Tuesday, December 23, 2008

dancing nisser - part two

Here are the rest of my cross stitched nisser. Aren't they cute? My very favourite is "ms. single" dangling from a tree. Not because being single is such a great thing (all though it can be), but because she looks feisty and so full of life. She is dancing and having fun all by herself.

The nisser are stitched on danish linen that I received as a gift from a danish exchange student we housed more than ten years ago, when studying in Trondheim. I still have enough linen left in case I get inspiredto do another set of these nisser.

On another note...This is the night before the night "little Christmas eve" or "lillejulaften" as we would say here in Norway. Tonight is the night when we decorate the Christmas tree (after untangling the lights from last year) and when we put all the parcels under the tree. Today Christmas officially begins in our home. We will eat ginger bread cookies and drink "gløgg" (something similar to glüwein) If you want to read more about our traditions for this day you can read more here.

Today is also the day when both my brother and Mr. Life in Yonder comes home. It will be the first time my brother meets Astrid as he has been away this fall and I can't wait for him to meet her. Ohh, and toda is Astrid's two month day b-day! I'm so in love with her.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dancing "nisser"

How are you all doing? Have you manage to get everything ready for Christmas? Since I finished all my "have to does" last week, this weekend I have been able to begin some stitch work on the Japanese cotton/linen blend I showed you on Friday. I would have loved showing you photos but as you know they turn out crappy with the winter light, and today on the Norwegian west coast (where I am) there is a storm like no other. Mountain roads being closed, wind making the windows bend inwards, lightning, thunder, and rain, rain, rain. Skies are dark, dark grey, meaning even less light than usual.

Anyhow since I can't show you what I'm working on right now I thought I show you some cross stitch I did many years ago. I have cross stitched seven small linen squares with "nisser". I don't know what the squares are called in english, but they are used to put in between the first course plate and the second course plate. Both as a decoration and so that the plates don't scratch together. I found the motives in a norwegian craft magazine from the 80's. My plan was to make two of each but so far there is just one set. I have posted three photos now, and I'll post the other four later. Have a nice day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

5 days to Christmas Eve

I can't believe how fast this week flew! It's already Friday again. This week was all about finishing the last Christmas presents, cleaning up a messy (very messy) table, going to the post office, wrapping up gifts, and making the suitcase for Astrid and me before leaving for my mothers house where we will be spending Christmas (Mr. Life in Yonder will come the 23rd).

Last weekend I managed to finish two more place mats. Unfortunately, due to the very short day and lack of light I didn't have time to take photos before sending the presents off to the recipients. It is a pity because on one of the place mats I cross stitched a charted monogram from this book, and I wanted to show you how nicely it turned out. I loved stitching it, seeing how the two letters intertwined, making their own pattern. I'll show you next time I stitch one since I will most likely stitch more of these.

This week in between everything else I had to do I also found the time to sew together two felt houses that I cross stitched last winter but never got around to mount. I still need to fill them with wool and perhaps some cinnamon and cloves to give them a "Christmasy" scent. I have more of these houses stitched up with different motives ready to be sewed together, but I always seem to come up with new projects before I get around to finish them.

And how am I not going to want to start a new project when my mailbox get filled with beautiful fabrics bought online. It is impossible! Like these two (sorry for the bad quality, but daylight is scarce). Beautiful Japanese linen and cotton blend fabric. Perfect for embroidery and zakka projects. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them. And when I got them between my hands I fell in love even more, regretting I didn't buy more. I tried, but there was of course no more left.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Craft Weekend

This is the last weekend I’m home before I leave for my mom’s house to celebrate Christmas. I’m planning on spending the days making gifts to my nephews, nieces and the children of some good friends. My living room looks like a mess with fabrics stashed in bundles here and there and my table covered with thread spools, buttons, trims, a rotary cutter and scissors.

I have already made placemats for two super cute girls (they don’t know about the blog so the surprise is not spoiled). Now there are four more to go before I can pack up the sewing machine and clean the table. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I have completed this years home made gifts.

I share with you this wonderful snow man that our neighbourhood kids made a couple of days ago.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas has come to our house

Today my parents in law are coming from Barcelona to visit us and to meet Astrid for the very first time (not counting Skype). To make their stay special I have put out this years Christmas decorations early (usually I wait until the weekend before Christmas eve).

Christmas in Spain and Norway are generally speaking quite different. In Norway you can’t have a good “Christmas feeling” or atmosphere without at least a dozen of lit candles. In Spain for the most part candles are associated with either church, or funerals. In Norway we have a big tradition of “Nisser” (small bearded men and women wearing red clothes. They take care of your house and animals, if you take care of them, meaning give them sour cream porridge once in a while).

In Spain the big tradition is to celebrate the three kings that visited Bethlehem to see the new born. In Norway we celebrate the waiting of Christmas Eve, the Advent time. Children (…and some grown ups) have advent calendars. Most people also put a star in one of their windows to symbolize the star which showed the shepherds and the three kings the way to Bethlehem. Both countries have nice traditions but quite different.
Last year I had white and purple Christmas decorations. Remember the white trees? This year I want a more traditional red and white Christmas. Since I forget from year to year what I have in the attic, it was almost like Christmas Eve yesterday when I opened the different boxes with decorations.
I have been putting things together in new combinations, trying out and exploring what works out best. Back and forth, up and down. My goal was to not exaggerate, decorating a few spots in the house so that the feel is Christmas and not a gift or decorating shop. For some that is boring for me it is part of the relaxed Christmas feeling I like.