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Our Home - All Ready for Christmas!


Hej hej! I hope you had a lovely weekend! In our house, it's been a hive of activity - decorating, watching family films,  and even a little baking (yes, us - baking!). And of course, a healthy dose of the normal (albeit infuriating) - kids fighting, the tree nearly toppling over (gaaah!) and general Christmas chaos.... Even so, when you stop and look around once in a while, everything feels so cosy - and sometimes, especially now, you get the feeling that being safe and sound in our homes really is not a bad place to be, even if we all do desperately miss friends and family from afar. So, in celebration of the winter solstice today - and the home in general, I thought I'd share a few snapshots from our little place in Malmö, all decorated for Christmas! 

We love to use as natural decorations as possible - including paper flowers, dried oranges, alder cones and sprigs of pine, they add such a cosy touch and smell wonderful!


No Christmas in Sweden would be complete without the sweet smell of Pepparkaka. And they are so simple to make. I mean, even I manage occasionally - and we all know how bad I am at baking! There's a good recipe here

And my little elves love to decorate them too! 

And then we sprinkle them with fairy dust (icing sugar), just to make sure they're sweet enough (!!). 

We love our Snöblomma ('Snow Flower' lantern) in the kitchen window - it glows from morning to night and helps us to pretend the sun is shining outside. 


What are they plotting I wonder? I've been the subject to at least three pranks already this week already. FYI I receive the faux fur blanket (pic doesn't do the colour justice) that they're cosying under as a present from Apparis - along with two sparkly face masks (fab!) - it's the softest, most cosy blanket I've EVER touched, and I'm honestly not just saying that. Needless to say, I've barely had a look in since it arrived.  

And even Per got to relax a little - and in the top spot too! 

Roll on Christmas, the Brantmarks are ready for you (and those Zoom calls!). 

***

I hope you are having a cosy time at home too. 

With only a few days to go until the holidays I've planned a 'My Scandinavian Home Best of 2020' post for tomorrow. I always think it's so exciting to see which posts have resonated the most with everyone - and this year has an extra special mix - as you can imagine. Make sure you stop by to take a peek! 

Niki 

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Dreaming of a Cosy and Calm White Christmas In Johanna's Home

'Twas the last Friday before Christmas, and somewhere in Hamburg, Germany Johanna Wiemann's apartment is lit with the warm glow of candlelight. There may not be snow outside, but there sure is a lot of white inside - not to mention beautiful natural wood and soft, muted tones. Look closely and you'll also spot festive branches hung over the table, dripping with pretty ornaments, a simple sprig of pine displayed in a vase, star garlands and little houses lit with tea lights - and of course candles, lots of cosy candles! Ready for a tour of a dreamy, Scandinavian-inspired home at Christmas time? 

How lovely - the calmness, the warm glow that emits from every room, the magical display over the dining table - simply everything! 

Could you imagine spending the weekend here? 

See more pictures of Johanna's beautiful home over at @scandinavian.interior.

Feel like looking at other homes to give you that 'Jul' spirit? here are a few of my favourites: 


And if you feel like crafting this weekend - don't miss this decoration made from loo roll which I shared earlier this week! Could there be a more apt decoration for 2020? 

Wishing you a wonderful couple of days!

Niki

Photography: Johanna Wiemann, shared with kind permission. 

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11 Swedish Christmas Decorating Essentials (From Mari's Festive Home)

We're nearing the winter solstice, and I have to say, it's very dark here in Sweden right now. In fact, in the far North, the sun set a few days ago and will not reappear again for 24 days. Can you imagine? This is why the Scandinavians love to brighten up the darkness with levande ljus (candlelight) and delight the senses with the sweet smell off pepparkaka (gingerbread). Nature also plays a starring role - with moss, pine and fir, which is readily available in the forest - being a firm favourite.  In Mari Magnusson's home in Enköping, North West of Stockholm, candles light up her tables and sideboards and pine tree branches have been transformed into garlands, wreaths and simple yet pretty table displays. Welcome to Mari's mysigt (cosy) Christmas wonderland - and discover 11 swedish Jul essentials! 

1. Pepparkakshus: No Christmas in Sweden would be complete without a gingerbread house. Some buy kits, others go for their own handmade creation. Either way, they look pretty, smell divine, are fun to make and will likely leave you with burnt fingers (from the hot melted sugar 'glue'). You've been warned! Recipe available here

2. Pepparkaka hearts: all across the country children and adults alike will be rolling out gingerbread dough and cutting it into hearts (and other shapes). The sweet-smelling biscuits will then be hung from the tree, in the window, or arranged into a garland (or best of all, eaten!). 


3. Amaryllis: No Swedish home would be complete at an amaryllis - usually red but you also see white, and even a peach variety. 

4. Hyacinths: Whether planted in soil or wrapped in moss, these sweet smelling flowers are Jul staples! 

5. The pine (or fir) tree sapling: When you have little Christmas tree saplings going in your garden, it's just to go out and pick one and place it in water - and they look as pretty as can be. Plus, they can be re-planted once Christmas is over! Slightly tricker if you don't.  But little potted trees can look equally pretty and are more widely available. 

6. Sprigs of pine and alder cones: who needs expensive bouquets when a little sprig from a pine tree and alder tree cones can look equally pretty? Don't live next to a forest? Cut a few sprigs off the back of your Christmas - no one will ever notice! 

7. The wreath: Hung on the door, hanging from the ceiling, on the wall, in the window... there is no end to the different ways a Swede uses a wreath at Christmas! 

8. Candles: all hail the levande ljus. An essential element to any Scandinavian home in any shape or form - and the perfect way to brighten up the darkness!*

9. The Christmas flower and star: On the first Sunday of advent, pretty Christmas star lanterns appear in the window. Inside, paper flowers have become popular - and they're super simple to make

10. Adventsljusstakar: Not featured here (although, I'm sure Mari has one somewhere in the house!), these electric V-shaped candelabra have been placed in the windows of homes, schools and offices for centuries - and light up the windows throughout cities, towns and hamlets. 

11. The Christmas tree! No home would be complete without a Julgran - in whichever shape or size. Traditionally Swedes used real candles on a tree - and very occasionally still do**. But it's way more popular, practical and safe to use electric lights these days! 

So simply and so pretty! I love the essential Swedish Christmas decorations. 

Do you have any of these in your home?

I'd love to hear about the essential Christmas ingredients in your country too. 

See more pictures from Mari's home over on her lovely interior instagram feed @anangelinmyhome and baking feed: @anangelatmytable

Wishing you a cosy day!

Niki

Photography: Mari Magnusson 

*Important note with regards to candles: always place candles well away from anything flammable. Never leave a lit candle unattended (always blow them out before leaving a room). 

**Important note with regards to real Christmas tree candles: please be aware that using real candles on a tree requires a huge amount of vigilance. Only ever use real candles on a fresh tree (i.e. bring it in the day before Christmas). Place the candles well away from other branches. Never ever leave candles unattended, and always have sand or another type of fire extinguisher nearby. In all honesty, real candles look pretty but I would advise sticking to electric candles!  

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This Year's DIY Christmas Decoration (Made From Toilet Paper Rolls!)

If ever there was a DIY Christmas decoration of the year, this would be it! All you need is a toilet roll - and we all have A LOT of those! 

Read on to find out how to put your toilet paper rolls to good use and make the prettiest of Christmas decorations-

How to create a Christmas flower from toilet paper roll: 

What you need:
- 3 toilet rolls
- Ruler
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Glue gun
- String

What to do: 
1. Flatten one of the toilet rolls so that there is a fold on each side
2. Use the ruler and pencil to draw horizontal lines 1 centimetre apart.
3. Follow the lines to cut 1-centimetre strips (creating a series of loops)
3. Arrange the loops into a flower shape to form the centre of the flower and glue the tips together 
4. Flatten another toilet roll and repeat step 2. And then cut the strips in half horizontally and use the glue to create smaller loops. Attach these to the flower using glue
5. Flatten a third toilet roll and repeat step 2. Cut the loop open to create an arch and then attach these to the flower with glue. 
6. Add string to hang your decoration


There is no end to the creations you can make with toilet rolls - I also love the angels above, and have also seen stars and snowflakes, as well as a load of other shapes! 

Got quite a toilet paper roll hoard at home? Here are a few tutorials to get you started: 


And one for the kids: 


Will you be making one of these this Christmas? 

Niki

Photography: Thank you so much to Frida Ramstedt of Trendenser for allowing me to share these lovely pictures. Frida is the author of The Interior Design Handbook - in which she divulges the secrets of successful Scandinavian interior design. 

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A White Swedish Apartment in Stockholm In Winter Time

Not many cities are as beautiful as Stockholm in winter. And there to enjoy it is Marta Vargas, her fiancé Graeme and their English springer spaniel Summer. Located in Midsommarkransen (I love this name - it means 'Midsummer wreath'), the family of three (soon to be four!), live in a little apartment overlooking "a tiny forest, with deer, beautiful sunsets and many types of birds." Originally from Barcelona, Marta is a graphic designer, photographer and art director and combines her position in the design team at Spotify with other freelance endeavours. The one bedroom flat offers a pared-back yet warm and inviting base from which to explore the city and its surroundings. Here are some snapshots from Marta's wonderful snowy world in the Swedish capital! 




Marta and Graeme used their time during the pandemic to renovate their kitchen - investing in cabinets from Skandinaviska Shakerkök.  

Source a similar wooden clothes dryer* from River Bend Roes. 

A 'snöblomma' advent star* lights up the window, and you can catch a glimpse of the small forest beyond. 

A small space between the open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting room area provides the perfect spot for a Christmas tree, simply decorated in tones of off-white, gold and brown.



A cot from Baby Bay has been set up beside a Jotex headboard for the imminent arrival. 


How lovely! 

It makes me want to relocate to Stockholm, how about you? 

FYI the last picture is actually in Undersåker, 7 hours North of Stockholm. It was taken during a stay at a cottage overlooking a frozen lake for Marta's 30th birthday. Imagine! 

Feel inspired by more photos over at @imartavargas and www.martavargas.com today. 

And here are a few other lovely Stockholm homes: 


On another note, I mentioned that things have sort of piled up my end. I hope you don't mind that I skip tomorrow's post in order to catch up (and breath again!). I figured that Marta's lovely home and the landscape surrounding it offers enough dreamy Scandinavian inspiration to carry us through to Monday, what do you think?

If you're doing some final touches to your Christmas decorating (or just getting started), take a peek at the My Scandinavian Home Christmas archive - there are thousand of Scandi 'Jul' ideas in there! 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! 

Niki

Photography: Marta Vargas, shared with kind permission.  
*This post contains affiliate links

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Dreaming of a White Christmas In A Munich Home

Good morning friends. How was your weekend? I have to say I'm feeling a little dusty after a big birthday weekend which involved cross country skiing (yes, I even managed to find a little snow in Skåne!), a barbecue (who knew we'd still be grilling at this time of year?), and even chopping down our Christmas tree (pics to follow). And it's in the spirit of the latter that I thought we could kick off the week. I featured Angela Giovanna's Munich home back in the summer and was curious to see how it looks with some beautiful festive touches. After all, who doesn't love a white Christmas? As you can imagine Angela, husband Tommi, baby boy Raffael and their little dog Juno's home is as cosy and pretty as can be! 

I love a hanging candle wreath (I'm sure they have a better name, but as mentioned my mind is only half functioning this morning!). The Duo candles are from Ferm Living and the wall has been painted with Icelandic Kalklitir, giving it a beautiful patina. 


I have to say candles are having a real moment this year - have you noticed this too? This one in the window is from Berlin based Førm Projekt

Watt & Veke sell similar Christmas stars - or if you fancy a little crafting, you can also find some DIY inspiration and know-how here



I only stumbled across the Diptique candle Christmas carousel recently - what a brilliant idea? They're selling out like hot cakes too. I wonder if you can put them over other fragrance candles too? 



Lovely white Lynby Porcelain vases are ideal for Christmas foliage!

These little houses are from räder design stories - they look so pretty all lip up with a tea light, don't you think?

The paper decorations are from H&M Home. 


I'd quite happily curl up on the sofa for the week, how about you?

You can see more Christmassy pics of Angela's home here - and her fresh white apartment in summertime here.  

In the meantime, here are a few other cosy homes for you to enjoy this bright and sunny Monday: 


I can't wait to take a few snaps of my own home, it's starting to feel so cosy with the tree up! Is your home feeling cosy too?

Wishing you a great start to the week! 

Niki

Photography: Angela Giovanna / @tasselsandfringes

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