Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: DIY Felt Play Food Tutorial – Lussekatter for St. Lucia’s Day

A few years ago, Scandinavian-American blogger Linnea wrote a lovely overview of the Swedish holiday known as St. Lucia Day, and she’s back today with a tutorial for the most darling little felt lussekatter (Swedish saffron bun) toys!  When Aveline was the same age as Linnea’s adorable little, projects like this were very popular in our house. The supplies needed are so minimal — felt, needle and thread, polyfill — but just look at how captivated babies are with the final product! Beyond cute. 

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter

DIY Felt Play Food Tutorial – Lussekatter for St. Lucia’s Day

by Linnea Farnsworth

I’m so excited to have had a little girl of my own to be a Lucia in our home! I’ve always thought that felt play food is so darling and fun, so this year I made some felt Lucia buns for her to play with.

I got a few sheets of the golden felt at Michaels, it is a perfect color. Other things you need are thread, embroidery floss in a matching color, and some batting to stuff the insides. If your Lucia is older you could put some dark beads or buttons on to be raisins (they are a bit of a choking hazard for my little Lucia, though!)

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Start with a piece 3″x9″. My felt sheets were 9″x12″, so I could get 4 buns from each sheet.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Fold the piece in half and pin. Sew along the long edge and one short edge, leaving a 3/8″ seam allowance.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Clip the corner – this make it easier to flip the corner right side out again.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Turn your tube right side out and stuff it. You want it to be stuffed firmly, but not overstuffed – it needs to have some give so we can roll up the edges.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Stitch the open end closed.

Now we are going to roll the felt much like we would the dough in real life. I found it easiest to roll down the edge just a little first, and anchor that with a few stitches. Here I used 3 strands of embroidery floss because it was a bit stronger and required less stitches.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

After that is secured, roll it down a little further and anchor with a few more stitches.

DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog

Do the same to the other side, only roll it the opposite direction for a traditionally shaped Lucia bun.

Sew on any buttons or beads for raisins if you are adding them, and you’re done! If you’d like you can experiment and make other fancy shapes with your Lucia “dough.”

Glad Lucia!
DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog
DIY Felt Food Tutorial for Swedish Lussekatter, by Linnea Farnsworth for the Oaxacaborn blog


Linnea Farnsworth is a self-described Scandihoovian, a Washington DC-area photographer, and mom to the cutest little sweet pea. Linnea has also shared previously about her Swedish heritage on both the Scandinavian Christmas and Midsommar blog series — Sankta Lucia Day and Linnea’s Swedish Midsommar Celebration. (She really throws the best mid-summer parties, you guys.) Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram at @linneaanne!

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: Jul, Lagerhaus Style

GOD_JUL

Like GRANIT, the Swedish retailer I posted about earlier this season, this next retailer hails from Sverige, too. Lagerhaus has a lovely line of home goods — and their Jul collection is just so pretty! I’d leave out the gold-dipped mugs all year round — and the numbered tags make creating a set of your own weekly advent candles so, so easy.

Scandinavian Christmas styled by Lagerhaus Sweden

Scandinavian Christmas styled by Lagerhaus Sweden

Scandinavian Christmas styled by Lagerhaus Sweden

Scandinavian Christmas styled by Lagerhaus Sweden

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Gold mug // mugg guld 

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Christmas matches // jul tändstickor

Chocolate / Chokladkaka

Chocolate / Chokladkaka

Chocolate advent calendar / Chokladkalender

Chocolate advent calendar / Chokladkalender

Numbers for each week of Advent / Nummerbrickor

Numbers for each week of Advent / Nummerbrickor

Want more tidings of jul cheer? Browse the entire Scandinavian Christmas seriees on Oaxacaborn.com, or see more from Lagerhaus’ Christmas collection.

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: 10 Daily Advent Calendar / Julkalender Ideas

A little late to the game with this one, guys — sorry! Thankfully, a lot of you were able to peruse previous advent calendar roundups herehere and here,  while I collected a few more. But there’s no reason why you can’t do, say, a ten-day countdown, right?

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One little cardboard house for each day of Advent, via  Mokkasin

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Red and white fabric packages tied up with string, via Beate Hemsborg

Ikea_sverige_adventskalender
Versatile storage boxes for all year long — labeled for Advent! via IKEA Sverige

Ikea_sverige_julkalender
Plain clothespins fastened to a board hold up packets of Advent goodies, via IKEA Sverige

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Wall-mounted antlers serve as a hanger for paper lunch bags folded over, via A Merry Mishap

bfIMG_2128Coffee filters, washi tape and yarn — this is an accessible, fun DIY calendar! via Scrumdilly-do

natuerlichkreativ_adventskalender2015_IMG_2010

Paper lunch bags decorated with thread, stars, and charms, via Natuerlich Kreativ (also, great black and white paper printables from Natuerlich Kreativ)

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A multitude of wee Advent houses — complete with a brilliant print-and-fold template to make your own, via Raum Dinge

diy-anleitungen-adventskalender-5A bright and bold adventskalender, via Living at Home

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And finally, the coziest candlelit scene warming up all those dark afternoons, via Lyllos.

How you count down to Christmas in your home? With a delicious chocolate calendar, a schedule of Advent readings, or a crafty calendar like the ones above? Let me know in the comments — or take a photo and tag me, @oaxacaborn, on Instagram!

Christmas, Humanitarian

20 Charitable Christmas Gift Ideas That Make a Difference

20 Charitable Christmas Gift Ideas That Make a Difference, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)
Are you tired of spending money on Christmas gifts just because it’s the holiday season? Have you ever wondered why you go through all the motions of Christmas shopping  — when most of your recipients already have everything they’ll ever need? (If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably rich. No, really. I mean it. You are wealthy. If you make $30,000 USD per year, you’re in the top 1.23% richest people in the world by income. Go ahead, try out the Global Rich List calculator.)

While I think we should embrace a generous lifestyle all year round, I love the idea of #GivingTuesday, one day specifically specifically set aside to celebrate giving. And this Giving Tuesday, I’ve put together a list of my top twenty most favorite initiatives to support, from right here in America, to Ethiopia, China, Romania, Ukraine, Zambia and more.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)1. Love Without Boundaries | EDUCATION | Provide education and school access to at-risk children in China ($10+), including children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend. Love in Action card available to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)2. Love Without Boundaries | FAMILY PRESERVATION (UNITY FUND) | Keep impoverished families together and prevent orphans by donating money for much-needed medical care. This initiative helps parents who would otherwise face the excruciating option of placing the child in a care center to receive medical attention. ($10+). Love in Action card available to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)
3. Love Without Boundaries | FOSTER FAMILIES | Throughout China, foster families have opened their hearts and homes to orphaned and at-risk children who would otherwise reside in an orphanage setting.  This initiative helps these willing families provide a family environment ($10+),with the option to send a Love in Action card to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)t
4. Love Without Boundaries | MEDICAL CARE | In conjunction with Family Preservation (the Unity Fund), this initiative provides medical care and surgeries to orphans and infants/children whose parents would not otherwise be able to provide care ($10+). Love in Action card available to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)5. Love Without Boundaries | NUTRITION |  Medical fragile children often have special dietary requirements. This initiative helps provide healing nourishment and provide proper nutrition ($10+). Love in Action card available to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)6. Samaritan’s Purse | REFUGEE RELIEF | This organization actively works on the ground, providing immediate assistance to refugees where they are. Donate to provide desperately-needed tents, heaters, food and more to displaced people ($125+). Honor Cards may be selected at checkout and sent to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)7. Samaritan’s Purse | WARM CLOTHING & FOOD | Winter is in full force, and disaster victims, refugees seeking shelter, and at-risk children all need to stay warm and dry. This initiative provides winter coats and warm shoes ($25+). Honor Cards may be selected at checkout and sent to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)8. Samaritan’s Purse | CLEAN WATER | It’s something most of us take for granted, but without access to clean water, people die from preventable diseases. Donate to provide a water filtration system to give 3,500 people access to clean water ($20+). Honor Cards may be selected at checkout and sent to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)9. Samaritan’s Purse | PROTECT VULNERABLE WOMEN | Provide literacy classes, maternal/child health education, protection and support for victims of gender-based violence, and more ($30+). Honor Cards may be selected at checkout and sent to the gift recipient of your choosing.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)

10. Samaritan’s Purse | OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD| For the last two decades, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoeboxes full of gifts, hygiene items and school supplies to more than one hundred million children around the globe. National Collection Week is over, but you can still go online and pack a virtual shoebox ($25), pay for the cost of shipping an existing box ($7),  or send an e-card to a gift recipient so he/she can build a box online ($25).

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)11. Anchor of Hope Romania | FOSTER CARE | This on-the-ground organization provides family-like environments and other vital care for orphans, abandoned children, and at-risk young people in Romania (any $ amount). To give directly to Christian & Marie Burtt, my friends who are full-time missionaries with Anchor of Hope, click here.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)12. Taiwan Xi En | HOUSE OF HOPE NURSERY | The Taiwan Xi En organization provide crisis pregnancy services for expectant mothers and nurturing care for surrendered and at-risk infants ages 0-2y in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (any $ amount),

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)13. Taiwan Xi En | SPONSOR A BABY | Commit to the care of a surrendered or at-risk infant ages 0-2y at the Taiwan Xi En Orphanage in Kaohsiung, Taiwan by providing diapers, formula, clothes, shelter and caring nannies ($50/mo).

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)14. Show Hope |  SURGERIES & MEDICAL CARE | Founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary beth, Show Hope runs several care centers in China dedicated to providing loving care — and medical help — to special needs orphans. The surgery initiative provides heart, cleft lip/palate, and other essential surgeries ($100-$10,000), while the medical care initiative ensures children receive special formula, wheelchairs, therapy, hospital care and more ($25-$1,980).

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)

15. Show Hope | EVERYDAY NECESSITIES | Each day, caring for children at the Show Hope care centers requires simple items like diapers, food, and clean drinking water. While we may take these items for granted, you can help pay for these everyday necessities ($12-$546).
20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)16. Show Hope | ADOPTION AID | Did you know more than one-third of all Americans have considered adoption, but only 2% have actually adopted? The overwhelming cost is often the biggest obstacle these families face. Show Hope’s Adoption Aid initiative assists adopting families, to overcome the financial hurdle and place children in permanent homes ($35-$5,000).

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)17. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | SPONSOR EDUCATION & MEALS | I personally know some of the people in leadership at the Adami Tulu school in Ethiopia, and have supported this wonderful organization by sponsoring a child since 2011. Each child who attends the Adami Tulu school receives not only an education but also two meals per day ($34/mo). One of the best parts? 100% is spent in Ethiopia on education, and ZERO on US administration.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)18. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | WHERE MOST NEEDED | Provide the resources necessary to expand school buildings, provide hot meals, and continue to provide education ($30-$1,000). Tuition at the school is just $1.50/month, but only 30% of students’ families can afford the tuition.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)19. Lifesong for Orphans | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS | Lifesong for Orphans’s work with adults in Ukraine and Zambia isn’t a one-time handout, but instead creates income opportunities for adults. Help provide self-sustaining businesses, like the strawberry farm shown above, with your gift of any $ amount. Select “Sustainable Business” from the dropdown.

20 Gifts that Matter, for #GIVINGTUESDAY and Everyday (via Oaxacaborn.com)20. Lifesong for Orphans | THE FORGOTTEN INITIATIVE | In the United States, a quarter of a million children enter the foster care system each year. And each year, 20,000 foster children age out without ever finding permanent families or homes. These children don’t have to be forgotten. Get involved, or donate. You can even specify that your monetary gift go to a local community near you when you select your area from the “The Forgotten Initiative Gift Preference”/”TFI Project Specific” dropdown menu here.

Christmas, Poetry & Words

Advent in Seasons of Uncertainty

Advent in Seasons of Uncertainty
Advent in Seasons of UncertaintyAdvent in Seasons of Uncertainty Advent in Seasons of Uncertainty AdventAdvent in Seasons of UncertaintyAdvent in Seasons of UncertaintyAdvent in Seasons of UncertaintyAdvent in Seasons of UncertaintyAdvent in Seasons of Uncertainty

This is from 2015, and yet, I find myself sharing it again this year,  because I find myself once again in a place of uncertainty.

Thanksgiving weekend and Advent Sunday were one this year, like sabbaths multiplied, rolling in with rest for our souls.

And in this low-flung latitude, we stayed together, worshipping in the multitude of Small Things, the blessings given, the blessings withheld until such time as our hearts might hold them, the clouds bunched up, tumbling over and over each other like eager children, walled up against nonexistent mountains, pausing before an abrupt change of mind, dashing away again before falling, like rambunctious children collapsing with laughter despite it all, because of it all, in glorious Light of it all.

And with Thanksgiving and Advent colliding, we give thanks for the gratitudes heaped upon gratitudes.

This unpredictable season, the familiar routines carried out, the sprinkling of anticipation in the air, the hope that fills our hearts against all hope — the Hope that staves off despair, the hope that fights, the hope that holds on, the hope that illuminates joy we otherwise would have passed by.

For this and much more, Father we thank Thee.
For the Hope that springs anew, we thank Thee.
For the incarnation miraculously birthed out of terrified solitude in a stranger’s land, Lord, we thank thee.

For all that we do not know, Lord, we thank Thee.

“Stability is greatly
over-rated,” sings the poet Luci Shaw,
and I listen intently, my knees pulled up to my chest.
“Why would he ever want to sit
still and smug as a rock,
confident, because of his great
weight, that he will not
be moved?
Better to be soft as water,
easily troubled, with
at least three modes
of being, able to shape-      
shift, to mirror, to cleanse,
to drift downstream,
To roar when he encounters
the rock.”
-Luci Shaw

And I see now what she means.

I see that perhaps Advent, like the First Advent, is most deeply celebrated in seasons of uncertainty.

Credits: Red Suede Toi Toi Shoes c/o Livie & Luca 

Shop online at livieandluca.com, or follow @LivieAndLuca on Instagram or on Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a pair of shoes from Livie & Luca in exchange for publishing this post. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: Fika

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Fika is essential. How else could you get through the daily slump, the brick wall, the sleepies, if not for elevensies, fika, coffee with sweets?

fika_london

Fika London, that most…design-y…of all coffee houses, gets it right with this one. (Who wants to be a dull horse?)

FIKA London, kannelbullens on a Donna Wilson plate with glass of milkAnd okay, they kinda nailed it with this one, too. Swedish kannelbullen, er, cinnamon buns, anyone?

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Fika is never consumed on the run. It’s about stopping to breathe, and recharge. [image via the Kitchn]

97aaf1d2ea96a693e74e4eca28a825a2Swedish coffee isn’t served strong, but light and thin, so you can keep on pouring refills all [long, dark] afternoon long. (image via DimeStoreVintage on Etsy)

Just don’t add egg to mine, thanks ;))

Herz Allerliebst - Coffee and Star Anise and Cinnamon and Stars
And it isn’t just coffee alone. It’s coffee + sweets. Maybe you’ll have some spiced coffee with tiny ginger stars? (Image by Herz Allerliebst, via Nadine on Flickr)

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Or maybe coffee in the prettiest enamelware (via Lagerhaus.se), and more gingerbread stars.

fika_red_enamelwareMore kannelbullen — and more enamelware, which to me is so quintessentially a part of the whole fika experience. (Image via What’s for Lunch, Honey?; Swedish kannelbullen recipe via Craft and Creativity.)

Even though it’s fast approaching the busiest time of the year, how did YOU pause for fika today?

ESPRESSO
[image via The Faux Martha; Salted Nutella Latte]

Christmas, Poetry & Words

Why Celebrations & Beauty Still Matter in a Broken World

During Advent, lighthearted festivities can conflict with the dark reality of the world. But we shouldn’t give up Christmas. You can’t fight the darkness without light.

Why Celebrations & Beauty Still Matter in a Broken WorldSometimes, people wonder how I can get behind something so trite as Christmas decorations, when I also talk about death and darkness and clinging to a thread of hope when grief colors everything. How can I talk about pretty things when there’s all this brokenness everywhere we turn? Isn’t that incongruent? Doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? Don’t I know the world is dying?

I do know. And because I know, I refuse to give in to the darkness.  I refuse to let the darkness chase us away from all the beauty.

Our God, the same God who demands justice and calls us to love mercy [1], also created beauty. The same God who calls us to defend the fatherless [2], also paints the billowing clouds with fiery indigo, told His ancient people to weave golden threads into gilded curtains and dot the tabernacle with precious stones [3], and turns snowy mountain peaks copper with every rising dawn.  If we have the eyes to notice, our heart is lifted at a solitary bloom alive in a dry and cracked sidewalk, and something in our spirit leaps at the sight of a single lit tree in the darkness, glistening in snow-covered bursts of colored light. Our deep longing for aesthetic beauty echoes the whole, complete beauty that existed in God himself before the Fall of Man. Glimmers of it shine earthside still. Every single thing of beauty on this earth hints at the beauty that waits just beyond the veil [4].

And something else await beyond the veil, too — a celebration [5].

Somewhere along the way in our journey through the monotonous tasks of living, we’ve heard whispers that to be holy is to reject the nonsense of tinsel and lights, and to be an effective servant of God we have to squelch in ourselves our deep-seated craving for beauty.  We’ve heard that to have a heart that really loves mercy, to have a heart that really broken over injustice, we should probably think twice about merrymaking. But beauty and joy and celebrations are not at all antithesis to our identity as Christians. Rather the opposite; celebrations are at the very heart of our Father God. All throughout the Bible we see, over and over and over again, this idea of gathering together in the mutual enjoyment of this wild and beautiful life. And we crave it. We crave beauty, we crave togetherness, and we crave wholeness.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense to live this way. Maybe it’s all more complicated than this. But I think my God is big enough that I don’t have to choose between beauty and truth. I think my God is big enough that I don’t have to reject the beautiful things He’s created in order to love mercy. So instead of understanding it all, I just want to embrace this mystery. The mystery of God, the mystery of this life, the mystery of serving the One who lets all these disparate things — beauty, injustice, death, love — coexist, and even, somehow, weaves them all together with redemption in a tapestry altogether glorious.

So let yourself be freed from legalism this Christmas. Let yourself be free to savor the deep, beautiful goodness of God, and drink in the wonder of His Advent, even if everyone around you is cramming in commercialism until the season nearly bursts with misunderstanding, and even as the news broadcasts keep rolling, and even as there is still work to be done.

“Here is the world”, said Frederick Buechner. “Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.” [6]

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: GRANIT and a little Swedish cabin

Oh, skandinavisk jul! (Yes, I have an obsession. But that’s okay, because that’s what this series is all about).  So let’s get the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series rolling!

Granit_advent

Every winter in October — yep, not autumn, winter — Swedish  decor (and clothing, and gardening) chain GRANIT unveils their Christmas collection. And you can just feel that arctic afternoon darkness, folding over the cabin like a wool blanket, while the cardamom and anise wash over you.

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

GRANIT_bulbs

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Want more from GRANIT? I love their Pinterest board that’s chock full of Christmas-y images like the ones above. So, so gorgeous. (And this isn’t even a sponsored post! I did say I had an obsession, right? ;))

Want to be a part of the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series? Email me at oaxacaborn@gmail.com with a URL, guest post, photo, Pinterest board, or anything else relating to Scandinavian and Nordic holiday traditions. Stay tuned for more Skandinavisk jul!