Monday, November 23, 2015

YuleFest 2015

I was a vendor again at YuleFest at the Nordic Heritage Center in Seattle, and it was wonderful, but so busy that I didn't take a single picture!

It was a great weekend filled with every Nordic holiday thing imaginable, and such a fun way to kick off the holiday season.  Somehow the Christmas season sneaks up and surprises me every single year--even though I have been preparing for it for months. Regardless, it is such a fun time of year, and YuleFest is a great way to start it off, celebrate Scandinavian heritage, and connect with old and new friends.

If you stopped by the booth and said 'hi' or made a purchase--I thank you, and loved meeting you!  I appreciate your support so much, and I know the museum does as well, as a portion of our profits go toward their programs, and furthering Scandinavian culture in the Pacific Northwest.

A few new items that I previewed this weekend: our Friends and Family platter, which has a modern shape and is great for gift giving, and our God Jul (Merry Christmas) small dish, which is perfect for soap, candy, jewelry, or little things like that.

We also have a new candle scent that will be in stock online on Thanksgiving Day, as we sold out completely at the show.

Thanks, and have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rosemary Mint Tea

This seems to be the time of year when herbs on my patio are growing at at a crazy pace and I'm always looking for good things to do with them.   I've added them to just about everything I'm cooking, snipped a bunch to dry and use later on, and tried to brainstorm other things I could do.  Tea came to mind!  And why buy it when you can make it.

This is definitely too simple to really be called a recipe, but that's the kind of recipe I like.  Also, the addition of rosemary to typical mint tea is kind of unexpected, but adds a lot of flavor.


Cut a few sprigs of mint with medium sized leaves (I used spearmint here), and a two small sprigs of rosemary.  Or buy it packaged in the grocery store--that will work just fine.  Use about a 2:1 mint/rosemary ratio.

Tear the leaves up a bit and put them in a tea strainer.  Put tea strainer in your teapot (or just simply in your mug, if you're not using a teapot) and let it steep for 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you want it, then remove.  I like it stronger, so I leave it in about 5.  Add sugar or lemon if you would like.  And that's it!  Not a lot to it.

And use the same method, but let it cool after steeping, and put it in the fridge for iced tea if it's strange to be drinking hot tea in the middle of summer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How To Do Scandinavian Decor Without Getting Too Theme-y

The idea of Scandinavian decor can be really fun, but the actuality of it can sometimes get overwhelming, with all of the color, pattern and design options out there.  It can be hard to navigate a style of decor that can become real busy real quick, and reign in all of the choices you have.  The key here is to do it all within reason, and do it in a way that works for you.  

Here are a few tips:

Go to the source.

Take a look at some of the Scandinavian design books and online resources that show how Scandinavian homes were historically decorated.  Whether it be the Gustavian period, Arts and Crafts, or even edging into Scandinavian modern, take a look at how the style you like was originally used, and it will give you a sense of how it "should" look in its original context.

Don't get overkill with a theme.  

Like Dala Horses?  Or painted furniture?  Or red in general?  Great.  But don't use that exclusively.  Learn to mix in a few of those items or colors with some good neutrals, some contrasting patterns, and just some generally calmer spaces for the eye to land.  Which brings me to my next point:


Stuck to light, and the bright, and the white.

Much of what Scandinavian decor is about is indeed light, bright and white.  It is a common theme in Nordic decor, because for much of the year this part of the world is quite dark and pretty cold.  It brings in what available light there is, and brightens up the space immeasurably.  Additionally, it almost always stands the test of time.  Light, neutral decor tends not to go out of style as often as most brighter colors  and bolder patterns might.  Then you can accent with brighter colors, and can much more easily change out if you get tired of it.

Don t let things get too knickknack-y.

"Knickknacky" isn't a real word, but I bet you know what I mean. Carved wooden figurines and small items are fun and cute and can look great on a shelf or coffee table, but they can look really cluttered really fast if you are trying to cram too many things in.  Pick a few favorites and put those out, and either get rid of the rest, or store them in the basement and change them out when you need some new scenery.

Make sure that overall, it is a look that YOU like.
You are the one who has to live in your home, and if you are putting together a look just because you think it is the way it is "supposed" to look, instead of what you love, you are going to get tired of it real fast.  You'll also end of spending a lot of money on things you wish you had chosen differently, and probably be frustrated in a short amount of time.  Think about what elements of design you are commonly drawn to, and see what catches your eye on Pinterest, in design books, magazines, and other people's homes, and then start building from those common themes that you like.

Remember: using a theme within reason will achieve much better results than overdoing it will.  And also: work with the home you have!  If it's just too much pattern/color/theme etc. save it for something else.  Putting together a home should be realistic and attainable, not overwhelming and limiting.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Working designs.

I've been working on some new tableware designs lately, all of which have been inspired by styles of Old World Scandinavian art, like embroidery, weaving, woodcarving and mural painting.

My aim wasn't to try to replicate these antique artistic styles, but rather to show their themes in a more modern, whimsical way, while still giving nod to the original format.  I wanted it to look reminiscent of vintage Scandinavian work, but not a clone of it.

I'm also painting this series instead of drawing, for a more organic, free-form look.

Lots of changes and additions yet to be made, but its fun to work it out and see what I come up with!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Need inspiration? Organize something.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I seek it in a lot of places--art books, nature, magazines, places I travel...

However, it recently struck me: I am most inspired after I have organized something.

And it doesn't really matter what I've organized.  I am not necessarily inspired to paint more when I have my painting supplies organized.  But I may be after I have cleaned out the kitchen cabinets or revamped the filing system in the office.

Just the act of getting things in order, and feeling like I have accomplished a task puts me in the mood to create.

I discussed this with other creative friends and I was surprised to find that they all felt similarly!  It seems that for most of us, creativity thrives in a setting that's devoid of clutter, mental or tangible, and has less to do with the actual creative task at hand.

So, I will continue to find inspiration in the world around me, but when I really need to get my creativity flowing, I think I'll resort back to the mundane, like rearranging my work table, cleaning out my email inbox, and going through the ever-present stack of mail on the kitchen counter.  Because you've got to do what works, right?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Good stuff from Food52

We are still selling a selected amount of our Rosemal plates in the Food52 Shop, which recently just rebranded from Provisions to simply, the Food52 Shop to keep things more streamlined.  I love so many of the other products they carry, (especially the tableware, because that's my thing) that I thought I'd give an overview of some of my Food52 favorites.

I didn't think this lace tray from Suite One Studio could get any better, but now it does; it comes in a gold-rimmed version.  So pretty.

I really love mugs without handles for some reason, and I'm always big on blue and white, so these mugs from Art et Manufacture are very much up my alley.  

This handblown Moroccan blue glass pitcher from Hawkins New York is so pretty.  And it's dishwasher safe, which is always a plus. 

These Porcelain Coffee Filter Bowls are just so cool.  What an awesome idea!  

Also for serving, this Double Handled Walnut Serving Board would add instant warmth and character to any dining table or dinner party.  And why not have two handles instead of one?!

And with spring on the horizon, these Compostable Plates are a great alternative to the typical paper or plastic plates you might use outdoors.  I love the wood grain!  

Last up, these Gold Dipped Seashell Bowls.  They have just the right amount of metallic, and can be used for a variety of things other than holding food.  Definitely a good gift item.

Take a look at what other items the Food52 shop has to offer, get great recipe ideas, and catch up on all your foodie news!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015