Long Patriotic Summer Weekend

Hello friends! Summer is in full swing here but I have to admit that I find it very hard to sit in front of the computer with my back turned to my 3 young, sweet kids. (That is not how I want them to remember their summer!). I am going to try my hardest to make both my family and my readers happy but you will see me taking longer blog breaks than usual. I hope you don’t mind.

On Sunday we are celebrating 4th of July here in the US. Our independence day. Complete with social activities, BBQ and patriotic themes.

We will be celebrating with our dear friends Bianca and Clemens who are so good at throwing really fun & lively parties for friends and family. They just moved into a gigantic house up on lush green hill were it is absolutely peaceful and quiet and yet, this is the view from their living room! You can almost touch the city of Bellevue through their living room panorama windows! A prime spot for fire works!

I don’t know how creative I will be with dishes and decorations for the party but here are some things that even I can pull off in my lazy summer state of mind!

The only decoration I am fiercely loyal to and do every year at my own house is to hang these handmade patriotic paper lanterns by Bethany Lowe in our old chandelier. It does not get much easier than that!

Happy weekend to all my readers! And Happy Fourth to my US friends!

Hope the sun is shining bright on all of you!

Images: 1, 3 5, 8 and 9 via Flickr, 2, 10-14 via Martha Stewart Living, 4 and 6 via Allt om Mat, 7, 15 and 16 via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations |


Great Gifts For Father’s Day

June 20th. Just around the corner! That is the day when we celebrate Father’s day here in the US.

I have only great memories of my own father, who passed away way too early (when I was 14 years old). In my heart I remember him as a very hard working,  intelligent,  generous and family oriented person with a good sense of humor and an always positive attitude. My parents were immigrants and were clearly very different than the parents in the ritzy part of Stockholm where I grew up. Growing up I always felt like an outsider. But maybe that is exactly what I needed to become strong and independent and to learn to not be afraid of things or people who are different.

Much later in life I found my soul mate – the love of my life. And as no surprise to myself  – he is very much like my own father! So, the goodness continues.

A couple of years ago – on Father’s day – I started placing a framed photo of my father on the kitchen table next to some beautiful flowers. And I told my children about their Grandfather. This year I will do the same with Peter’s father who passed away 12 years ago and who I never had the opportunity to meet and love. It is about time that they meet! I know that our fathers would have gotten a long wonderfully. They are probably talking about us now!

We only do little things on Father’s day at our house. But we do make sure that family quality time with Dad (the best on the planet – I insist!) gets highest priority. A good brunch is a given, small handmade gifts and cards from the kids and a small little gift from me. I have not made up my mind yet but here are some good gift candidates:

1) A membership to a local wine tasting class. (Hey, I would only benefit from that!)

2. A good quality key holder or wallet. Something that only looks better overtime. (Yes, go ahead. You may call me a snob when it comes to small leather goods!)

Key holder: Tod’s via Neiman Marcus

Wallet: Ferragamo

3. A backyard hammock. (It would quickly turn into everybody else’s favorite spot!). This one from LL Bean.

4. Electric salt & pepper mills. (My husband is so good with the pots & pans!). Via Williams-Sonoma.

5. Monogrammed BBQ tools (hey, why not!). Via Williams-Sonoma.

6. A Thermometer fork. Via Williams-Sonoma.

7. Stieg Larsson’s best selling books.  My Swedish contribution!

Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a Swedish writer and journalist. Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004 he finished three detective novels in his trilogy “The Millenium-series” which were published posthumously; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.

Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries (spring of 2010), and he was the second bestselling author in the world 2008. Also, if you have a chance see the movie – the Swedish, original one. It is fantastic!

Anything good you have up the sleeve and would like to share? Don’t be shy now! We are all looking for great gift ideas!

Photo credit: Image 1. Flickr, Image 2. Weheartit, Image 3. Flickr, Image 4. Unknown (sorry!),  Image. 10+ 11 stieglarsson.com

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


Happy Memorial Day Weekend

We have a long and much appreciated Memorial Day Weekend ahead of us here in the US. I look forward to spending quality time with my loved one – and to smell the flowers!

I am signing off now (lunch time US west coast time!). I will be back on Tuesday.

Happy weekend to you all!

Image via Dandelion & Grey.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations |


A Butterfly Connects With A Mother To Be

Happy Mother’s day to all wonderful, loving, hard working and nurturing Moms out there. And to all daughters of mothers – and mothers to be!

One of my very best friends on the planet – lovely Gunilla in Sweden, is expecting her first little bundle of joy in July. I am so thrilled, I can hardly contain myself. And I am planning to fly over to Sweden to be part of the joyous event!

Gunilla sent me this image just a few days ago. She was out walking with a friend on a glorious Spring day in Stockholm when all of a sudden a beautiful butterfly started to flap its fragile wings in front of Gunilla. She slowly opened her jacket and the butterfly landed on her big belly (only 10 more weeks to go!). Her friend quietly pulled out the camera, but the butterfly was very content and still did not move. In silence they both stood for quite a while until the butterfly decided it was time to lift its wings.

If that is not a sign of nature’s miracles in harmony – then I do not know what is.

Happy, loving weekend to you all!

Don’t forget about my giveaway – here. It ends on Wednesday May 12th.

Image no. 1 via Just be splendid. Second + third private. Image no. 4 via Flickr. Last image via Bernie Kasper.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations |


Easter Decorations At My House

Good Monday morning friends! Easter is just around the corner but don’t expect me to go overboard with the decorations. I prefer Easter celebrations & decorations in smaller doses. The children will get their large old-fashioned eggs (well of course!), we will color eggs, host a fun & lively Easter dinner with great friends and the Easter bunny will make a guest appearance. That is pretty much it.

In Sweden at this time of the year you will see all outdoor markets flooded with spring branches decorated with feathers in every color under the sun – literally. Together with the Easter eggs (non plastic) that is pretty much the only decorations you will see in a Swedish home for Easter. (And yes the children will dress up like old witches too and collect candy from home to home, similar to Halloween.)

The feather clad spring branches tradition has still not made it into my home. Don’t ask me why. I love the idea and I have fond childhood memories but it just doesn’t work for me.

This year I decided to create my own unique Easter branch decor. Don’t laugh. And please don’t feel sorry for the book (it was falling apart anyway).

So, I found a lovely large branch on one of the beaches of Bainbridge Island. I put it in the trunk of the car and brought it home.  Once there though I felt it was too dark… For some odd reason one of my old Swedish books caught my attention and I knew I had the solution.  I marched down to Michael’s (Leading US craft store chain) and asked for decoupage glue. (No, not really. I gave them my whole idea and story with vivid gestures until they understood what I was looking for). They handed me acid free Paper Mud Podge. (It is now my new best friend!).

At home, I ripped out the pages from my old book and started to decorate each branch. Every single inch. And Voila! – my dark branch now has a fresh (brighter) look.  I hung my simple  Easter decorations in it and feel quite content with my own little Easter branch tree. (My husband thought I was crazy but I think it is growing on him).

Every Easter I also bring out these lovely handmade sheep that so much remind me of my long summers as a child on Gotland (a fantastic Swedish island in the Baltic Sea). They are made by a local artist in WA state and I absolutely adore them. I found them at a lovely store in Seattle/Bellevue, a visit often, called Common Folk Co.

The only Easter decorations meeting my guests in my hallway is Wheat Grass in a simple pot and a small bird and nest.

Ok, dear friends, any fun decorations you want to share with us? We are all ears & want to learn!

Hugs to you all.

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

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