My Swedish Candy Store

Hello friends. Yesterday it started snowing in Seattle! Just what I needed to get into the winter holiday spirit!

Wonderful & generous designer/blogger extraordinaire Linda Merrill with the Surroundings is clearly ahead of me when it comes to creative ideas & winter holiday inspiration. She invited some of her design and blog friends to share their personal tips and ideas. I was one of them and I am truly honored to be part of a group with so many creative minds. Linda put it all together beautifully in her E-magazine Holiday Issue. Make sure to read the tips here.

In my post for the magazine I mentioned a tradition we have every year at my own house. Right before Christmas I open up the doors to my old Swedish 18th c. secretaire, decorate it nicely and fill it with tons of treats. Let me tell you, there is constant commotion in that part of the house! And the kids have named the cabinet the “Candy Store”.

When will the candy store open for real? That was a burning question at my house last week when I started to decorate for Linda’s article and then abruptly closed the doors to every one’s disappointment!

More sweet homemade treats and real fir wreaths will be added to the cabinet before the doors will officially open!

Store hours: Come back the week after Thanksgiving. Open between 2 pm and 10 pm. Self serving. But leave room for dinner. (A thick red tape will adorn the doors after hours).

Happy new week to you all!

All images of interiors via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations,My Home |


Thanksgiving Ideas & Inspiration

10 days left to Thanksgiving and I’m just starting to prepare a tiny bit. Usually we fly to California and hang out with Peter’s huge family (think 50 happy people!) but this year we are staying close to home. Low-key it will be — but the food will be gourmet (my husband is cooking!).

Here are are few things going on in my house (and in my head) before the big day. Yes, we have the fine china and the crystal and all of that. But I’ll tell you, if I had to pick just a couple things for the table, the iron squirrels (my husband refers to the kids a his squirrels), for placement cards, (I always make my own) and the old gravy boat from Sweden my Mom once gave me. Nothing expensive and fancy — just sentimental.

And a must for every major holiday is linen napkins. No skimping there, regardless of the number of guests. And for a little presentation, I found these feather bouquets at Michael’s ($2.99/each). They are padded in the back and I think they are going to last for years. I just tied a simple leather string around the arrangement. Nothing complicated nor phony. (I have never really cared for napkin rings. What do you think?).

For the dining table I fill a couple of large glass hurricanes with fresh chestnuts and just a few bud vases with flowers spread over the long table. I usually skip a flower center piece entirely. (Everyone should get some flowers in front of them!).

Some other ideas brewing in my head:

Gourds are always beautiful to use as decoration. I almost like them more than pumpkins.

Perhaps a little bit of decoration on the mantel. I can do that.

Some new additions to the traditional menu.

How about some truffled potatoes instead of that mandatory mash? Simple & good with sea salt on.

For receipe go here.

I am really liking my dear friend Ewa’s turkey stuffing. With mushrooms in it. My hubby can fight with the bird — this dish I will own!

For the recipe go here.

These balsamic glazed onions would also add a different flavor to that old turkey.

For recipe go here.

And for the grand final. I am thinking this pumpkin mousse would be a winner. (But I have to fight my hubby over that because he’s an old school pumpkin pie type). I have never tried it but it looks delicious!

Go here for the recipe.

And here is a good & practical thing for your food loving guests! Prepare some pretty food-to-go containers in advance. Smart!

Happy new week to you all!

Images: No. 1, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 via Country Living, no. 2 via Sweet Paul, no. 3-6 via Splendid Willow, no. 10 via Sunday Suppers, no. 11 via Delishhh.

Written by Splendid Willow in: DIY,Flowers & Ideas for the table,Holidays & Celebrations | Tags:


Halloween Treats & Projects

Hello new week!

Halloween is just around the corner, friends. I have my tree ready, the costumes are ready (1 statue of liberty, 1 Dorothy and 1 firefighter!) and tomorrow I am going to decorate our main entrance. That leaves me with a couple of weeks to come up with some edible Halloween treats and perhaps one more project… I found all these lovely ideas in the latest issue of Country Living. I am saying YES! to all of them!

I am so trying these silhouette cupcakes (the silhouettes are done with rubber stamps and black food coloring pressed onto “fondants”).

Or if I am too optimistic, I can at least make these bat or spider web cup cakes (the webs are so easy!).

Not for this year, but a collection of b/w plates as a back drop for a Halloween table would be fun to have. And these mini brooms as place card holders can be made without too much effort.

I am seriously contemplating making these ghosts to hang in the large drum chandelier over our kitchen table. They are made out of cheesecloth, soaked in fabric stiffener, and draped over small balloons (once dry, the balloons are popped). Aren’t they so friendly and cute!

A great way to decorate pumpkins, if carving is too intimidating, is to use stencils with black paint/marker.

Both decorative and tasty – roasted pumpkin seeds (perhaps seasoned with a salty blend).

First image via Nuska. All decorations and treats via Country Living.

Happy, happy to you all!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations,Party Ideas |


My Weekend Halloween Project

Hello new week!

A busy but fun weekend (I miss you Kendra!) over at our household (incl. 4 family members hit with a nasty bug) but I still had a little bit of time to finish a humble project in preparation for Halloween. I was totally inspired by this image from the Pottery Barn catalog.

Do you remember my Easter Project, when I (to my husband’s confusion) wrapped an entire branch in pages from an old book? (Decoupage). I have gotten so much use out of that large branch!

So, inspired by Pottery Barn (and perhaps also by lovely Erin’s chandelier!) I ripped out some more pages of that, by now, well used book and went to work equipped with stencils, stickers, ribbons etc. and created my very own personal Halloween ornaments.

I used a special tag stencil for this ornament. And glued the book paper on each side.

Perhaps not the fanciest Hallowee tree in town, but personal and made with a lot of love! And I had fun doing it. The cat stencil is my favorite of them all! ( I used a black marker to fill in the color). Make sure to re-enforce the hole where the ribbon goes through, so it won’t rip.

A handsome snow owl from one of my favorite gift shops in Seattle — Common Folk Co.

I found the crows on sale at a party supply store for $1.99/each. The glass vase is very tall and I plan to fill it with more mini pumpkins.

Hope you enjoyed it! What about you — are you working on any fun Halloween projects?

Written by Splendid Willow in: DIY,Holidays & Celebrations | Tags:


I Am Off To Sweden


Hello friends, hope you had a fun weekend! I have been puttering around my house, enjoying my family & friends and shopping and packing for my trip to Sweden (sans family!). When you read this I will already/almost be on my way to beautiful Stockholm!

Some wonderful & talented blog friends will be covering for me on the two different trips I am making this summer. They will send you personal blog postcards from some of their favorite places and share some great tips that you do not want to miss! 

Meanwhile, I will be busy stomping and hopping (or spinning as my husband would say!) around in three areas in Stockholm (and everything in between).

No. 1Ostermalm, a neighborhood in the very heart of Stockholm and where my dear mother lives. This area is beautiful, quaint and filled with wonderful parks, great shopping and fabulous restaurants and cafes. This is also the district for some of the best antique stores in Stockholm.

No. 2Lidingo. A beautiful island right outside of Stockholm (connected by a bridge) and where I grew up. This was a wonderful place to spend childhood. Country living at its best and yet only minutes away from the city. Several of my closest friends still live (or have moved back) to Lidingo (and I would do the same if we ever decided to move back to Sweden!). I know every rock on this green island.

There is a beautiful world renowned sculpture museum on Lidingo, well worth a visit, called Millesgarden. I pay a visit almost every time I/we go on vacation to Sweden.

No. 3Sodermalm. Yet another great neighborhood in the city. And this is where I will be staying, in an attic apartment belonging to my x-boyfriend of many years, one of my closest friends, and now also a close friend of Peter’s! (Yes, try to figure that one out if you can. Haha!).

Sodermalm is one of the more vibrant and happening neighborhoods in Stockholm and with the relatively new “SoFo”, this area now has a NY-feel atmosphere, packed with great shops by Swedish designers and tons of fun bars and restaurants.

This is also the area where my dear and very close girlfriend Gunilla, who is expecting her first baby any day now, lives! She is one of the key reasons why I decided to book my trip at this time. Gunilla, I am so looking forward to seeing you as the proud and most loving Mom, I know you will be!

I can’t begin to tell you about my hectic schedule and all the things (and family & friends!) that I have managed to cram into 9 days. But rest assured, I will be coming back loaded with photos, many new memories, a big smile on my face, and some fun things to share with you!

I will miss you all. I will be back again August 6th.

But do know that you will be well entertained by some of my talented blog friends while I am gone. Stop by and say hello.

Images: 1. via Weheartit, 2. Unknown, 3. Flickr, 4. Via Älvsjö Mässan, 5. Via Flickr, 6. Via Flickr, 7. Via Millegarden, 8, Via Flickr, 9. Via here, 10. Via here, 11. Via Flickr, 12. Via Weheartit

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations,The Best of Sweden |

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