Wednesday, 10 December 2014

THE LUCIATÅG: IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK




Image via Pinterest


St. Lucia is celebrated on December 13 and is a big deal here in Sweden.  Lucia essentially kick starts the Jul celebrations.  Last year I happened to be at IKEA when I first heard about the Luciatåg - or the Lucia Train.  People seemed pretty excited about it.  Excited is not a term one often finds themselves using to describe Swedes so I thought, "Wow, this is going to be fun!  My first Luciatåg, and at IKEA.  Jätteroligt!"  I had an image in my mind of people in a congaline singing Jul songs in the same spirit as Midsommar's Sma Grodorna or like the Ekdahl's Julafton in Bergman's Fanny and Alexander or even a toy train with godis.





But, I was more than a little deflated to see a group of carolers walk in dressed in white singing, well, carols.  "Oh, is this the Lucy train?"  That was the Lucy "train".  I'll tell you the reason why the Luciatåg is so dry in comparison to Midsommar and Julafton.  It usually happens in the afternoon so there is not any heavy drinking involved. Without the booze this Swedish tradition remains reserved, just like the Swedes themselves.

Click here if you want to get started practicing for the real fun.  Learn to sing Nu Är det Jul Igen, like the Ekdahls.

Friday, 5 December 2014

THE FIRST COLOURS OF A SWEDISH CHRISTMAS


Pine is not the first thing associated with a Swedish Jul.  Around the beginning of December Swedes fill their homes with newly sprouted bulbs of hyacinth in white, pink or "blue".  In about a week after you water them at home they begin to flower and the house is filled with the colours and scent of a spring garden.


Photo: Angeline Eriksson


At first, I thought the whole thing was strange but now I can't imagine Christmas without them.  Here's our kitchen with our hyacinth in full bloom.



Sunday, 30 November 2014

Posh DIY Christmas Tree


Stockholm is dark this time of year.  We get about seven hours of daylight now and by Christmas that number will fall just below six hours.  If that weren't enough, we also had one of the darkest Novembers in history.  As of three days ago Stockholm had had 3.5 hours of sunlight ALL MONTH!  We were blessed with a few more hours this weekend which I think may have even doubled that number bringing us to approximately 7 hours of sun for November.  Things were getting gloomy.  I decided to get the tree up early so we could add a little cheer and light to our dark Nordic lives.


 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, everything in Sweden is expensive and Christmas trees (Julgranar) are no exception.  Last year the cheapest one I saw was 450 kr, which is about $70 Canadian.  So, my middle guy and the dog went to the park and collected some sticks.  We tied them in the shape of a tree and hung it in the living room.  The decorations are Brian Gluckstein Home, that we brought with us from Toronto so the only thing we paid for this year was twine.  This DIY tree is bright, makes no mess, takes up no space, cost nothing and no tree has been chopped down.  I think we may have a new family tradition.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Oatmeal Sunflower Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was born out of a need to give my kids a healthy after school snack that was budget friendly and healthy but also something that they would actually eat.  Let's face it - for those of us who try to feed our kids ultra healthy real food, we often get the food returned uneaten and/or accompanied by some remark about how gross it was.  If they don't eat it, it doesn't count.  This cookie recipe has passed the test of the picky eater and the concerned parent alike.  While it does have sugar (you can play around with this with honey or maple syrup perhaps), it also has sunflower seeds, oats and dark chocolate.  All of which are extremely good for your little ones, yes even the chocolate.







3/4 cup     unsalted, unroasted sunflower seeds - crushed (I use a hand mixer)
3/4 cup     sugar
1 cup        butter
1 tsp         vanilla extract
1               large egg

2 cups      flour
3 tsp         baking powder
1/2 tsp      salt

1 cup        rolled oats
1 cup        dark chocolate crushed or finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl use a hand mixer to blend the butter, sunflower seeds, sugar, egg and vanilla.  I make the mixture as smooth as possible so that the sunflower seeds are barely detectable (you don't want them to be too aware of the nutrition).

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the first mixture.  You can continue to use the hand mixer for this step.

Once it is as well mixed as possible add the oats and chocolate pieces.  Use a wooden spoon for this step.

You can either grease the cookie sheet with butter or use parchment paper.  I highly recommend the latter.  It makes things much easier.

Use a tablespoon to shape them out onto the cookie sheet.  These cookies are heartier than their not-so-healthy chocolate chip cookie cousins and are therefore less gooey and do not spread out during the baking process.  Their consistency is between a traditional cookie and that of a scone.

Bake for around 10 minutes.  I look for a little bit of a darkening of colour all around and slightly darker around the edges.



 

Monday, 22 September 2014

DIY - IKEA Task Lamp Update

Copper and bronze have slowly been coming into the limelight over the past few years.  Earlier this year at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, during Stockholm Design Week, it was everywhere.  I decided to update a pair of old black IKEA Antifoni task lamps by spray painting them copper. 


IKEA Antifoni Task Lamp gets a Copper Update

The process is easy but a little smelly so better to do it outside if you can.

1.  Protect the areas you don't want painted (cord, bulb socket and switch) with masking tape.

2.  If you are super thorough and love prep work, then you can give the metal a light sanding with fine sand paper.

3.  Spray paint the lamp.

You can find acrylic spray paint at most hardware stores but the selection may be sparse.  I went to a little shop here in Stockholm (HL Store) that specializes in street gear, skateboards and graffiti and other more "urban" arts.  The spray paint colour selection was very impressive and the prices were better too.

4.  If you go with a copper or bronze look you'll need to seal it with a spray lacquer otherwise it will show fingerprints.  Wait for the original colour to dry for about an hour or 2.  Wait 2 hours between lacquer coats.

And, that's it.  

Friday, 5 September 2014

Vietnamese Pho Soup




Vietnamese Pho is one of my favorite foods.  In Toronto there were several really great Vietnamese restaurants with fantastic soup.  Stockholm is much less saturated with authentic Asian restaurants.  When I finally did find an authentic Vietnamese restaurant, the soup cost 150 kr.  The exchange on that is approximetely $23!  For soup!  If I ever wanted to be truly reunited with my pho, I would have to learn how to make it myself.  I've tried before and failed.  I've heard it said that a true pho broth should take 6 hours and I always imagine there being a gaggle of old Vietnamese grandmas in old Vietnamese grandma heaven looking down on me and having a good laugh.

Turns out that a decent pho can be very easy to make and quite fast too.  Here's the recipe I used via the Food Network with a few alterations according to the soup I used to get in Toronto.







1 packet flat rice noodle, prepare as directed, drain and put aside

12 ounces lean sirloin beef, fat trimmed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, halved
1 4-inch piece of ginger, halved (calls for unpeeled but I peeled mine, either is fine I'm sure)
3 cups low sodium beef broth
3 cups water (pho is a light broth so I actually added a little more water than this)
5 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce

4 scallions
fresh cilantro
fresh bean sprouts
fresh Thai basil
fresh lime


Prepare the rice noodles as the label directs.

Place a large pot over high heat. Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until slightly cooked but still rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate. Add the onion and ginger to the pot; cook about 4 minutes (I added a bit of canola oil to the pot at this point because the ingredients were sticking and the bottom of the pot was going to burn) . Add the broth, 3 cups water, the star anise and cinnamon, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions and tear the cilantro. Thinly slice the meat against the grain.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and boil 5 minutes. Discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Remove and slice the onion. 
Divide the noodles among 4 bowls; top with the broth, beef, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, Thai basil and onion with a side of lime wedge.*

You will also need some Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha sauce.  Each person uses these to their own taste.

*These fresh ingredients added at the end are essential for a good Pho.  Never leave them out and if you ever go to a Vietnamese restaurant in Toronto and you don't get a plate of these on the side, they assume you don't know any better.  Ask for it.



Sommarstängt and Welcome Back

Sommarstängt is a phenomenon in Sweden when shops or businesses shut down for a period of time during the summer.  Don't even dream of getting anything done during the month of July.  And then there are several weeks during August when people try to catch the last of summer before the dark sets in. 



With a move in mid-June and no daycare set up in the new location and all community services on vacation, I found myself in a state of Sommarstängt.  Now everything is back in order and hopefully we can get back to design in Stockholm.

Nu kör vi!











Friday, 20 June 2014

5 Essentials for a Perfect Swedish Midsommar

Swedish Midsommar is the celebration of the summer solstice which marks the longest day of the year.  Midsommar is by far the most popular holiday on the Swedish calender, falling on the weekend of the 22nd of June.  Midsommar was once believed to be a very magical time of year.  While many of the traditions are still practiced, Midsommar is a time to be with family, get out of the city if you can and to drink a lot of alcohol.

Krans

Krans is the flower head dress that Swedes wear at Midsommar.  The young maiden must choose 7 varieties of wild flowers and interlace them into a crown made of birch branches.  At the end of the night she is to put the flowers under her pillow and when she sleeps it is said she will dream of her future husband.


Midsommar Stång

The Midsommar stång is a large cross with a ring hanging from either arm.  Like the krans, the Midsommar stång is covered in summer flowers.  It will be the location of and jumping off point for the following essentials... 


Songs

Singing is a big part of Swedish culture, especially when drinking is involved.  There are several to choose from but Små Grodorna is good for the whole family.


Små Grodorna (the song that quacks about frogs)

Små Grodorna, små Grodorna
Är lustiga att se
Små Grodorna, små Grodorna
Är lustiga att se
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de
Koack, ack, ack. Koack, ack, ack.
Koack ack ack ack kaa.


Little frog, little frog
So funny to see
Little frog, little frog
So funny to see
No ears, no ears, no tail do they have.
No ears, no ears, no tail do they have.
Koack, ack, ack. Koack, ack, ack.
Koack ack ack ack kaa.



Dance

Now that you have the attire, the Midsommar stång and the songs in order, you'll need to know how to dance like a Swede at Midsommar.  Nothing complicated here.  A very popular dance is where the entire group holds hands in a circle around the stång, collectively circling to the left and then the right,  singing either the aforementioned små grodorna song or a simple diddy that recounts the days of the week and all the chores associated with a particular day - a good chunk of the week is devoted to laundry.

 

Snaps

 And here is the magic ingredient that gets it all going,  Swedes are reserved.  It's cultural.  They are programmed that way not only behaviorally but linguistically.  The language itself does not give way to over expression.  Snaps, or Aquavit as it is called here, is an herb flavored hard liquor that is taken in shots.  Snaps is the traditional beverage but really it can be snaps... or vodka or beer or wine or all of the above.  If you ask a Swede directly if they partake, most will deny it...with a sly smile.  Midsommar is when the Swedes let loose ... once the kids are in bed of course ... or thereabouts.


http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/ac/4c/37/ac4c371fc5966d00739fb1bf5aa74770.jpg
Traditional Midsommar Krans


 (I slipped some peonies in there.  Not exactly wild but you get the picture.)


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

5 Things You Need to Know About Swedish Easter


1.  Påsk

Swedes call Easter Påsk (posk) and when they speak English to you they call it Eastern.  For some reason Swedes can't grasp dropping the "n" sound.  It's one of their very few hiccups with the English language.

2. Eggs

Anyone from North America has this down pat.  The Swedes decorate eggs in just the same manner.  Easy, except for one difference, they hang them on branches around the house.  Which brings us to our next point.

3.  Feathers

Swedes don't stop at colourful decorated eggs for decoration at Easter, there are colourful feathers too.  Like the eggs, and often with the eggs, feathers are hung from branches in or around the house or from a tree outside. Because I'm fussy and I think it looks silly, this tradition, no matter how logical the connection between eggs and feathers may be, has been hard for me to fully embrace. 

4.  Witches

Sorry kids, there is no Easter Bunny.  Not in Sweden.  Here's where things get a little confusing.  No, there isn't an Easter bunny but there are witches.  Nice witches of course who look like wholesome country folk. They fly to their annual witch conference with a pot of coffee on their brooms.  Swedish kids reenact the flight of the traveling witches by dressing up (kerchief on head, apron, freckles, broom and empty coffee carafe) and then visit the neighbors.  And this brings us to the final necessity for Swedish Påsk...

5.  Godis (Goodies) and Greeting Cards

Swedes eat the most candy (godis) per capita.  If there is any way to get godis on any other day than Saturday -the designated godis day- the Swedes will do it.  Those empty carafes that the kids bring with them around the neighborhood at Påsk are to hold candy.  Like Halloween, there is an exchange, the witches prepare little greeting cards and the receiver gives godis in return.  It must be said that this particular aspect of Påsk is reserved for the more entrepreneurial kids - the go-getters.


Our youngest dressed as a witch at his Dagmama's* house



*Dagmama is the person (woman) who watches the children during the day at a private daycare.








Friday, 28 March 2014

Patience or Waiting for the Last Frost


The forest nearby slowly melts after a short return of winter
What draws a person to a given hobby?  Why does one feel compelled to do a certain activity?  Maybe there's something there for them that will help them along their journey, some important lesson to be learned.

I have never had any patience and that is something I have always just accepted about myself, that is until I became a mother.  I realized then that patience is imperative to help a child grow into a beautiful adult.  It wasn't about me anymore.  My garden has shown me too that if I don't sit back and wait for the right time the garden will not grow, no matter how rooted in enthusiasm my intentions my be.

After a few weeks of a prelude to spring, we got a blast of winter again. 

So,we wait.




Friday, 7 March 2014

Longer Days and Warmer Temperatures

Winter is not as brutal here in Sweden as it is in Canada.  Temperatures are milder, usually not going any lower than -10.  It gets dark, yes, but the moon is so bright, especially when there is snow on the ground.  I feel like spring arrives so much earlier here too.  It is early March and the forecast is hovering around 10 degrees.  My hometown, Toronto, has been struggling with one of the worst winters yet.  The days are noticeably longer now with almost 12 hours of daylight!  Believe me, this changes things for everyone.  It is hard to describe the feeling of watching the sun stay in the sky longer and longer knowing that there will be a time when it will barely set at all.  Sweden is getting ready for the beloved summer.  It's exciting.
Garden Outside the Dining Room

So the "sportlov" came and went and I spent as much of that time in the garden(s) as possible.  Mostly I cleared the overgrowth and raked the leaves.  By doing so I uncovered 2 stone walls and several forgotten - or abandoned - gardening tools.  There have been others before me it seems and this garden is determined to have things its own way.  Stubborn?  Bring it on.

That said, Design Stockholm will be heavy with gardening posts, which will be filed under the "På Landet" tab.  Gardening is something that I am compelled to do, not that I am particularly qualified or talented but I love getting my hands dirty.  I will also chronicle the various celebrations that lead to the height of the Swedish summer with an occasional look back to some of the events that marked last summer and the toils of my gardening challenges.

I invite you to join me on my adventures of struggling to tend the ancient soil of our little patch of the Swedish countryside.


A Mix of Wild and Cultivated Flowers - I have no plans to change this garden patch - I think it's perfect.



Wednesday, 19 February 2014

In the Garden Again

With two weeks of "sport holidays" ahead of us and a very mild winter hopefully almost behind us, I intend to be in the garden getting it ready for summer.  To call it a garden is perhaps a bit of an understatement.  The country house is on a large piece of land and there are many gardens to be tended.

Leading up to the old wash house that sits on the banks of the stream is a row of rocks and stones originally intended to secure grading.  Over the decades the rocks became overgrown and as a result were barely detectable.  While clearing some of the overgrowth we uncovered a great opportunity for a small garden above the stone "wall" and a sprinkling of smaller flowers to line the bottom.  To contrast the traditional red of the old wash house, which will soon be repainted and renovated, I think I will go with white poppies.  The poppy is a stunning flower.  Many of my neighbors in Toronto had them and I was always more than a little jealous.

{via}

And naturally I'll need a few of the purple variety for our purple garden at the front of the house. (click here to get caught up)


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Stockholm Directory - Bokslukaren - Mariatorget Sodermalm

My sisters-in-law introduced me to this lovely little kids' bookstore in Stockholm's Mariatorget in Sodermalm.  I wanted to add it to the Stockholm Directory because it is a nice place to be.  I know, you're thinking, "but Ange, what does this have to do with design?".  Nothing.  We'll call it a lifestyle post and leave it at that.  Bokslukaren is a small business that relies on the patronage of locals and a lot of word of mouth.  There is a little cafe in the back, which is a cozy place to look at books with the kids and grab your caffeine fix.  And if you're an expat like me with very limited Swedish, then (some of) the books here are close to your level.  Side Note:  I was getting confident that I could read Swedish as I've been able to translate a particular kid's book into English for my 4 year old (he hates hearing me pronounce Swedish words) but then I picked up a Bamse comic book and was put right back in my place...


Translation just in ... Bokslukaren means eating books or to enjoy reading lots of books.  What do we call that in English?  Bookworm?  Anyone got anything better?











Bokslukaren
Mariatorget 2
118 48 Stockholm 
Bokslukaren.com

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Round Up - Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2014



Top 5 Chair Designs


1. Deli by Skandiform

These are certainly not new to Scandinavian chair design but the Deli is just simply a great looking chair.  Deli works in meeting rooms for office spaces or on an ultra-Modern dining room.


2. Frame by Materia

Materia specializes in furniture for office spaces.  Frame is their latest design introduced at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2014.  Practical? meh... Fun?  Absolutely!

3. Chippensteel 0.5 by Zieta

Chippensteel is made of inflated steel.  The process involves "lots of pressure".  The result is a super sturdy chair that looks like a plastic pool toy.

4. Cowrie Chair by Made In Ratio

Simply a great looking chair that would be a showstopper anywhere you put it.

5. Lavitta by Poiat

Finnish design, this chair has only 2 components.  It is so Scandinavian in appearance with its smooth wood surface and ultra clean lines.  It can also be stacked horizontally, which looks fantastic.



http://www.thelocal.se/galleries/lifestyle/top-five-urban-furniture-designs-that-could-change-sweden-forever


I covered urban street furniture at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2014 for Sweden's English newspaper The Local.se

Click here for the intro and a direct link to the gallery here




http://www.thelocal.se/galleries/lifestyle/five-kids-designs-that-will-make-parents-happy-too-


Design for kids was an article that I also did for The Local.  Click here for the introduction and for the gallery here.

 THOUGHTS?


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Out of Office Programming Note - Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2014

Design Stockholm is spending this week at the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2014.  I will be back on Monday with a full round-up of the Best of the Best.  For some play-by-play fun you can check out the Design Stockholm Instagram or Twitter by clicking the icon on the right side.

Until then, have a great weekend!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Apartment Hunting - Sodermalm Classic Gustavian Dining Room

Let's move over to the dining room of our Södermalm apartment.  I am posting from my ipad today so please forgive any wonky formatting.

I  found a fantastic dining table at NK last month and I thought it would look great in our Sodermalm dining room.  The colours easily fit into the Gustavian look and as I mentioned last time (click here for that) it breaks up the sameness by being rustic and contemporary.  I love the high sheen lacquer of this table and I want to play that up as much as possible.  We are going to make the dining room very glamourous and exciting in just a couple of steps.


Piet Hein Eek Dining Table at NK Stockholm



For paint, I think we should go with Farrow and Ball's Calluna.  It won't compete with the blue in the table, instead it will compliment that very difficult shade of blue.  Remember that paint colour never translates well on-screen so go check out the paint in person at a local dealer.



Farrow and Ball - Calunna



Now, lets put a classic Gustavian crystal chandelier above the table.  We can go with one big chandelier or 2 smaller ones;  that's a completely personal decision.  This one is an original Swedish chandelier from Lundgrensantik.se but you can find a reproduction, perhaps not as stunning as this one but something close.



                                         
                                                                     Lundgrensantik.se


I like either of these dining chairs.  The classic rounded chair will give the least competition to the show-stopper table but the Swedish Demi is a really, really great chair.  As I said, both work, so again this one is up to you.


Vintage Round and Swedish Demi - Restoration Hardware



The next thing that we can do is to fill that room with mirrors.  The mirrors will act as reflectors for the light that sparkles from the chandelier.  I like this Hemnes in gray brown from IKEA.  The natural wood colour will bring out the rustic elements in the table and will look great against the blue-gray Calluna paint.  

                                           
                                                              Hemnes mirror - IKEA


The final step would be a rug.  That table gives you so much freedom as far as what colours will work well.  Swedes would likely go with a light coloured rug, which will give the room an airy feeling.  I think I would go with medium gray.  The darker colour will ground the room and add a nice contrast to the light colours in the table.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Apartment Hunting - Södermalm Classic Gustavian Living Room

My phone died and with it my internet connection so I am playing a bit of catch-up this week.  I thought it would be a good idea to go back to our Södermalm apartment to get that finished (click here to get caught up).  So lets move on to the living room.

I was going to do the walls a light green but I changed my mind.  Better to save the green for the dining room and go with a nice antique white in the living room.  Farrow and Ball has a great shade for this called Dimity.  I think the best choice for a finish is matte.  Practically, not the best because of washability but the look will be soft and classic.

I found some great antiques at a local antique dealer.  A console with straight Neoclassical lines and some matching stools to flank the console and serve as extra seating.  Above the console we are going to use these fun round mirrors / candle holders.  They break up all the straight lines and keep the room moving, so to speak.  I love the fussy fruit ornamentation too.  



Before we move over to the main seating area, let's talk about the show stopper.  That gem that is going to make this room sing.  I introduce to you the Mora clock.  Swedes know all about these beautiful clocks but in other parts of the world they seem only to have a bit of a cult following.  There is something so intrinsically Swedish about the Mora clock;  Quiet and stately, modest yet commands a room.  The green will make the transition from the kitchen stools and the ochre will tie together the golds and yellows in the living room elements. The round flowing lines of the Mora pick up where the mirrors left off and take us to the main seating area.




Antiques are lovely, but if you fill your room with a bunch of antiques, all from the same era, it comes off as not only impersonal and unimaginative, but boring.  You need to pepper it with other types and eras of furnishings.  With that in mind, I chose the Kensington sofa from Artwood (we'll paint the feet white).  It certainly doesn't hurt that this sofa will be comfortable to sit on and it serves the needs of everyday living.  The tufting picks up the round movement of the mirrors and the clock.  The design is classic enough to not take over but gives just enough resistance to the dainty antiques.  Now we are going to put some straight lines back in with these bold stripped Gustavian armchairs.  Again, we are making the room interesting and engaging.



So now the floor - rugs.  I love big, thick wool or silk rugs.  Like art, rugs should be seen as an investment - buy the best you can afford.  I have two options for you.  If you want to really give this room zip we can go with the bright, bold IKEA rug.  The pattern compliments both the curves and the lines in the room.  The colour says attitude.  The only catch with the IKEA rug is that we may need to fit two together to hold that seating area.  There are slightly differing opinions on this but aim for your rug to be big enough to comfortably fit all the seating area furniture without spilling over to the wood areas.  Option two is this stunning Persian, less of a yellow and more a gold, this is a perfect option if you want to play it safe and is big enough for the space.  It is, however, significantly more expensive than the IKEA version but will certainly last a lifetime


Remember that many of these antiques can be found in reproduction, yes even the Mora clock.  Now you know what you need to look for.












Friday, 17 January 2014

Fresh Design at Formex 2014 - Looking to Spring

I have always been a big lover of winter.  I'm Canadian, Toronto to be exact, and when it gets cold, it gets really cold!  I love snow, the more the better but around the end of January I'm pretty much over it and ready for spring.  Formex showed the Spring / Summer 2014 best of Nordic design this week so let's look forward to Spring.


Scratch what I said last year about my dream BBQ (click here for that), this is the new grill of my dreams!  Stunning design.  This is the type of BBQ a proper Texan could feel fantastic about (isn't that the gold standard? Texas = BBQ), design buffs and fancy Chefs too.


http://www.biggreenegg.eu/se



To get your groceries for the BBQ parties you'll be having you are going to need a couple of these chic plastic grocery bags.  These are an original Swedish design first produced in the 50s.  They went out of production when stores went from paper to plastic bags.  Now that we see the err of our ways and are taking care of the environment, these plastic bags are back and recyclable too.


hinza.se



To set the table, you can try these colourful napkins.  Designed for Duni by Swedish Designer Hanna Werning these will look lovely in your beautiful garden, or create a garden in your city digs.


www.duni.com



A lovely napkin is a waste if someone doesn't spill something.  Spilled Snaps is always an option of course but why not coffee too?  Here we have a perfect carafe for any occassion - Stelton from Denmark.


www.stelton.com



Et le pièce de résistance!  Whether you have a green thumb or not, you won't be hiding this garden hose in the snickarbod.  This is called Garden Glory and no kidding!  I got the stink-eye last year when I said we needed a new yellow hose.  Good thing we waited!


www.gardenglory.se



Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stockholm Directory - Indiska

In the spirit of yesterday's post about Indian colour inspiration here's a place to find all kinds of Indian inspired home decor.  Indiska is both a clothing and home decor shop.  They carry the nicest tea mugs as well as some really fun finds - coat hooks, boho curtains and lighting, even crazy chickens. Pop in every now and again to see what's new.



There are Indiska locations all over Sweden.  The website will list the ones closest to you.
www.indiska.com


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Radiant Orchid - Pantone Colour of the Year 2014

Before the holidays Pantone announced their colour of the year for 2014: Radiant Orchid.  To the rest of us this is mauve, or simpler still, purple.  This is a difficult colour to decorate with.  Not too may people like purple, much less use it to paint one of the rooms in their home.  It took a few weeks for me to come up with a way to introduce the colour in a way I could feel good about.  There certainly are very few Swedish examples.  When I think of bright colour I think of India.  India has a rich culture of embracing vibrant colour.  Here are some examples of how Indian fashion, décor and architecture have incorporated into their designs shades similar to this year's Radiant Orchid.  It seems to go nicely with almost every other colour, non?





The above images came from Pinterest, They are not my own.  If you know the origin of any of these images please let me know and I will credit it accordingly.  Thanks.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The First Real Snow

It finally snowed this weekend.  After last year's unbelievable amount of snow, I though I would be happy not to see it this year but snow makes the dark Swedish winter countryside luminesant; it's needed here.  In Canada I could usually feel and smell the coming of snow - I wonder if others have that sense of their mother country climate?  I don't have those instincts here, yet.  I do, however, love snow.  This is what our little pocket of the Swedish countryside looks in the beautiful white snow.

The Swedish Countryside in the Snow

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Stockholm Directory - Iris Hantverk


image via irishantverk.se

I'm not sure why cleaning has become synonymous with the new year but it has been a hot topic this past week.  Cleaning is not how I like to mark the special times throughout the year - I do it ALL. THE. TIME. anyway.  If you, however, are itching to clean in the deep dark corners of your home then I suggest you check out Iris Hantverk.  They are a small company specializing in cleaning brushes, handmade by visually impaired crafts people (you can read their story here).  Their product line is small but each piece is lovely and well crafted.  In addition to a carefully curated line of bathroom, kitchen and gardening products, Iris Hantverk carries some of the nicest cleaning soaps.  I've always been partial to natural smelling cleaners, derived mostly from natural sources.  Iris Hantverk's cleaners are delightful for the senses.  So, treat yourself to a cleaning event that smells more like being at the spa.  You deserve it.

www.irishantverk.se
(If you are not in Sweden, Iris Hantverk has distributors for their brushes all over the world.)

Iris Hantverk
Kungsgatan 55
111 22 Stockholm
 








Västerlånggatan 24
111 29 Stockholm



Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Welcome 2014

So the holidays have come and gone and we are all still recovering, I'm sure.  The first work week starts one day later here in Sweden (something to do with the twelfth day of Christmas on Monday).  We were also blessed with yet another derailment (click here to see the colourful side of the last one), which kept us in the countryside with three crazy adorable kids.  As a result, the schedule is a little out of whack this week.  Sorry. I did, however, find some great furniture for the Södermalm apartment so I would like to finalize that this week (catch-up here).  We'll get back on track next week (pun not intended but I'm keeping it) with a regular schedule.  We also have some exciting design events coming to Stockholm over the next month, so stay tuned for that!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Top 5 Posts of 2013

While we're all recovering from the holiday season, let's take a look back at five of the most popular posts from 2013.


 Savory Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup


With most of us thinking about a healthier lifestyle, this soup is delicious and full of vitamins.

http://www.designstockholm.net/2013/11/savory-tomato-and-red-pepper-soup.html




Japanese Paper Maché Lamp


A fun DIY that looks great and even the kiddies can do it.

http://www.designstockholm.net/2013/07/diy-japanese-paper-mache-lamp-shade.html





Custom Red Paint


How we got a gorgeous dynamic red paint from basic exterior applications.

http://www.designstockholm.net/2013/10/diy-custom-red-paint.html





 Beautiful Draperies from Inexpensive Tab Curtains


Here's an IKEA hack converting their inexpensive tab curtains into beautiful, lined drapes.

http://www.designstockholm.net/2013/03/diy-beautiful-draperies-from.html





Stockholm Design Week 2013 is where Design Stockholm began, so how appropriate to say a final goodbye to 2013 and kick-off 2014.

http://www.designstockholm.net/2013/02/stockholm-design-week-furniture-and.html