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 :)