Back From Stockholm (With Good Memories & Heavy Suitcases)

Hello (or Hej in Swedish) friends! I am back from Stockholm and grinning from ear to ear. Having spent quality time with family and enjoying a beautiful and festive Stockholm gives me fantastic energy for the next few months.

Trotting the streets in Stockholm also gave me tons of design inspiration and ideas. And I brought some of that back with me home.

1. Hyacinths EVERYWHERE

Fragrant hyacinths have got to be the most popular flower plant in Sweden during the winter season. Swedes make the most pretty and inspirational Hyacinth arrangements, often with treasures from mother nature. I LOVE hyacinths myself and I can’t imagine Christmas without them.

2. Modern Rustic Gnomes

Forget cheerful elves. The Swedes prefer quiet & witty gnomes to protect their homes. And the ones you see everywhere have their funky hats pulled down over their heads and are dressed in more neutral colors. A traditional gnome with a modern twist. Of course I brought a few fellows with me home.

 3. Reindeer hides

So pretty and winter rustic. You can find them in just about every design magazine and in decorated store windows all over Sweden.

I bought my first hide for my own home. Right now it is placed over one end of my dining table. But I’m sure it will travel around to the house and serve many purposes.

I am so happy with my gorgeous reindeer hide that we now have teamed up with the Swedish company selling them. They are based 80 km north of the Arctic Circle and the family business is on its third generation offering reindeer products. (Note: The hides are by-products of the food industry).

Reindeer hides are on their way from Sweden to our store, Splendid Avenue. We will only carry a limited edition — so place your order now if you want one. I expect them to go quickly.

 I also brought home a few other things for the store:

1. Several wonderful Swedish antique engravings (some as old as the 17th century)

2. Charming Swedish tile stoves (kakelugn) tea-light holders

I found this handmade beauty in the Old Town of Stockholm.

Tile stoves have a long history in Sweden. In the 1700’s, due to concerns over dwindling wood supplies in Sweden, two Swedes came up with a new energy efficient design (the internationally renowned “Kakelugn”) and by the late 1700’s Sweden had become famous for its cosy indoor temperatures.  Apart from providing an excellent source of heat, the “kakelugn” is also an object of great beauty.

The tea-light holder is made of ceramic by the talented artist Katarina Andersson and is as close to a real Swedish “kakelugn” as we will get here in the US!

3. Swedish Moccasins

Ok, I used to wear non-slip moccasins when I was a kid! And all my own children wore them. But none of them have been as cute as these Mocklis moccasins! All handmade in Sweden, with fun and unique patterns. We are super thrilled to now be carrying them in our store! (We will have them in stock around Dec. 10th).

Other than that I came home with tons of Swedish candy, clothes, home decor, food items, gifts, deodorant (US deodorants suck!), but most importantly loads of fun and precious memories.

Gigantic hugs to: Erik, Olle, Gunilla, Sanne, Anki, Sussi, Camilla, Sara, Adde, Monica, Petra & Anna.

You are the best and most beautiful friends!

This is my daughter Frida on our last day in Sweden. Surrounded by glorious, quiet, white snow!

Now switching gears from Sweden to Seattle… If you are interested in learning about my favorite winter holiday activities in Seattle, I invite you to my good friend Barbara’s Blog — HausDesign.

You can read my guest post here. And say hello to Ms. Barbara too! She is one lovely lady and friend. I am so glad that she moved to my city (after spending a few years in Germany).  Her blog is jam packed with beautiful home inspiration. That girl has excellent taste!

There you have it. A whirlwind trip to Sweden and now I am back in Seattle, busy decorating for the holidays! Thank you for tuning in. I look forward to hearing what you have been up to.

Hugs to you all. It is good to be back.


Written by Splendid Willow in: My Home,Store News,The Best of Sweden |


Off To Stockholm & Sending You Warm Thoughts

(Pretty, vintage LV luggage as a nightstand).

The bags are close to packed. My daughter Frida (10) and I are off to Sweden to spend quality time with family and close friends (leaving Tuesday). I can’t wait to be back to Stockholm and to watch Frida take it all in! (She has not been back in 3 years). I will be stepping away from my computer for ten days and doing nothing but living in the moment. I promise to bring back a couple of treats and lots of design inspiration for all of you.

Though I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving in Sweden I will be thinking of each and everyone of you and will be sending you warm thoughts and lots of good energy.

I might be gone but the store will still be open. Ewa and team will be plowing through these busy times so don’t worry about making them work harder! (Smiles!)

We are adding Holiday items all the time.

We have stocked up on Nordic style fabric ornaments.

Brand new are these fabulous, naturally shed reindeer antlers bottle openers from Finland. Functional and decorative. The perfect hostess gift and stocking stuffer.

Upon request, the happy cotton pig and the cuddly reindeer are back in stock! (Kids and adults love these Danish Toys).

The beautiful linen napkins (100% organic Belgian linen) are finally coming in (next week).

I am bringing back more beautiful “Gotland” pelts from Sweden. If you want one, you might want to have one reserved. They go quickly.

The preserved boxwood wreaths are literally flying off the shelves. They are so easy and fun to decorate with.

And lots and lots more. Take a stroll down the Avenue if you have a moment! Visit our store here.

Ok, that’s it. I will miss you all. Please, save some fun stories for me when I get back!

Warm hugs to you all.

Image no. 1 via The Inspired Room.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Store News |


Shopping & Inspiration Destinations

Ha ha!!

Ok, ready for some fun & useful cyber hopping/shopping?

First jump is to my amazing friend Tina over at The Enchanted Home. She has invited a group of great and creative bloggers & entrepreneurs to her blog today and is having each of them share a couple of great gifts for the holidays. Now, we are talking Gifts Galore, folks! Personal and inspirational. Perhaps this will be the only gift inspiration you need. I am honored to be part of this fun group and be asked to highlight a couple of favorite items from my own store, Splendid Avenue. Hop over to Tina’s blog — here  – and enjoy all the ideas!

I plan to do a little shopping myself over at Tina’s store. I think an old, pretty dough tray will be coming home to MOI soon! I will place large pine cones and glass bulbs in mine as a holiday display but the tray is so versatile and can be used for many things. (If you decide to buy after seeing this, please remember to say hi to beautiful Tina from me!)

My dear friend Marianne called me yesterday to tell me that the Ilse Jacobsen boots we carry are featured in TradHome with a link to our store.

What a nice surprise! It made me extra happy since I am already a fan of the magazine. A must read for sure!

Another MUST read is House Of Fifty. I have plugged Janell’s magazine many times and I am very impressed with where she is taking her passion and talent and how she leads a wonderful design community. I have had a chance to hang out with this brilliant lady, blogger, designer and Founding Editor and I love her! What you see is what you get with Janell.

New for the House Of Fifty is that it now costs a tiny amount to read it (a lot goes into publishing a nice magazine). $1.50 is the cost to read the magazine on your computer/MAC (and .99 cents at ITunes). It is worth every cent. (You pay per issue). The magazine is packed with great ideas, tips and great sources for the the holiday season.

And if you buy the magazine you will see our store ad with a discount code which gives you 15% off any merchandise in our store, Splendid Avenue. Take advantage of it because we have lots of great new things, with holiday spirit in mind!

Happy hopping & Happy Weekend!

P.S One more blog post and then I am off to Sweeeeeden! Wihoo to family and friends back home — I can’t wait to see and hug you all again!!!!!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Store News |


Inspirational Decor For The Holidays

Since I will be in Stockholm, Sweden during Thanksgiving, my mind has traveled straight to Christmas and all the fun decor for the winter Holidays (great ideas whether you celebrate Christmas or not).

While out cold last week (Thank you for all your well wishes. You are a dear bunch.) I comforted myself with several great magazines and page after was was ripped out.

Here are some of my favorite and most inspirational decor ideas:

1. Advent calendar with ornaments

What a nice idea! Make your own calendar and place small, personal ornaments in a large bowl. Let the kids hang one ornament on the home made calendar per day. Beats candy! (The calendar is made from a gray painted board attached to a vintage window frame. White cup hooks hold manila shipping tags, numbered with stickers).

2. One pretty, over-sized wreath on a mirror

= Immediate holiday impact

3. Cocoa Hot Spot

I have never tried but I might just need to for the kiddos and their friends.

4. Vintage sheet music wreath

Make a personal wreath with vintage sheet music. (Roll sheet music into cones. Hot glue the cones to a wreath form that you make from sturdy cardboard).

5. Black + Silver

Silver looks amazing with candles, greenery, simple pine cones and a plate of satsumas!

6. Guest room decor

Our own guests will be able to admire a pretty Rosemary plant (or  small pine tree) in a burlap sack on their bedside tables.

7.  Restraint is key!

Your eye can’t focus on anything if you decorate too much!

8. Tree loveliness

I so wish this tree was mine. (A mix of old, new and handmade ornaments). So very pretty, pretty. And the settee too!

9. Wool blanket and Pomegranates

Ok, this idea I will copy one day. Layer an old wool blanket under the cross stitched linen table cloth (I have that very same one at home! Bought it 6 years ago).

And again, how pretty is this simple decor idea with red, handsome pomegranates, and a tad of greenery in a glass cookie stand. Will copy this idea too!

10. HGTV Magazine – December 2012

For more terrific Holiday decor, hurry out and buy HGTV Magazine’s December issue (out now) and turn to page 130. My dear friend Marianne welcomes readers into her Christmas decorated home. I know her lovely home well and I run over there frequently! So proud of her!!! 7 P.A.G.E.S of  Holiday Decor Inspiration from this designer maven!!! Go, Marianne, go!!

Hugs to you all!

Images scanned via BHG Christmas Idesa (2012) and Country Home Holiday 2012. Last image via HGTV Magazine Dec. 2012.


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


Ordering From My Bed…

The flu entered our home and boy did it hit us hard. Kids have been taking turns being home from school for days at a time (I don’t know when I got some fresh air last) and now I’ve got it too. I have not been t h i s  sick for 15 years. But that is of course peanuts compared to what so many of my my friends and partners are going through on the East Coast. (And now I understand another storm is on its way.) My heart goes out to all of you. Thinking of you and sending you all good energy. They need all the help they can get over there. The Red Cross is a good venue for offering some financial support. That is the least I could do. (See this as a friendly reminder).

Well, being stuck under the covers allowed me some minimal shopping time.

First I shopped for air tickets to Sweden. My 10 year old Frida and I are hopping over to spend some quality time with my Mom and close family and friends. We are leaving in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait! Hoping to show Frida a Holiday decorated (and hopefully snowy) Stockholm! So genuine and pretty. (Let me know if I can get any of you anything from the old Homeland).

I have been looking EVERYWHERE for some handsome Christmas stockings. I found these burlap ones today and placed my order (before you discovered them!). Understated and pretty, I hope. (I will let you know when I receive them). Lined too. And affordable. I found them here.

I ordered all different ones.

I have been shivering like crazy and I told Hubby yesterday — “I only want one thing for Christmas. A stylish water bottle/warmer!” Yep! I like it warm and I have a feeling all family members will be fighting over this handsome Canadian Hudson’s Cashmere Hot Water Bottle (based on the iconic Canadian blanket) during the cold winter months.

That is all you will be getting from me today. Stay away from the Flu. It is a bad one this year.

Hugs to you all.

 Image no. 1 Comic Strip.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Home Goods & Accessories |

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