this goes back many centuries to when people would have come to the central part of the city to trade.

Hötorget - Norrmalm

Friday, 22 March 2013


Grandpa - Kungsholmen, Stockholm

 Grandpa is a mix of interior design, antiques, books, fashion and jewellery.  The selection, although sparse in each category, is very well curated.  The shop is decorated with wood and warm, calm colours, and has a cozy feel.  In fact if you want to stick around for a while, there's a café too.  At Grandpa they have successfully bridged the gap between pretentious and, well for lack of a better word, unpretentious.

A quick glance at the things that can be found at Grandpa...

 Team Grandpa Beanie - 400kr ($63..ahem)

And we Canucks call this a toque.

Industrial Chair - 1800kr ($284)

Now that is a great price for such a fantastic piece ... I think we can all agree on that.

Tumbler Glass - 60kr ($9.50)

May seem a little steep for the frugal shopper but I do know of a great cafe in Stora Essingen where they use these for lattes which means these pretty little glasses are tough and up for the challenge.


Fridhemsgatan 43
112 46 Stockholm

Thursday, 21 March 2013


In advance of this week's DIY, I am posting our inaugural "Stockholm Directory".  Where to go for design, furniture, lighting, crafts or anything inspiring in the central Stockholm area.

But first a little background:

When I first came to Sweden, and even before, I looked over the internet to find resources for myself and for an upcoming renovation.  I couldn't find anything.  But how could this be?  How can the "Capital of Scandinavia", the land of design, only have one interior design store?  You know the one I mean. Well here's the thing about Sweden, pretty much everyone speaks perfect English, but they don't speak English.  If you can't Google in Swedish, you won't find anything.  And then there's the tricky situation with finding a perfect translation.  It can be a very daunting task.

I hope to make things easier for you by charting the places I find.



Where to go in Stockholm -Kreatima - Norrmalm
I originally walked into this store thinking I had finally found an art supply store.  I had been looking for one for some time and a lovely Artist that I had met did refer me to one but I forgot the name and then that language issue came up when I tried to Google it and I was back to square one.  When I stumbled across Kreatima on Kungsgatan near Central Station, I was thrilled to know that I had found a place where I could find the basics; pens, pencils, canvas, paints... but Kreatima has everything.  Everything for small projects, DIY, fine arts and beyond.  They even have mosaic tile, decorative glass film, wall paint and wallpaper by the meter.  You can even get smaller squares of wallpaper that were left over on the roll for 9kr (less than $1.50).  Definitely worth checking out.

Kungsgatan 58
111 22 Stockholm 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Beautiful Draperies from Inexpensive Tab Curtains

Beautiful, high quality draperies really can make a room.  But they can cost a fortune.  Even fabric in bulk can be too expensive for the average person.  I'll show you how to get great fully lined and pleated drapes for a fraction of the cost.

This project highlights tab curtains.  Here's my problem with tab curtains, no matter how much arranging you do, they always look messy and cheap. And this gives me anxiety, really!  I fear ever opening or closing them so as not to disrupt the delicate balance achieved through arranging and rearranging, often by balancing on a chair.  This is not a good relationship to have with your window treatments.

In the end you really need to invest the time in taking your curtains to the next level.

You will need:

Ikea Lenda curtains - 199kr about $30.  You can use whatever tab curtains you like but I like the linen look of the Lenda)

Ikea Knoppa single bed sheets (as a liner) - 19kr, about $3 (each panel requires one of these, so 2 per package of Lenda)

A sewing machine - if you are a serial decorator like me or simply prefer custom, this is one of the best investments you will make.  It will pay for itself in no time.

An iron

Fabric Tape

Step 1.  Measure the length needed from the rod to the floor

A couple of rules about drapery:

A. Drapes look best if they hang as close as possible to the ceiling.  This adds height to the room and makes the drapes that much grander.

B.  Draperies should, at the very least, hit the floor.  Better still if they rest on the floor by an inch (3 cm) or so.  Drapes should never be higher than the floor, not even slightly.  Think about when someone's pants are too short.  Not a good look.  So ere on the side of caution here - more is more.  Always remember that there needs to be a couple of extra inches for the hems.

You may not have to do any cuts if you have an average height ceiling and make allowances for a thick hem at the floor (take a quick look at step 5).

Step 2.  Sew Down Tab

The tab will be folded down and attached to the inside of the curtain along the existing seam.  Make sure there is enough room in the loop to easily clear the rod and make for smooth opening and closing.  The stitch you use is up to you.  For me it's like the difference between Times New Roman and Stylus BT.  Choose the stitch you like the best.  What you do with the remainder of the tab is also up to you.  I left it in place as I think it adds to the fullness and it won't be seen.  If you chose a thinner curtain then you should remove the remainder of the tab.

DIY Draperies - Fold and sew down tab

Step 3 Sew Edges of Curtain and Sheet Together

You will need to hem the sheet as it is wider than the panel.  I kept the liner wider than the curtain panel to create fullness ( I will explain how to make it fit in the next step), again that is up to you.  Once you have decided the width of the liner, you can fasten it by ironing it flat with some fabric tape.  This will save you a step of sewing.  Now sew the liner to the panel coming in about an inch (3 cm) on either end.

DIY Draperies - Attach liner to curtain


Step 4.  Sew Liner to the Top

Now you will sew the top of the liner to just below where you sewed down the tab.  If you made the liner the exact width needed then you can just go ahead and sew it on.  If you went the wider, fuller route, you will need to plan where small pleats will go along the seam (affix with strait pins) so that you don't get a big bulk of liner fabric at either end.

DIY Draperies - Attach liner to panel just below tab loop



Step 5.  Make Bottom Hem

Double check your length by hanging the drapes in place to see exactly where the bottom hem will go.  First make a small fold (an inch or so) and secure by ironing with fabric tape.  Now fold where drape will rest on floor.  You likely won't have to make any cuts as the higher the hem the nicer the drapes will look.  In fact, many designers will tell you to make the bottom hem the same height as your baseboards. 

Et, Voila!  or as they say in Sweden "Slut!"*  The spaces between the tabs will create a type of faux pleat.  Now you are ready to hang your draperies.

* Glossary 
 Slut (pronounced sloot) - this means the end or finished or last.  Perhaps we can take a whole post simply looking at how Swedish is the anti-English

Friday, 8 March 2013

Stockholm Design Week 2013 - A Quick Note on Lighting

I wanted to share a quick note about some of the lighting that stood out for me at the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair 2013 before we wrap up my thoughts on Stockholm Design Week 2013 with the Knitting House.

Pineapple Lamp 

by Frank Kerdil

Pineapple by Frank Kerdil

Frank Kerdil's Pineapple lamp was clearly inspired by the iconic PH Lampe and Artichoke lamp by Danish designer Poal Henningsen circa 1925.  All designers pull inspiration from somewhere, often their heros, but the similarities here are a little too close for me.  Marcel Duchamp might argue that because of a slight variation (each segment is pointier than those found on Henningsen's Artichoke), the design is basically up for grabs.  Sure, maybe.  I will give Kerdil credit for his variation of making the segments into different images, which he calls the Magazine.  It certainly follows the patchwork trend so popular this year and is a playful nod to the original Henningsen design.

PH Lampe by Poal Henningsen
Magazine by Frank Kerdil
Artichoke by Poal Henningsen


by Gomez Paz, Francisco Rizzatto, Paolo

Hope by Gomez Paz, Francisco Rizzatto, Paolo

The Hope pendant is stunning to see in person.  It really is a show stopper.  My first thought was that it reminds me of a hydrangea, yet looks so futuristic.  Hope is made of specially engineered plastic, which you can read about here.  It is a lovely blend of organic shape and ultra sleek design.  This lamp would look great in either a contemporary chic aesthetic or in a cozy country setting.

Kumulus Ljuskrona*

by Peter Nilsson

Kumulus Ljuskrona by Peter Nilsson

Mid-century glass candy dish
Nilsson's Kumulus does not conform to the typical Scandinavian minimalist look and I can't help but think that his fellow Swedes might have him committed for this piece.  Almost a Beethoven of the lighting world, really.  But I love it.  It reminds me of the mid-century glass candy dishes my Grandmother had throughout her house when I was a kid.  On special occasions there were candies there but most of the time there were odds and ends (buttons, paper clips, etc.) and it was a kick to check in at each visit to see what new treasure might be stashed there.  You can read Nilsson's own thoughts on his design here.
*Glossary - Ljuskrona

In the Swedish language, when they needed to create a word, often rather than choose a whole new word, they just took two other words and squished them together.  Ljuskrona directly translated means "light crown" but that is how the Swedes refer to a chandelier.