5 Odd Midsummer Traditions for the Uninitiated Foreigner

Midsummer {Midsommar}, was this past Friday. It is a national holiday hailed as the first day of summer and a reason to eat fish and get wasted.

It is also, for the uninitiated, a very crazy day. I didn’t want to spoil the fun for those of you who celebrated your first midsommar this past weekend, so I waited until today to share the list of crazy things Swedes do at the festivities.

When I celebrated my first midsummer in Sweden, I really had no idea what to expect. I had been warned though that the Swedes will drink a lot, eat a lot, and sing a lot. What I was not prepared for, was passing out after four shots of nubbe {aquavit} because the cowboy doctor (he was a Swedish doctor with a cowboy hat) claimed I need proper initiation.

And then, I passed out for thirty minutes, only to awake to people still singing and drinking!

Of course later on, we danced and danced, played games, and ate some more.

From that experience and those over the years, here is my list of five strange things Swedes do. And, believe me, you’ll enjoy them once you get over the shock!

1. Sing about frogs – That’s right, you dance around a phallic symbol and dance like frogs. If you have not performed this tradition, you have not had a proper midsommar.

2. Dance around a phallic object – So the cross made from leaves, branches, and flowers represent the penis and the two round hoops represent, well, balls. As in most pagan customs, the phallic symbol represents fertility and strength. Cheers to fertile froggies!

3. Taste every type of pickled herring ever made – Mustard herring, onion herring, garlic herring, sour cream herring, spiced herring, dill herring, mixed herring, and on the list goes!

4. Sing all the time – For that matter, midsummer seems to be the day that Swedes not only get outdoors, but they get out their vocal chords. You sing to toast, you sing to eat, you sing to drink, you sing to eat, you sing to toast, you sing to dance. You SING!!! If you have a terrible voice, this is probably the time to mindlessly mumble to yourself since chances are, you don’t know the words to the songs anyway.

5. Seven flowers – Actually I think this is rather sweet. Collect seven different flowers and place them under your pillow. It is said you will dream about your future spouse. All the single ladies find some flowers.

There are plenty of delicious strawberries for dessert and silly songs to be had, but the Swedish midsommar is by far a fun and happy holiday. If you want to have your own midsummer at home, it is easy too, check out my post on DIY midsummer.

Do you have a strange tradition during midsommar? We would love to hear about it!

Happy Semlordag, Fettisdag, and Mardi Gras

Oh yes, today is one of those marvelous days in Sweden when we celebrate a day dedicated to a dessert. What country in the world has a cinnamon roll day, a waffle day, and a semla day?

Sweden rocks when it comes to sweets and treats.

Last year, my girlfriends and I did the dirty deed of eating lots of semlor from bakeries around Stockholm so you didn’t have to. It was a real tragedy. Semlor, champagne, cheese, life is hard.

If you are in Stockholm make sure you check out our Best of Semlor list. Swedes buy enough semlor today to feed half the country. It is an awesome day so don’t miss it.

Not in Stockholm? Comment below with your favorite bakery for semlor and I will create a post for the best semlor in Sweden.

For the bakers and adventurous type, check out my semlor recipe. There is nothing more delicious than homemade semlor with your favorite filling.

Now it’s time for me to bake a batch and get The Swede his filling of semlor for the year.

Happy baking!

Stockholms Bästa Kanelbullar {Best Cinnamon Buns in Stockholm}

Kanelbullensdag {cinnamon bun day} is tomorrow. Founded in 1999 by Hembakningsrådets to celebrate its own 40th anniversary, the cinnamon roll became the symbol of delicious homemade bread.

Swedish kanelbullar differ from American cinnamon rolls in that the Swedish versions are bready, not very sweet, flavored with cardamon and cinnamon, and sprinkled with pearl sugar. They are usually baked as individual pieces.

American cinnamon rolls are baked together, the rolls rise next to each and stick. They have a brown sugar and cinnamon filling and are topped with icing, buttercream, or cream cheese frosting. Think of Cinnabon on less crack for the typical American version.

Thanks to friends on Twitter, I went to four bakeries in Stockholm that claim to have the best kanelbullar in Stockholm.

Porbjórn and I tasted each one and reviewed them. The top bullar were nearly a tie and really up to personal preference of gooey, yeasty, cinnamony, enough cardamom, and fluffiness.

All the bullar are worth tasting and hail from different districts in the city. Go outside, smell the yeasty goodness, and eat a bulle. For a fika, for breakfast, or just because, you should eat one.


One of the classic bakeries of Stockholm known for their semlor, afternoon tea, and funky tables and chairs, Vetekatten doesn’t disappoint. The bullar were soft, gooey, and cinnamon-y (that is now a word).

Vetekatten’s kanelbullar are baked in muffin tins and wrapped in waxed paper. Opening one is like opening a little present, just for you.

Rating: 4 stars

For making the largest bullar ever, Saturnus doesn’t deliver on the freshness. Too often do the buns become dry and hard after sitting on the counter the entire day waiting for a customer to eat them. When they’re fresh and hot, they are delicious, otherwise not.

Rating: 2 stars
Lisa’s Cafe

Tucked away in SoFo, is a tiny little cafe reminiscing of the past years. Lisa’s cafe is a family owned business and you may meet Lisa or the hilarious grandson. Their kanelbullar are weaved, like soft pretzels, so you can tear off a little piece for every bite.

Their bullar are soft, sweet, and cinnamon-y. If they out too long though, the edges become hard but the inside gets soft, offering a veritable pretzel experience.

Lisa’s Cafe boasts that it has the best bullar in the city. And we agree. They are the best!

Rating: 4 stars
One of the oldest bakeries in the city, Gunnarssons lies along the hustle and bustle of Götgatan in Södermalm. From 16hr onwards, you can expert it to be a zoo and on a day like today, mass chaos.

Gunnarssons overall has good fresh bread, cakes, treats, and cookies. Recently it seems their over-popularity is contributing to uneven results. Sometimes I get an amazing kanelbullar, sometimes not. The bullar can have too much cardamom at times, but if cardamom is your thing, then you’ll be happy.

Rating: 3 stars

If you can avoid the bullar from grocery stores, 7-Eleven, and Pressbyrån (not that they’re bad, just not amazing), then you will get a great bulle.

And no, most cafes don’t discount for kanelbullendags as I naïvely thought when I celebrated my first one in Sweden.

If you have a recipe that you want to share, post it below, I only know American style bulle.

Have a Swedish Midsommar at Home

Whether you’re in Sweden or far away across the globe, you can celebrate midsommar, the Swedish way. Perhaps minus the mind-blowing-drunkenness.

You can always cheat and head to one of the Swedish missions holding a midsommar party Saturday afternoon. I know NYC, London are definitely hosting parties with a maypole and picnic.

But if you want to celebrate at home with friends, setting up for midsommar is pretty easy.

1. Find a few Swedes. You’ll be thankful you have them when it comes time to singing små grodorna and other silly songs.

2. Make flower wreaths. Find seven flowers and make yourself a halo to have on your head. Girls only!

3. Foodwise – The good thing about cooking for midsommar is the food is not time consuming, there’s just a lot of stuff.
– Gravad Lax – also known as ‘lox’

– Salmon – to bake in the oven with some cream, chives, dill. Alternatively, grill with a dash of lemon and dill.

– Grill-able meats – I mean real meat, NOT hot dogs or any of that shit. Nice medallions of pork or steak seasoned the way you like.

– Fresh potatoes – buy the freshest potatoes at the farmers market. The grocery store won’t give you the quality. These potatoes take 10-15 minutes to boil (add dill to the water). Serve whole with or without the skin.

– Herring {sill}- Can be found in jars at a speciality supermarket. Not a fish fish person? Then skip it.

– Strawberries {jordgubbar} – Midsommar isn’t complete without a bowl of fresh strawberries served up with homemade whipped cream and ice cream. Alternatively, make a midsommartårta.

– Cheese and hard bread {knäckbröd} – to keep the people from starving, serve a plate of cheeses and hard breads.

4. Drinks {dryck} – Rhubarb and elderflower {fläder} are two of the most popular summer fruits. Find some elderflower extract and mix with pureed rhubarb and bubble water. Serve with or without alcohol.

As for alcoholic beverages, midsommar is built on schnapps {aquavit}. The best is OP Andersson and for a more floral flavor, get Fläder aquavit. Some supermarkets sell aquavit but check your local IKEA.

Once you have the basics covered, feel free to add more side dishes, vegetarian dishes and meat dishes. Dessert should consist of any berry to be kosher Swedish.

When you set the table, be sure to add vases of flowers and go local or pick your own. The beauty of midsommar is celebrating summer and what it has to offer, not buying roses flown in from Argentina.

Most importantly, have fun and eat outside at a park!!!

Kristi Himmelsfärds Dag {Ascension Day} in Sweden

Today Christ ascends to heaven in one of Christianity’s ecumenical feasts.

In Sweden, today is a red day and most Swedes enjoy a long weekend with proper spring weather.

Ascension of Christ by Garofalo, 1520.

According to the Swedish Church, Ascension Day has been celebrated for hundreds of years:
“Ascension Day has been celebrated since 300’s. It always fall on the Thursday 40 days after Easter Sunday. The date varies depending on when Easter Sunday falls, but is Ascension day always is on or after May 1st and before June 4th. In the Middle Ages, there were often dramas performed along with an Ascension game. They wanted to portray Christ’s physical leave of the Earth in a spiritual way.

Jesus leaves the earth
At Easter, we have the large Easter candle, the symbol of life’s triumph over death. On Ascension Day, the candle is blown out as a symbol of Jesus leaving the world. We celebrate this with an open-air church service, often at dawn to hear the birds sign brightly in the morning.
{via the swedish church}

What will most Swedes be doing? I’m guessing drinking beer and being solar panels.

Easter Traditions in Sweden & The United States

It’s Easter weekend {Påskhelg} and for the Swedes, we began the celebrations/penance yesterday, Good Friday. Easter in Sweden is like many other holidays in Sweden, a mix of Christian, secular, and mythological traditions.

If you would like to have to a traditional Easter in Sweden, it doesn’t veer too far off from American traditions, just add witches and burning pyres.

Confused now? Waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up? He won’t; he’s dead to Sweden, but here is how we celebrate the coming spring (if it happens) and the crucification of Jesus.

Easter in Sweden

  • Easter traditions begin with Fettisdagen {Shrove Tuesday} where Swedes eat the sweet, almond-filled buns called semlor.
  • Candy is a major part of the celebration leading to Easter. Swedes love the lösgodis; chocolates, licorice, or gummies. Americans have the microwave exploding Peeps and jelly beans while the Brits have chocolate Easter eggs filled with more chocolates and Candbury cream eggs.

    And yes, Swedes do consume the most candy per capita in the world.

  • On Skärtorsdagen {Maudy Thursday}, young children dress up as påskkärringar {Easter witches/hags} and go door to door begging for candy and treats with a copper kettle. Little girls dresses up in rags and old clothes, oversized skirts and shawls.
  • It was also on Skärtorsdagan that the witches flew to the magical island called Blåkulla to consort with the Devil. The witches returned to their dens on Saturday and families burned pyres to ward off them off from cursing their homes and lands.

    Europe, during the mid 1600s, battled for religious power across the continent with fervor spreading throughout the continent and abroad. From 1668 to 1676, Sweden was immersed in large witch hunts and executions of them. The Blåkulla fable rapidly spread through the country to warn of witches and caste them from society. Across the pond in the US a mere twenty years later, New England was embroiled in the Salem witch trials.

  • For decoration, birch twigs have brightly colored feathers on the end and placed in vases around the house. According to ancient beliefs, birch twigs hastened the onset of the spring season.
  • Families also paint eggs and put them out for display. However, the selection of pretty stamps and stencils and colors to dye eggs is dismal.
  • Young children partake in an egg hunt with little papper eggs filled with lösgodis {loose bin candy} on Påskafton {Saturday}. It is not common for communities or large groups to do the hunt; this is more of a family affair.
  • Traditional Easter lunch consists of various flavored sill {pickled herring}, cured salmon and Jansson’s Temptation. The table is often laid like a traditional smörgåsbord.
  • At Easter dinner, families eat roast lamb with potatoes au gratin, asparagus (if the season has started), and other fresh spring vegetables (i.e. potatoes and carrots).

Easter in the United States

  • Children participate in large egg hunts to find colorful plastic eggs filled with chocolate.
  • Easter Friday is a somber day to acknowledge the crucification of Jesus. Jews observe the first day of Passover with a sedar.
  • Families decorate eggs and fill the house with spring flowers like tulips and daffodils.

  • Some Americans observe the idiotic and unethical tradition of buying bunnies or colored chicks for children as presents. Just dumb to turn living pets into goodie bag gifts. If you want to volunteer or help save a bunny visit the House Rabbit Society in your area.
  • Source: nytimes.com


  • Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, Peeps, and chocolate eggs are popular candies for children and adults to consume. Personally, I love Cadbury creme eggs, that delicious sweet cream filling.
  • Easter Sunday dinner is similar to a Swedish dinner with roast lamb and potatoes.

You can mix the beauty of Swedish food and crazy witch trick-or-treating with the American decorated Easter eggs and egg hunts and have a wonder Easter!

Glad Påsk!

Skiing in Romme, Dalarna & Seeing the Almighty Dalahäst

A couple weeks ago we decided to take a ski bus to Romme to ski for the day. The bus pass includes a ski pass and it’s an economical way to go skiing for the day that’s not a mole hill in Stockholm.

I spent most of the three hour bus ride staring out the window waiting for a blanket of soft snow to cover the landscape. Instead, the further north we went, the less likely for winter wonderland.

Romme, is a small town just 10k south of Borlänge and is in the southern part of Dalarna. Dalarna is one of the northern states and translates to “The Valleys.” People usually tease that the Swedish men who speak the least come from this region.

I also realized when I was on the bus that Happy Hedgehog, the cute store sponsoring the giveaway, was just 10 minutes away from the slopes! We ended up missing each other :( Still, if you haven’t entered the fabulous giveaway, what are you doing reading this article?!

Anyway…here’s to photos!

Sunrise, somewhere near Västerås
Sunrise near Västerås

The beginning of the trees

Slightly icy river
First River Crossing

Glowing trees
Plains and Trees

River with fish scale icing
Icy River

Golden plains. I swear we are moving northwards
The Great Plains of Central Sweden

More Trees! And a touch of snow
Trees in Sweden

I spy the Dalahäst!
Here comes the Dalahäst

The dalahäst!

Back to trees
Trees in Sweden

Another river. Winter is not coming.

Pretty little church
Little Church in the Prairie

Swedish boy on a horse – in the middle of a roundabout …
Swedish boy on a horse

Axeman – in the middle of a roundabout …
Axeman! near Romme, Dalarna, Sweden

Giant blue thing – in the middle of a roundabout … {anyone know what this is?}
Giant Blue Thing, near Romme, Dalarna, Sweden

At last – Romme! The mini ski village

It turns out that I suck at using the button lift (knapplift – which I renamed to knappgök lift) on skis equally as much as on a snowboard. I also sucked at skiing even though my snowboarding was slightly above mediocre. Therefore, a beer was prescribed to calm my nerves.

Now this is how babies sleep in Sweden. Probably illegal in America or some idiot will call child services and the police on you.

At the top of the slope. This was NOT me.
The top of the slope in Romme

Green, red, or black?

I am still questioning whether winter came…
Are you sure it's winter in Dalarna?

Winter did not come.
Winter did not come.

Signs, in case you get lost
Lots of signs!

At an elevation of 138 meters above sea level, the highest slope point of Romme rests at 275 meters
Just 2.4km high

Hmmm, I wonder if the snow on the ground was blasted out by the snow machines to make people feel better about thinking it’s wintertime.


And goodnight…
Goodnight Dalahäst

Homemade Swedish Semlor! {Recipe}

I figured since many of you are not in Sweden for the semlor eating festivity of fettisdagen, I would write a post on making your own semlor.   And if you are in Stockholm, be sure to check out the best semlor in the city.

Dagmar, who blogs at A Cat in the Kitchen, wrote a semlor recipe article a few years and I decided to try it out.   Let me just say, they were delicious!

Semlor are not hard to make but they are labor and time intensive.   My weakness, however, is bread making and I was terrified of a making a double rise bun (similar to lussekatter).   The buns could have stayed in the oven a minute or two less. Overall, my first go at making semlor was a success.

Plus, I learned to make fresh mandelmassa!

I adapted Dagmar’s recipe to make the semlor a bit more nutty in flavor and have a vanilla taste in the cream.

Semlor – makes 12
100g butter
300ml milk
1.5tsp cardamom
50g fresh yeast
a pinch of salt
100ml sugar
1 egg
1.5tsp baking powder
900-1200ml of plain wheat flour (about 540g – 720g)

To brush on the buns
1 egg + a small amount of water

Almond paste
200g blanched almonds
200ml icing sugar
1 drop of bitter almond extract – optional
100ml milk – hot

Whipped Cream
800ml double /whipping cream – cold
100ml or so Powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Making the semlor bread bun - part iMaking the Buns

  1. Melt the butter and combine with the milk. Make sure that the mixture has the right temperature, which is 37 degrees C.

  3. Crumble the yeast in a large bowl or a kitchen aid. Add the milk and egg mixture and stir until the yeast has dissolved.

  5. Add cardamom, sugar, salt, egg, milk, butter and baking powder, and combine.

  7. Begin adding flour, 200-300ml at a time, while you work with the dough. Make sure not to use too much flour.

  9. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and soft. It will have a ‘fluffy’ feeling.

  11. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a slightly damp cloth. Let rise for about 45 minutes.

  13. When the dough has risen (it will not have doubled), knead the dough for a few minutes and add more flour if the bread is sticky.   I only needed enough flour to cover my hands.

  15. Make twelve round balls.   Put them on two baking sheets that are covered with parchment paper.  You want to keep the buns well space from each other because they will double in size.

  17. Cover the buns with a damp cloth and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.

  19. Make an egg wash mix by beating one egg with a couple spoons of water.

  21. Brush the buns with the mixture.

  23. Bake in the oven (225 degrees C) for 8 minutes, make sure not to burn them.

Making the mandelmassa - part iiAlmond paste

  1. Dry roast the blanched almonds on high heat for 10-15 minutes.  Continuously stir them so they do not get burned.

  3. To grind the almonds there are fews options:
    a. Kitchen mill – Ideal, so use it.
    b. Food processor – Grate the almonds in a food processor and then use the food processor knife so that you get a very fine mixture.   Now add the icing sugar and the bitter almond.   Mix some more. Add some drops of water so that the almond paste binds together.

    c. By hand and blender – I smashed the almonds by hand buy taking apart my marble rolling pin and using the end to smash the almonds.   I placed the almonds in a small steel pot, something that could handle the weight and power of marble.


  5. Once the almonds were pulverized into small grains, I added 100ml of powdered sugar and 100ml of hot milk to bind everything.

  7. Transfer this grainy-pasty mix to a blender and blended it for 2-3 minutes.   This works wonders as the paste became smooth and buttery.

  9. Add an additional 100ml of sugar to make the paste nice and sweet.

  11. If the paste gets too thick, you can add a couple spoons of warm milk to thin it down.   Almond paste should be the consistency of a thick jam.

Whipped cream

  1. In a large bowl, hand whip or electric whip the cream for a few minutes.

  3. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whipping.

  5. Be sure NOT to over whip.  The cream should be strong enough to make peaks and be ‘fluffy’ to eat.  I prefer hand whipping as you can feel how structured the cream becomes.

  7. Hand whipping takes about 15-20 minutes.

Assembling the semlor - part iiiAssemble the Buns

  1. Wait for the buns to cool completely.

  3. Cut off a small “lid” on the top-side of the buns. Put the lids aside.

  5. Scoop out the crumbs from the buns, making a small hole. Be sure the hole isn’t too deep!

  7. Fill each bun with about two spoons of the almond paste.

  9. In a pastry bag with a large circle or star tip, fill with whipped cream.

  11. Pipe the cream over the almond mixture, covering the entire bun and going 3-4cm (about 2inches) in height. Who doesn’t love whipped cream on their semlor?

  13. Place the “lids” on top of the whipped cream bun.

  15. Finally, dust with powdered sugar.

Voilà, c’est fini!

Enjoy with a latte or in a bowl with warm milk!

Valentine’s Day {Alla Hjärtans Dag} – You’re Lame

Valentine’s Day in the United States is this overloaded, gift giving holiday invented by the flower, diamond, and chocolate cartels and headed by Hallmark, the godfather of greeting cards.

The benefit for them – they make a lot of money; the benefit to you – you’re stuck in a vicious cycle as a guy to give, give, give some more.

V-Day is a holiday that makes me puke. Men are coerced into buying useless gifts for women they are barely dating. The holiday revolves all around “making her happy” and sexist ideaology.

It is a codified domestic prostitution day: man buys gifts, woman wears skimpy lingerie. Hmmm, what could possibly happen next?!

Now I don’t have a problem with women wearing sexy lingerie or men buying gifts. The issue is doing it on one a single day because society and industry convinces you it is the right and only thing to do.

* Whatever happened to buying roses for your sweetie, guy or girl, when you felt like it?

* Whatever happened to going on a weekend trip, just because you want to with your sweetie?

* Whatever happened to women buying chocolates and roses for their men?

How has a holiday about love turned into a materialistic game for men to be “real men” and buy lavish gifts? And for women to dress super sexy because the way to show your appreciation for gifts is to wear sexy lingerie.

American commercialization happened. Here’s a series of online advertisements from websites in the US. I’m sure you Swedes will find them amusing and insane.

1800 Flowers – MAKE HER HAPPY!

Victoria’s Secret – Expect nothing less from them

Tiffany – For a $20,000 ring, sure, I love you!

Sears – Quite possibly the only store advocating that men can receive gifts too! Sacrilège!!

Kays Jeweler – They never have enough TV ads to hammer in the point

Godiva – Because without chocolate, Valentine’s Day is a useless holiday

De Beers – The master of making a carbon ston

Hallmark Greeting Cards – Seem to be coming to their senses by saying V-day is for everyone, meaning “us”.

Valentine’s Day in School in America
I remember in seventh grade, a girl named Yvette received some 200 helium balloons, dozens of dozen roses, several boxes of chocolates, and a couple dozen teddy bears. It took AND her possy to drop everything off at the school admin desk so she wouldn’t be a “distraction” for the students.

And in seventh grade, boys use all their income to woo and coo a girl who probably doesn’t care they walk the earth. A Shakespeare tragic comedy in the making.

And Valentine’s Day in middle/high school usually means girls are either crying or boasting their new-found riches. I was in the former category as dating was never an option on the table until I was 20. Guys were therefore just friends, and I quite liked it that way. But still, being one of the many people who were not showered with Valentine grams, roses, chocolates, teddy bears, makes you realize how unpopular you really are.

That’s the psychological impact of Valentine’s day: no one can be as popular or well showered with gifts as the next person. I think many of remember having conversations of,
“Oooo, what did he give you for V-day?
Oh, did you hear Becky’s boyfriend gave them a week holiday to Hawaii!
Oh sweetie, it’s okay to not have a valentine, you’ll meet someone special I promise!”


At home, my parents and I always celebrated Valentine’s day together. After all, it was only our little nuclear family in America, so sending me off somewhere for a weekend away from them didn’t make sense.

Even though my dad bought my mom beautiful roses for V-Day, he bought her roses and flowers all year long. When he traveled for work, he would buy us little gifts and even real NY apple pies when coming from NY. He bought mom jewelry whenever she wanted and Dunkin donut’s for me as a treat.

{And of course he bought her things when he was in the dog house}

It was Valentine’s Day every month in our house.

Today, I’m really happy to not have to deal with that shit and I pray Sweden’s little kids don’t get sucked up into a cultural phenomena that men have to buy gifts to prove their “love” and women can demand gifts from any potential boy in their class.

{Though I did torture my husband and tell him he had to buy a valentine gift on our sixth date in three weeks. He bought a full set of lotions and scrubs from The Body Shop. It proved that we are both crazy.}

But tonight, we’re making crepes with friends and drinking a good bottle of champagne and eating treats. Valentine’s day is a holiday for everyone, even our little bunny.

And because I don’t need lame ass roses for my husband to prove his worth.

Three Last Minute Epic Awesome Gifts to Give

It’s countdown time to Christmas.


Can we scream Yayyyy!!?


Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It happens to be around my birthday, which can be a big bummer some years since everyone’s forget. But who cannot resist the decoration! And the food! And the cookies!


If you’re celebrating Christmas on the 24th and opening gifts, you don’t have a lot of time! Suckers. In the interim, I spent a few fab days with Morgan of Your Living City making epic cute Christmas gifts.

They’re easy, they’re cute and they are homemade. You cannot throw away homemade gifts; like Grandma’s sweater.

Teacup Candles

What you need:
Teacups – Perfect time to use the old, mismatched sets.
Candle wax – Buy at any craft store like Jo-Ann Fabrics, Michels or Panduro in Sweden
If you’re in Sweden, it’s cheaper to buy already made candles from Åhlens (blockljus röd, grön, vit, bourgogne) than the A-te Ljusmassa
Wicks – found at any craft store.
1-2 skewer sticks or a pencil you’re willing to part from – to stir wax
Two pots – to use as a double boiler

Melting candle-wax:
Chop the wax into small pieces (1 cm is fine), this is especially important if you want use a blockljus or remaining wax from used candles. I used a very sharp knife to shave all the candles down and place in a small pot.

In a larger pot, fill 1/3 way up with water. Turn the stove on to medium high to bring the water to a low boil.

Put the small pot in the larger pot and ensure the water level is no more than halfway up on the small pot. You do not want to get water in the wax.

This can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to melt all the wax depending on how big your pot is.

While the wax is melting, set each teacup with a wick. The bought wicks are great because they have a metal bottom and will hold weight.

After the wax has melted, pour the hot wax into each teacup, no more than halfway up. After the wax cools, you will have to add more wax since it sinks and contracts.

Finish melting your wax!

Be careful when melting wax. Do not microwave wax and always use a double boiler when melting it on the stove. A double prevents fire and allows for even heating of the smaller container.

Check out Your Living City’s article for more details.

DIY cake tray and teacup candles

Cake Tier Stand
A cake tier stand is another wonderful gift that’s not only homemade but also environmentally friendly. Made from old plates and glasses, you can make a stand that’s as many tiers as you want and in any style: glass, porcelain or even silver.

What you need:
Strong glue
Plates of various sizes
Glasses – these should be at least 4in (9cm) tall so the trays have enough room to hold goodies

Wash and dry all the plates and glasses.

Glue two at a time. That means, glue one plate to one glass and let rest for a 3-4 hours.

When that’s done, you can glue those sets together.

See Your Living City’s post for the full story.

Indian Cooking Class
Run by yours truly, give the gift that keeps on giving. Send your friend, mom, dad, brother, cousin, husband, sambo, wife, dogsitter, secretary, coworker to three nights of Indian food. You’ll cook, you’ll fall in love and you’ll stuff yourself.

Standard class is three nights with 7-9 dishes to learn. Includes a recipe book with 25 recipes. They’re from my mom so you know they’re awesome and delicious.

Custom classes can be organized at a common center or friend’s house, or can be a different number of nights with your favorite Indian dishes.

Contact me for details and pricing. I’ll be checking my mail regularly until the 25th so it’s still time to give something cool to someone you love and love to get a meal from.

Happy holidays!