måndag 23 december 2013

This years Christmas tree in Victorian gothic style

So this is our tree in all it's humble glory. I sprayed the tree with snowspray to get a nice frosty look. Hey we don't have any snow at all, it's so weird, I can't remember a christmas without snow, so I took the fake snow indoors instead. The glitter garland is tucked deep in the twigs to give a modest glow to it. Colourscheme is red, black, white and beige. The white linenribbons are dyed in coffe and all the decorations are old or handmade.
I used my lightbulb ornaments and homemade firecrackers. Well this is how the firecrackers look like in sweden (but more colourful) homemade in tissuepaper. They are a mix between the common ones and victorian funeral candy.
The pictures below shows some real funeral candy that gives you a hint of what has inspired my decorations this winter.

They all link to the same site, a funeral museum.
So would you like to make your own decorations? It's easy and you can make it with things you have in your home. This is what you need: Tissue paper two colours (these are from gift wrapping), a hard paper roll (you can use a toilet roll if you like and last some nice papers to decorate with.
Measure out a rectangular piece with the paperroll. You need to roll it up several rounds. You can see that the paper is more than three times wide as the roll.
Pleat the sides by folding both papers against the center of the paper. Leave the middle unpleated for the paperroll.
Cut strips of the pleats with a scissor not too wide strips.
Put the paperroll on top and roll up the paper tightly. As the black paper is underneath it will be on top at the roll.
Finished roll
Tie a ribbon or a thick thread at the end of the roll and knot tightly. 

Time to embellish the roll. I choosed to use the nice folder we got with a tea delivery and a single shiny dresden trim.
 Tomorrow is Christmas eve, the day most are giving gifts to each other. We will wait until christmas day when the family is gathered. Instead we will go to the only pizza place that is open tomorrow (a muslim family running it) and eat som turkish barbecue or pizza. I guess it will be us, the muslims and a bunch of lonely people.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas, a lovely Yule, en God Jul or whatever sodding holiday you are celebrating. Anyway it is a time for gathering, and giving to those who aren't as lucky as you. 
Am I giving something, yes. I give my share to the local woman rescue team (don't know how to translate). Maybe more about that another time. Big Hugs to you. XOXO.

onsdag 11 december 2013

Decorating for christmas

I was home with a coughing Alfons today and finally got time to do some decorations in the kitchen. The advent lights should have been fixed a couple of weeks ago but, didn't have any time. 
I think that maybe was meant because the ribbon I bought in Tällberg was perfect for this.
Here's a closer look at one of the candles, no 3. I made those figures several years ago and have used them every year since then but with different ribbons.
The moss is picked in the forest by our house. I like to decorate with natural elements and green moss is a perfect material.
I love those bottle brush trees, they are my etsy addiction I have to confess. The bottlebrush forest grows every year. The mini pumpkins I bought for Halloween is still in great condition so I can't throw them away.
The zinc cones got purple hyacints that fills the kitchen with a lovely scent.
Christmas is very much about filling the house with nice smells. Like baking gingerbreads. I have my own recipe (of course I have to creat the weel once again) with my own secret spices added. Thats why I baking in the same speed the family are eating them. I can tell you I filled 1,5 cans and there is only one halv left, within a few hours. 
By the way; spicy cookies are good medicine for children with cough, but too many gives stomach ache.

Tomorrow and friday will be Lucia celebration, I wrote about that tradition last christmas, if you wan't to know more about it. Or you could hop over to Ms.Misantropia who gives a good explanation of what it's all about.

söndag 8 december 2013

Christmas celebration my way. A weekend off

Dear Johan took me to a short trip to the heart of our county Dalarna, that means Tällberg by the lake of Siljan. The surroundings around the lake are very beautiful, with mountains, forests, meadows and small villages with old houses.
Tällberg is very popular and have several high quality hotels. We stayed at Dalecarlia. Below is the morning view from our hotel window.
The hotel has lots of fireplaces around the lobby and restaurant. 

As indoor shoes I brought my Åsa Westlund, kurbits wooden heels. I have two from this collection called There goes the neighbourhood. I use them very sparely as the painting is fragile. There were gold streaks on them once as well but they are gone now.

This is the hotel. Looking up at the building surrounded by a winterlandscape it has a very "the Shining" feel over it. 

We spent the saturday walking around the village where a Christmas fair was going on. All the crafts and design stores were open.

The tradition is that if you decorate for midsummer, those decorations must sit the whole year until next summer. That's the reason why you can see a maypole dressed in brown leaves in the middle of the winter. The driveways are also decorated with honour birch arcs with dry leaves beside the ordinary outdoor christmas decorations. 

We bought a pair of mugs for ourselves. I picked the one with the horns to use at work. The potter had a fun combination of traditional, medeival and morbid style of the pottery. 

Kids playing with sleighs on a yard in front of a old house.

Another two maypoles left.

At one of the places they were selling Dalahorses and you could buy one and paint it yourself. And that is what we did. Johans is the one at the left, mine is the one at the right. They look both like traditional Nusnäs horses but with a personal twist. Every village has it's own kind of horse. These were once kids toys.
 On the way back to the hotel the christmastree at the square was dressed with football sized ornaments, they needed a lift for that work. You can see the contrasting maypole in the background with brown leaves. 
They was later going to have ring dance around the three, I know Swedes are strange people.
I bought a 3 yard of ribbon and a bottle of quack doctors remedy. Its anis and fennel couch drops that works fine for a sore throat.

We took a moment to watch the sunset over the mountains and the lake on the walk back.

 The afternoon was spent at the spa down the hill. It had a yacuzzi, outdoor pool with hot water, saunas and an indoor swimmingpool. We skipped any treatment and just relaxed, bathed. After some resting at our room we ate a fabulous three course dinner. I tried some new tastes, like saffron pannacotta with liqorice crisp.

 The icy road back home

 Usually I'm busy with birthday and christmas celebrations. But I think I needed this weekend. I had some tough moments at work and is generally stressed. I could have stayed at least another day just lazing around.
This is a post in Ms Misantropias Christmas challenge. Hop over to her and read her posts.

Back home I fixed Oskars christmas calendar. 24 packages (not all of them here) with assorted things inside.
Do you have those calendars in other countries? We have the annual tv-calendar, a childrens tv show, new one every year. 
Next weekend will be my 40's birhtday party another step from the yearly traditions, a little bigger party with guests the whole weekend. I'm so looking forward to it.

onsdag 4 december 2013

Long way from China

Johan works as a system engineer at a company who orders lots of parts from china. In almost every delivery a can of tea or anything tea related are sent with the delivery. There are no tea drinkers at that place, lucky for me because my love brought home some extra nice things the other day. 

First there was a wooden box with a big parcel with tea. Inside the box were also a folder in brown paper with lots of mandarin text (that says nothing to me). I immediately saw it as paper ephemera, lovely to use with my old swedish style fire crackers (not the glitzy ones you have elsewhere).
There was also a spoon thingy inside. A heavy piece of metal that you can paddle around the tea leaves with. The pattern on it reminded me of a dragons breath.
 Then there was another large parcel. A tea set, yay! I don't know much about tea ceremonies in china but they should be sipping it in small sips because the pot and the cups are tiny.
A plate with a tray on top was also following. I think it is suppose to keep the tea warm. The cups are hollow, I mean double walls, maybe for insulation.
I will not use this set for tea, not during this particular season. Instead I saw a perfect set for glögg (glühwein, mulled wine). The pattern is even a winterlandscape with red cottages, very similar to a swedish winter landscape exept for the asian twist of the houses.
I have my 40's birthday in 1½ half week, and my son is also having a birthday. I just baked some saffron buns, typical swedish christmas treat. I rolled them with a mix of sugar, vanilla and butter and white chocolate chips, they are darn tasty, I can tell. They will go right in the freezer, otherwise they will dissapear.
I have been working a lot to get sparetime for my seminars, I try to work 9-10 hours these days but it is exhausting. These weeks with no kids is almost only work and studies. There are some amazing moments though. A friday two weeks ago, I was the last one at work. The factory was dead silent and lights out, I think it's nice to walk trough the silent and dead calm halls. The factory lies by a big lake, some says it's Faluns most beautiful place to work at (well if you look outside the windows, it is). This evening I could only agree. On the backyard the lake was completely calm and showed me a mirror view of the amazing sunset. This photo is taken by my cellphone without any filters.

Half an hour later the yellow had turned to red and the sky above was purple, but at that time I was too tired to bother. 
I have some rest to look forward too soon, and I love to study, so I'm fine with working long days.

söndag 1 december 2013

My victorian gothic christmas and DIY glass ornaments

Ms Misantropias Holiday challenge; How do you celebrate? is easy to join. Just post christmas related stuff you do. 
Our house was decorated last weekend. That is perhaps too early, but this weekend were too stressful with lots of tasks around the kids, like sports and selling bread for a schooltrip. 
I have decided this years theme for our christmas tree; Victorian gothic. The colour scheme is black, metals and tea stained white. Decorations will be the old style handcrafted ornaments with a gothic twist.
I wonder if the forms of the ornaments in the photo above is familiar to you? Did you guess it right? They are made of light bulbs. The old ones that are not allowed to be sold in stores anymore. I started to save the burned out ones and I got several from family and friends. 
Maybe you have seen those hollowed out lightbulbs, there is lots of tutorials on youtube. I wanted to take it one step further and remove the aluminium bottom.

This is how you do the first steps to your own light bulb tree decorations:
Take a strong plier and remove the bottom soldered metal piece. Observe that you need gloves, safety glasses and a safe surface. And NO curious visitors around.
Next step is to move the bottom glass piece. With a steel wire I brake the glass in pieces and remove it with the pliers.
3rd step is to peel of the aluminium part down to the lightbulb. Use the pliers and be careful so you don't squeeze the light bulb to hard. Save the last piece as something to stabilise the fragile glass.
Then you need a dremel with a diamond round milling tool.
 Mill around the inner glass, remove any wire first.
 Here's a closer look of how it looks when you mill. Do it very carefully. I have braken a few bulbs by pressing too hard. The insert will loosen without any pressure, only with patience.
Once it is removed. You need to brake the inner glass into smaller pieces to get it out of the hole. This is also a very tricky step were the glass bulb can breake.
Shake carefully the glass and wire out of the bulb. Carefully remove the rest of the aluminium and scrape off the glue from the glass.
Use a emery cloth to smoothen the edges. A rough edge can be cause of cracking the glass.
There you have a plain glass bulb. Rinse it out with water and let it dry completely before the fun begins.
With a mini bottle brush tree, glitter and snow spray; I created a tiny dull winterlandscape. This is my first test and I failed a bit because I shouldn't have used spray laquer on top of the snow spray, it kind of melted and the bulb looks not as clear as I wish. The brush tree is a ordinary green that got a dust of black then some silver glitter and mica on top. The top of the bulb, holder for the ribbon is bought several years ago on a craft store and is spray painted black.

Here are a collection of different bulbs I have decorated. From top to bottom: Oval light bulb with clear glass glitter, glitter pipe cleaner with bronse alcohol ink and some paper flowers. Oval light bulb with black glass glitter, dresden lace and paper flowers. Small round lightbulb with clear glass glitter and copper spray paint. Oval light bulb with silver glitter, pipe cleaner, black dresden lace and black ribbon bows. Round white bulb with a merry christmas sticker. The round thingie is a part from an old watch with glued on rhinestones.

 I got a little steampunked while doing this one. I dropped some watch parts and some are hangning in the spring thread from the top of the bulb. 

Here's a close up of the watch part with the rhinestones, this is the flipside where I glued on a small brass decoration.

Even if it has taken lots of time doing these bulbs it has been a lot of fun. Sorry for my lack of proper english. I'm too tired to fix that now, it is passed bedtime long ago.