Everyday Hygge

Wonderment – Blogs

Photo by Hel Looks

Hel Looks posts on individuals with great looks such as the woman above:

I’m celebrating my 70th anniversary with Elvis Presley. I had my birthday party at Naantali Spa. I was dressed up in a white cowboy hat and white cowboy boots with golden toes. I create my own style, I’m not a mass woman. But I always wear something fashionable, too, like this pale blue scarf. People always ask me where do I get my clothes. This bag is a Finnair travel bag from the 70’s.

Yvestown’s post on I don’t do Neighbours:

I really dislike the word “Do” in a sentence like “Let’s do lunch” or “I don’t do kids”. But I just couldn’t find a better title to start this post as “I don’t do neighbors”, I really, really don’t. I thought I could but I’m really crap at it.

Alicia’s post on why she blogs:

But to me, there are lots of kinds of blogs, and I don’t mean genres like “craft” or “political”; I mean: some are sporadic posters, some are personal, some share tutorials, some gather work from others, some show only one’s own stuff, some are brilliant at sourcing products, some have ads, some invite conversation and debate, some just put it out there and leave it be, no comments necessary. There’s room for them all. I hope we can allow ourselves the freedom to let our own, and each other’s, be just whatever they are.

Boss Lady’s post on The Craft:

One thing that amazes me, year after year, is that so many members of the public seem to attend craft fairs as bargain-hunters. I mean, sure, there are always newbies who underprice their goods, whether out of ignorance or in hope of generating good word-of-mouth. But your average local artisan cannot generally afford to compete, price-wise, with large chain stores or other sources of cheap pottery, jewelry, handbags, belts, or whatnot. They may have lower overheaad, with no storefront or salespeople to worry about, but local labour, no matter how low the overhead, costs more than importing from Asia. Some people just don’t seem to get that, and I’ve seen someone balk at a $50 pricetag on a necklace, saying, “I just can’t spend more than $30 on a necklace.” I mean, if you’re on a budget, far be it from me to criticize, but maybe you just can’t afford to be buying jewelry at all in that case.

Orangette’s post on Baking & Gift Ideas:

I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas shopping. It always feels sort of forced and messy, and more about the wallet than anything else. I love the idea of Christmas presents – I am human, you know – but when it comes to procuring them, my feelings are mixed. The mall doesn’t exactly help matters. The problem is this: I don’t so much want to buy. I want to make – or, more precisely, bake. What makes me happy at the holidays – or any day – is the homemade and the handmade, things with history and character. So this year, I have made a decision: to give only gifts made by hand,* with no exceptions. [Okay, except a few books, maybe, because they’re books, people, and that doesn’t count.] I’ve done a little baking and canning for past Christmases, but this is my first year to go whole-hog handmade. It may sound a little daunting, but to me, it sounds just like heaven. It sounds like lots and lots of cookies. I hope you’re ready.

Christmas is coming. HyggeHouse.com

Christmas is Coming

Every year so many of us complain how commercial the holidays have become yet we tend to bring it into our homes, our gifts, our way of being. It’s hard to say no when every store, commercial, card and tag saying yes.

I’ve forgone the Holidays for the past three years; no decor, no gifts, no celebrating although I did send cards so it wasn’t all bad. But this year I find myself ready to embrace the cosy feeling that the holidays can provide. The question however, has been how with all the commercialism abound.

Country Home editor, Danny Seo has the most wonderful little blog, Simply Green. He’s been posting Christmas ideas already (although in fairness he had to get ready for a magazine shoot) and his use of greenery and objects around the home got me thinking about how I wanted to do my home; simple, organic, and of course, cosy.

I translated this into the theme of having a lille hus holiday in which decor would have to be simple, pretty, artful and seemingly found 100 years ago (although there’d be some exceptions, naturally). Ideas have included: popcorn, Yo Yo or Felt Garland strung on a tree, traditional paper ornaments, wooly animals, carved figures, stitched linens, stuffed sewn trees (and look – Little Birds has a pattern!), lots of fresh greenery and of course, candles.

As for gifts, I think I’ll stick to my tradition of giving “the gift of time” or perhaps supporting my artistic friends and purchasing gifts from them. How much of this I’ll get done I’m not sure but at least having a plan helps. All I know is that I don’t want to complain about how the holidays have become a frenzied material mess if I’m not doing anything to keep them simple.

Decor Ideas

The Coffee Table Book Table

After two and a half years of literally no furniture or home bits, I feel as though I have everything I need; the sofa, a TV table, dining room table with two benches, bed frame, large linen trunk, great work chair, desk, guest chair and corner unit for office. The only things I think I could need at this point would be a side wall unit for my office (to house my very large printer and small airport plus books) and a couple of side tables (one for the bedroom, one for the office chaise).

But for the last three things, I am determined to do it as inexpensively as possible. There are some things I will pay money for and not blink twice (linens, bed, sofa) but for the tables, at this point, I just don’t feel justified to spend money on them since they’re not essential pieces and when I move, I’m not sure how they’d move with me. I’d rather do without than spend money on something just to “have it.” So at the moment this means I’ve been using plastic boxes covered with a pretty sheet I bought years ago to make due for the side table in the bedroom followed by an old farmhouse chair which is just too small for the printer.

However, over at Simply Green I found my solution; a book table secured with wonderful leather belts! I love this idea for a couple of reasons: it involves large books!

I haven’t owned large coffee table books before because they were always too heavy to move, too impractical to buy or just plain expensive. But with a great discount at a store I’m working at, I’ve been able to pick up a few very large books for this purpose.

So slowly but surely, my own coffee table book table is coming along. Just a few more books and then finding some belts and voila – a coffee table book table. Now, if I can just figure out something other than plastic bins for the bedroom…

Everyday Hygge


Danish Girls

Growing up, my mum and I were at odds a lot. The older I get the more I understand why – we are so very, very similar. Quirky, independent, dreaming girls with birthdays just two days apart, we often clashed on everything, especially if we weren’t personally happy which tended to be the case with my mum. She sacrificed a lot of herself to live a way in which often wasn’t her choice. And because of the friction and her unhappiness, I wanted nothing to do with being Danish. I was my fathers girl and therefor was French, French, French! When I moved to England I was English, English, English! And in New Zealand I became one of the surfer boys I hung out with all the time. I was anything but Danish!

In my early twenties, my mother began to come and visit me in my flat, staying over for a night at time. We’d walk the city, go shopping, giggle over dinner. These visits were sometimes awkward and exhausting but they were slowly putting us together.

One day she told me she was going to leave my father. This did not crush me but made me very happy. Oh, I loved both my parents and they’re both fantastic people but as a married couple do so poorly. They’re very opposite, with different ideas about life and lifestyle and a ten year age difference had started to show itself (my mother wanted to go go go and my father wanted to settle in). I supported her leaving him and her move far away to be with her family. Little did I know at the time it would be the best thing for her.

Being on her own made her come into her own. That lighthearted, charming woman finally emerged once again. She began to create so many things, ran her own business, worked at a winery in which she became very snobby (but oh so charming) about wine! Her style changed, her hair became flirty. She became this amazing woman that I started to connect to.

It was around this time that I started growing out of a life that didn’t suit me; the corporate American Dream Life. As I began to become myself again I started to see how much like my mother I was; the same smile, the same hair, the same quirky mannerisms, the same heart that could break so easily but everyone thought was impenetrable. We even sit and tilt out head the same and snort when we find something terrible funny.

And we are funny; we crack each other up like you wouldn’t believe.

She’s a bit spacey and says things that make no sense to anyone except in her head. Perfect example when I once rang her for cooking instructions:

Me: How much water do I put in?
Her: Oh, I don’t care
Me: Four cups?
Her: Oh no! Not that much!

This conversation could have easily been turned around for this is also me. She randomly says things and you have no idea where they came from but she has a map laid out in her head. This is me. She can buy the weirdest, saddest thing from a second hand shop and make it fabulous in 2.3 seconds. This is not me. But now I am learning from her.

Embracing her and the Danish life I often tried to run away from has put me at ease in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. It’s made me connect to something I didn’t even know I needed to connect to. I thought I was just Alex – girl who sprung from nowhere! And now I see my past, my history, my culture and say, “Ah then, I am not alone.”

I contacted my cousins just outside of Copenhagen to let them know I was coming in January. Oh how you look like your mother! They kept saying. Oh, how I see that now and smile instead of cringe.

Don’t get me wrong; France still has my heart and my style in home tends to be more French Chic than teak and art. I want to live in France in several years and my French is still better than my Danish. But right now, I’m a Danish Girl, with my blonde hair, strange sense of humour, and adoration of dressing up.

I share this not as an ode to my mother but because sometimes I think it is so easy to forget, not pay attention to or run away from where we come from – especially if it has a negative association to us. But I think it’s so important to connect to something as the individual way of life has got to go. There is no glory to being alone. There is no medal you get for doing everything by yourself or acting as though you just fell out of a sky and need no one. I tried that for many years and perhaps I seemed powerful and together but truthfully, I was always a little sad and misplaced.

But now, connecting to parts I once tried so hard to disconnect from, is helping me to not only create my home but myself.