Monday, December 6, 2010

Glögg taste-tester

Phoebe the mouse is having a night cap. Good night all!
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Swedish holiday classic: Glögg

Glögg is Sweden's version of mulled wine. It uses similar spices to traditional mulling spices but is kicked up a notch due to the inclusion of brandy and in some cases vodka (for those chilly Swedish winters, of course!

Even when I was little and didn't drink glögg, I loved when my mom made it because the whole house would smell like oranges, cinnamon and cloves. In Sweden during the holidays, people have glögg parties and serve the traditional wine drink paired with Swedish Christmas cookies. Below is a recipe that I've already made two batches of in one week. This is definitely a case where cheaper wine and brandy work great - there are so many spices and flavors that it would be a shame to use the good stuff. I promise - the end result will be delish. Enjoy, and skål!

Swedish Glögg
  • 2 bottles (1.5 liters) of red wine (Black Box Cabernet works great - I also use Vendage Merlot)
  • 1 liter inexpensive brandy
  • 15 cardamom pods
  • 8 whole cloves 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks ,broken into smaller pieces
  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups sugar 
  •  1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup almonds, 5 dried figs
Heat all ingredients in a stainless steel or ceramic pot.Be careful not to boil the mixture; just let it simmer for about an hour. Strain through a metal sieve or cheese cloth to remove spices and orange peel. Serve in small glasses (it's strong!) with raisins and blanched almonds.  Makes approximately one gallon.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday weekend wrap up

#1. Delicious Thanksgiving dinner at Foxtail with family...
#2. Early a.m. dash back to Denver to get my Black Friday on. Stores covered: 8 (in two segments). Christmas gifts secured: 5. Successfully abstained from self-gifting with the exception of redeeming a Sephora gift card. Starbucks consumed: 3

#3. Finished our first "home" stockings. We have stockings at both sets of parents' houses, but we now also have our very own for our house:
#4. Exhausted Stella from a weekend with her boyfriends Orion and Max

#5. Champagne and Lamars donuts with Evan while decorating our Christmas tree. Followed by a champagne-induced nap by the open fire.

#6. Finished our tree skirt. Side note: I came to the realization that all commercial tree skirts are either hokey or really expensive, like this glorious one from Garnet Hill. I decided to make my own with some burlap, felt and embroidered stars. 

#7. Attended Broncos game. 

#8. Started writing Christmas cards. Stopped at 8. 42 to go. 

Phew! How's that for a productive weekend?

It's truly been an amazing long weekend of friends, family and holiday prep. Not ready for the work week to begin...but at least I get to come home to a festive house and lit tree :)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The holiday prep begins...with Swedish Rice Pudding

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m spending the holiday at Foxtail, my in-laws gorgeous mountain home in Winter Park, Colorado. It is the perfect retreat from a busy past few weeks.

This morning I’m making the first of many holiday dishes – Risgrynsgröt, Swedish Rice Pudding. This is a classic that I grew up with every Christmas, and there are several traditions linked to it.
In Sweden, instead of leaving cookies for Santa Claus you leave him a bowl of Risgrynsgröt. It is also an indispensable part of the Swedish “julbord” – the large spread of Christmas goods including Swedish meatballs, red cabbage, fish and various breads and potato dishes. Legend has it that the person who gets the “hidden almond” in their risgrynsgröt will be married within the next year! We had a lot of girls in my family, so my mom always threw in a few extras to keep everyone happy.

Traditionally, Swedish rice pudding is made with long-grain white rice, but I discovered Smitten Kitchen’s trick of using Italian Arborio rice and I really like this so much better – it gives the pudding a much creamier texture.

 Swedish Risgrynsgröt Recipe
Serves 4

- 2/3 cup Arborio rice
- 1¼ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 blanched almond
- Sugar
Add rice, water and salt to a pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, then take it off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes so the rice can absorb some of the water.

Put the pot pan back on stove, and add milk, cinnamon and the almond. Once it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low and stir frequently for 25-30 minutes until the pudding is thick and no longer looks “soupy”. Add sugar for sweetness (I only add 2 tablespoons since traditional Swedish rice pudding is not sweetened until served). Serve with strawberry jam, or a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. Another option, which my mom always does is to chop up a bunch of almonds and add those while the rice is cooking. This gives it a nice crunchy almond texture, but you still just have one whole almond for one lucky person.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I want to be friends with EmersonMade

A few of many reasons why EmersonMade is on my "shop love" list:
Even the packaging is keepworthy!
Image from EmersonMade Copyright © 2010 EmersonMade., all rights reserved
Image from EmersonMade Copyright © 2010 EmersonMade., all rights reserved

Fun, whimsy, classic. Always the perfect color combinations and timeless designs.
And if you know me, you know that anyone who makes giant beautiful flowers, gets to do what she loves for a living, and has a BARN is on my idol list :) So if you haven't already, check out Emerson's beautiful things here and her fun and playful blog (gorgeous photography that will make you happy)

Sweet Paul's Holiday edition is up!

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend to ring in the holiday season. Denver weather has been chilly and crisp, my kitchen smells like Thymes Frasier Fir and I started my Christmas cards. I spent yesterday with my girls at the Rockettes (yes - they came to Denver this year!) Needless to say it's been magical, and to top it off, Sweet Paul released the Holiday issue of their magazine! I haven't had a chance to go through the whole thing yet (have to fully savor it) - but I'm already smitten over their DIY Whisk Pendant below:

                                  Click to Read More                             
                 Sweet Paul Magazine
Holiday 2010 p. 24
Read More »            

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My winter birds are up!

Tada! This was such a fun and easy project and I love my holiday garland. Hooray for Clare Youngs and her fabulous book

Felt was really easy to work with. I had a hard time finding quality wool felt at first but ended up getting some great color squares at my local favorite Fancy Tiger. I also ordered some larger pieces from Prairie Point Junction, an online shop with a great selection and gorgeous colors. 

Lots in store for the next few weeks. I have been planning several Swedish holiday goodies to share with you as we get closer to Christmas. Check back for yummy recipes, how-to's and other festive tidbits about the Scandinavian yuletide. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I like books, and I have a lot of them. I always have good intentions when I buy a new book whether it's a cookbook, sewing book or other inspirational home decor type of book, and I get so much joy from flipping through pages and adding new projects to my list. But I have to admit that a lot of the time they end up looking pretty on my bookshelf (which still serves a great purpose!) but don't always get used in the manner in which I originally intended. 

Sooo...I have to share my excitement about my latest addition, Scandinavian Needlecraft (Cico books, 2010 $19.95) because barely a week after buying it, I'm almost done with my first project. I was literally flipping through the book at Joann's and was so excited about all the ideas that I drove to three different places on my way home just so I could get everything I needed to start immediately. 

Most of the projects are felt & embroidery projects, and this was something I'd never done before but decided I had to learn. Author Clare Young is very descriptive in her step-by-step instructions and super easy to follow. The book comes with a ton of templates and a page of her favorite resources for fabric, craft supplies, etc. I'm obviously biased, but I love Scandinavian design and I especially like Clare's fresh and modern take on all these country Swedish styles. Stay tuned for pictures of my first finished piece...hints include birds with a white, green and blue holiday hue :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Elements of Fall

It's been too long since I've posted...the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel for work, catching the last of this season's flea markets and trying to take in the gorgeous Colorado fall weather around me.

Last weekend I went to the last Paris Flea Market of 2010 (sniff), the new Horseshoe Flea Market in the Highlands which I LOVED, and also scored bigtime on some items I got to pre-shop for at my in-laws garage sale (which will have to be a separate post because I still need to doctor it up...but let's just say it involves a mint green garden chair and an old red rusty bike)
At Paris I found an old metal farm trough...must have been for smaller animals because it's the perfect size to hang on the other side of the front door with some fall flowers coming out the top. For now, I've filled the bottom with some pumpkins, gourds and pine cones until the hubs helps me figure out how to drill it into the exterior wall. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wedding fever...

I've got wedding fever. Not my own! I'm surrounded by amazing friends who have either recently gotten married, will soon be married or just recently experienced the thrill of getting engaged. I love weddings, and I love that I get to share these exciting moments with the people I love. In all honesty, one wedding is just not enough. One marriage? Absolutely. But when it comes to the options of the day, the season, the location, the theme and the many details that come together to build it, the dress…the dress! One is not enough. Thankfully, we often get to experience these things through our friends. We get to enjoy spring weddings, summer weddings, fall weddings and winter weddings. We can take in the beauty of many styles – vintage, modern, urban, big city, small city, farm and coastal.   We get to merge one group of friends and family with another, and if we’re lucky, build new friends from these moments.
And in this spirit of nuptials, I wanted to share the most fairytale-like wedding videos I’ve ever stumbled upon:

Coco + James // Teaser from Americana Cinema on Vimeo.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Boston Vacation

Ev and I went to visit my bff and her other half in Boston a week ago. We had a great weekend filled with lobster, chowder, boating, beaching and whale watching. 

I was smitten with New England's beautiful houses, sunsets, shells and nautical delights.  Below are some of the goodies we saw:

And my personal favorite - 

 I wanted to bring this little fisherman home with me!

Thank you Steph and Greig for a delightful long weekend!

One last summer soiree

We celebrated Evan's 28th with good friends, yummy food, lawn games and plenty of cocktails.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fabric love.

Kirsten at 6th Street Design School is doing a giveaway with L&S Fabrics - one of my favorite places to go for affordable fabric (especially love the stripes). Their selection of fabrics is the ultimate eye candy. Also visit L&S's sister site StaceAge for more yummy, contemporary fabrics. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Project of the day: Nautical Napkins


Next week, Evan and I are heading to see some of our best friends in Boston. They have a beautiful home and a recently renovated kitchen, so I made some napkins to go with some other goodies for their new kitchen.

Lovely day

We woke up early this morning and strolled down to South Pearl St. to check out the farmers market and get breakfast at one of our most favorite little places - Gaia Bistro.

While we were waiting to be seated, I had a chance to peek around. Gaia is located in an old victorian house, so all the tables are spread throughout the house in various small rooms, making it really cozy and full of character. 

At the counter, they have two really cool "whisk" shaped light fixtures that I'm in love with.

The home style details are what make Gaia such a cozy, delightful place to eat. I love the pressed red and white vintage-style cloth napkins and old miniature bundt pans filled with freshly baked pumpkin bread. 

A ripe plum from Gaia's backyard
All of Gaia's produce comes from their backyard, which is full of seasonal goodies that inspire the constantly changing menu. If you're ever in Denver, this place needs to be on your list.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And now the details...

Wire Metal bookshelf, $150 (moving sale special!) - Old Glory Antiques

This red bench was what my MIL would call an "alley find" (they are the best!). Found in our alley a few years ago, and turned from junky to rustic after some sanding and red paint. I keep my treasured old issues of Martha Stewart Living, Domino (sniff, sniff) and Real Simple in magazine holders (that are begging to be replaced) for reference.

House number metal pots - a gift from my MIL from Anthropologie (no longer available)

3x5 Rug, $19.99 - Liz Lange for Target  Pendant, $35 - Old Glory Antiques

An old industrial desk that was left in our shed by the previous owner. After the cobwebs and dust were removed, I realized how much character this thing has! It's also got built in electrical and an overhead light, which will be great for sewing.
Numbered mugs - Anthropologie (no longer on website, but I've seen them in stores!)
Lantern, $4.99 - Ikea

Stool, a hand-me-down from my in-laws
Sailboat model, purchased at Frank's Fisherman on our honeymoon in San Fransisco

Bye-bye shed, hello studio!



Friday, August 13, 2010

Oh I want you so badly...dear flat file

Recently I've seen so many uses for flat files - coffee tables, craft stations, etc. I love the idea of using an old vintage flat file as my sewing table, and storing all my fabrics in its drawers. I'm especially in love with this beauty from Factory 20 (and wildly jealous of the lucky person who bought it!):

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My little shed

Inspired by Tales of a Junkaholic's fab shed to studio makeover, I decided it was time to give my poor, neglected shed some attention. For the three years we've been in our house, our shed has been a contestant for a gardening shed, man room and even a miniature brewery, but these things must not have been in it's future, because last week it was clear that it was destined to be my very own little place to create. My sewing machine will finally have a home!

This weekend was the start of the makeover. In two days, we've made good progress and I can't wait for next weekend to get to the fun part - decorating!


Wood paneling, flourescent lights (ick!) and an old brown door in some serious need of a paint job...


Fluorescent lights replaced with an industrial pendant, and walls have been painted white. And guess what! Turns out the old brown door has a window that was painted over. The hubbie scraped off all the paint so I now can make a pretty curtain for the window :)