Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31st - New Years Eve

Amazing how fast 2011 has run by, and in a few hours we will greet 2012 welcome. Spending this New Year's Eve alone - I said no to invitations, as have been working 4 days this week, and need the weekend to relax, since work calls again on Monday as does the monthly MS treatment. Spending it alone however does not imply that I do not do New Years traditions :o)

6:00 PM Queen Margrethe II's annual speach on TV

Change of guards at Amalienborg Castle

Seriously considering if I should go down to see the change of guards, if I am home on New Year's Eve in 2012 since I live 15-walking minutes from the castle.
2011 (just aired)
Noticed last year, that the queens speach to the nation in UK is on Christmas Day - but here we have our queen's speach tonight. A lot of New Years Eve parties start at 6:00 PM where the guests, equipped with a welcome drink, gather before the television sets and watch the queen on tv. 

Many bets are placed regarding the contents of the speach: Will she mention the world's economic situation? World hunger? Some of the nature disasters through the year? Or the typical question at my parent's house: Will she mention the navy/the men at sea?

My New Years Dinner this year: Spicy lobstertail soup with kroepock (prawn crackers). Why have I never made this before? It tastes scrumptious - had two portions - and is fairly easy to make. I made some alterations to the original recipe, and will share it with you in the new year. Come to think of it - this could be an excellent starter if holding a New Year's party. Traditional New Year's dinner in Denmark is steamed cod with potatoes and mustard sauce - I like cod, just not that version of it.

You might notice the glass of bobly next to it - it is ASTI - and is part of my tradition. See champagne is often less stong than redwine, and by drinking the same thing all night and not mixing it with strong drinks, you don't get so wasted New Year's Day - always do this no matter if I am attending a New Year's party or simply staying at home.

11:40 PM Dinner for One

I can almost hear your thoughts now "Didn't she have dinner a couple of hours ago?!" Well this is one of THE most important Danish New Year's Traditions :o) TV is on again with this 15 minute long sketch shot in 1963 (but written back in the 1930's) making everybody laugh or join the dialogue, since we Danes know it very well. Have introduced it to a lot of non-Danish colleagues in the shipping business, at first they are skeptic, but before it ends: they are hooked to. One year the Danish national television chose not to air it: big mistake!! People got very upset and demanded it back. And since most people turn on the TV to hear the bells of Copenhagen Town Hall, it's being aired just before that.


Well just one more absolutely Danish New Year's tradition - the Danish kransekage (wreath cake) which is made of marcipan, eggyolk and flour. Usually they are wreath shaped, and made into small towers, but spending the New Year's alone I went for the smaller version (will most likely not be able to eat both of them).. a very sweet taste but goes well with champagne.

Happy New Year
A prosperous 2012

Monday, December 26, 2011

Me Time

Let's just say, that me-time was needed today, as yesterday's events reminded me, why I have been travelling during Christmas the past two years. Me-time includes lots of Christmas movies, tea, Ben & Jerry ice cream and some Thai style food with the leftover turkey from Christmas Eve.

Have received a lot of Christmas cards this year - some of them I have mentioned on Paper Craft Planet, since they were sent from fellow members over there. However 3 cards stood out a bit - not necessarily because I cherish them more than the rest, that I received.....

From a colleague that usually never creates her own Christmas cards:

From Dori - the first swap partner I had on Fran's monthly teaswap - she has seen my blog about coffee cups (not posting there often, but intend to change that in 2012)

Look at this detail: when I opened the lid, I found a Christmas note a a teasample :o)

From Karen at Meadering...One Moment please, a fellow blogger with MS and also a passion for photography, I got this card:

When folded out it looks like this. Have always admired those cards and now I own one...snowflakes, poinsettias, red, green.... my kind of Christmas :o)

Hope that a lot of you have received a lot of cards from family and old friends, friends you might have met through the internet (blogging, creative sites etc.), colleagues or even from someone you have not heard from in a long time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24th - Christmas

It is time for me to say:
Merry Christmas

The last candle has been lighted today, as we celebrate and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve

From the moment a child opens his or her's eyes today, the impatient question continued over and over again: "Is it night soon?!" To help the parents, the tv stations are airing several kid shows, movies and what have you about Christmas in order to "kill time" for the impatient family members.

If I am in Denmark: I always become Anne-6-years-old at 4pm as I will be in front of the TV watching the annual Disney Christmas show: Mickey Mouse trying to decorate his Christmas tree constantly teased by two wellknown chipmunks, Lady and the Tramp and the Bella Notte seranade, Cinderella getting her nice dress done by the mice and birds, Pinnochio and the list goes on. Did I mention that my older brother finds his inner child too and joins me in front of the tv? *LOL*

The menu of the Christmas dinner variates a bit depending on where in Denmark you live. At my parents' house both the roasted pork and duck are served accompanied by potatoes, sweet potatoes, hot red sliced cabbage, red currant gel and gravy.

Then dessert: ris á la mande - cold rice pudding, with almonds+whipped cream+vanilla, and hot cherry sauce. Most almonds are chopped into small pieces, then some bigger ones to tease and most important: a whole almond. The trick is not to reveal the whole almond until everybody at the table are stuffed due to the hunt of the almond - people are guessing by people's facial expression whether they have the whole almond or not, or asking the cook whether he/she remembered the whole almond or maybe playing the trickster with one of the almost whole almonds saying "Oh, I think I chewed some of the whole almond". The one with the old almond gets a gift - traditionally it is a marcipan pig with a red ribbon, but some families chooses different items as a gift.

We are almost at the great finale of the evening - but first the families gather in a circle around the Christmas tree and goes around singing the Christmas carrols. At first most kids just want to have this over and done with so they can get the presents, but soon it will be them choosing all the Christmas carrols making it seem for the parents as it goes on forever and ever..... the last Christmas carrol is the same in most families: after the first verse the circle is broken and the chain is lead by the one of the youngest famility members dancing/running trough the whole house/appartment visiting almost every room.... when the Christmas tree is finaly reached, then it is time for presents 

All that is left for me to say today in my own language is:

God jul    or    Glædelig jul

Hope you have enjoyed the insigt of some of the Danish Christmas traditions :o)

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23rd - Rice Pudding

Rice pudding with a hvidtøl
The majority of families in Denmark will have rice pudding with small plumb of butter (in the center) and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for dinner tonight. They will make a huge portion so that there will be leftovers - the leftovers are used for the dessert at Christmas dinner tomorrow night, where it is mixed with whipped cream, vanilla and almonds thus becoming ris à la mande. Both rice pudding and ris à la mande taste scrumptious, but my stomach will disown me, if I attemt to eat the dessert - buhu :o(

However there is another use of the rice pudding left overs, called klatkager (plumb cakes), that my stomach does accept. Rice pudding with some eggs, flour and vanilla added and then cooked on a pan just like one would create pancakes, these are just in a smaller version, and the taste resembles pancakes a lot.

Klatkager (plumb cakes) made from leftover rice pudding

Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 22nd - Christmas Spirit

Hamburg, Germany

Bremerhaven, Germany

Rottach-Egern, Germany

Shanghai, China

Copenhagen, Denmark

Nothing beats the possibility to capture some Christmas spirit with a camera - all captured in 2011 :o)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Gary Larson-ish Christmas

When B mentioned the Christmas song "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" the other day, my mind immediately went over to TheFarSide cartoons by Gary Larssoon (how I miss those *SIGH*) and suddenly remembered this mug that I purchased close to 20 years ago.

It makes me laugh even more looking at it now compared to when I puchased it, since it was before becoming a frequent flyer. Think this is just an example of my sometimes quirky humor and yet it is soo me :o)

December 21st - Christmas Books

Small selection of my Christmas books

Christmas books :o) Love them and have so many of them now, that I can not re-read all of them during the month of December like I used to do. A timeless classic is always Charles Dickens and despite the fact, that it has been translated to Danish (my native language), I still prefer to read it in English.

Bookmark that I received earlier today from Josie, whom I got to know via PaperCraftPlanet

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th - Honningkagehjerte (Honey cake Heart)

For me, Christmas is not approaching until I have eaten a honningkagehjerte (honey cake heart).... and it has to be one with a glossy picture of Santa.

The actual size of this one is the size of my palm, but they come in bigger and smaller sizes also. For me this is the size it has to be. Basically is a honey cake covered with dark chocolate and it is scrumptious. I only eat one per year, making it that much more special to eat. Besides we are swamped in so many types of Christmas cookies during the month of December, so one better not eat too many of just one kind :o)

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19th - Christmas Music

This little guy sings "Jingle Bells" when I shake his hand - had him for a couple of years now, and he is always earning his spot somewhere in my appartment.

Just a few of my Chrismas CD's (Bridget you might spot something that will make you scream if you look closer *LOL*). They been played many times during CreativeSaturdays with one of my best friends, simply to get us into holiday spirit, if we had a Christmas card theme.

Just like I shared, what some of my favourite Christmas movies are, I will share some of my favourite Christmas songs.... and this list is not close to being complete:

Jingle Bells
Bing Crosby: White Christmas
Wham: Last Christmas
Woody Herman: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Deck the Halls
Silent Night
Chris Rea: Driving Home for Christmas
Frank Sinatra: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

So what are your favourite Christmas songs?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18th - 4th Sunday of Advent

4th and last Advent ligth was lit today telling us, that Christmas is just around the corner. Sadly the weather forecast says "No white Christmas this year" *sigh* for once I hope they are wrong.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17th - Æbleskiver (apple slices)

Another Danish tradition: æbleskiver. One should think, that they contains slices of apples, but that was in the old days. The best way to describe them is a similary to pancakes, just fluffed since they are made in a special æbleskive pan and you dip them in jam when eating them. At Christmas functions they are often served with glögg, the Scandinavian version of mulled wine.

In the period up to Christmas you can buy them frozen, and either heat them up in the oven, in the microwave or in the special pan - the best result you get when using the pan.

Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16th - Christmas Beer

In 1981 Tuborg launched the Tuborg Julebryg (Tuborg Christmas Brew), and it has almost become an "institution" amongst our Danish Christmas Tradition. With its volume of 5,6% I for obvious reasons did not taste it until 10 years later - however I was familiar with the commercial :o) It is one of my favourite beers.

These beers are currently in my kitchen - the two middle ones have a vol of less than 2% and is a hvidtøl (also known as nisseøl.), that are consumed well with our risengrød (has some similarities with rice pudding), that we have a lot during the month of December with a dash of butter and cinnamon/sugar. The beer to the far right is a Christmas ale, that fits our Christmas dinners and Christmas lunches and is the stongest with vol 7,5%

December Tea Swap 2011 - Part 2

When I weaved heart #35, I knew that I would use this fold on the December Tea Swap, that Fran called out in November. I guessed that the thme would be about Christmas, and the colors she announced were: red, gren, whilte, silver and gold - did not use the gold, but included the others. Have use the Bugaboo digital stamp a lot lately, but it is so versatile, as I believe the cuppas can contain the hot drink of your desire.

The box template was found on Waltzing Mouse Stamps frebie section, and the red on the box (not the heart) is a reused red paper bag - inside I put a bag of Pickwick's Winter Tea, one bag of Fredsted's Christmas Tea and added a bonus bag Fredsted's Earl Grey, as I found out that the receiver, Kim, loves Earl Grey.

Fran actually gave us the option of replacing the card with handmade tags, and figured, that these tags could cound as handmade, since the photos, have been captured by me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Tea Swap 2011 - Part 1

Today I received the December tea swap from Kim, a lovely Christmas themed card, with a lot of inspiring details. Lace and ribbon - I rarely use them, as I can't quite grasp them, but after having seen Kim's use of both, I got new inspiration to try on some future cards - in awe of the use of red and white.

Need to find myself a die, that can cut Christmas tree branches like these (maybe next year)... the die sort of reminds me of a bird's foodprint and yet reminds me about what they are: tree branches. So not only did I receive some tea to try out, but also a card full of inspiration.

Thank you Kim :o)

December 15th - Fröbel Star

Albeit the Fröbel star originates in Germany, many Danes know how to fold this star and often believe, that this is a Danish tradition - I myself did not know about the origin until February this year. In most homes you will see various versions of the folded paper star: One year my mum folded 2 golden stars for every window in the house and it looked great, and everytime a car passed the house the light from the cards reflected in the windows/stars making them twinkle.

I just realised a couple of hours ago, that my interest in papercraft actually dates back to the age of 5, when I learned how to weave a simple heart and to fold Fröbel star.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 14th - Poinsetias

Normally I would have bought at least one poinsettia on December 1st, but travel was marked into the calendar, so waited until yesterday to buy them. Have to have at least one poinsettia every year and this year was to be no exeption.

Lately my head has been spinning a bit about Chistmas songs - we have various plants/trees etc. that they sing about: Christmas tree, misteltoe, holly etc. But do you recall any soongs, where they sing about a poinsettia??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13th - Saint Lucia

...or perhaps you know her as Saint Lucy?

For us her name symbolises light ("lys") during these short, dark winter days (sunrises about 9am and decends about 4pm) which is why you a lot of places will see young girls/ladies all dressed in white gowns holding a lit candle in their hands singing a praise for Saint Lucia while walking slowly. The girl in front of the cortege is wearing a green wreath with 4-5 lights on her head depicting Saint Lucia.

In Denmark the tradition dates back to WWII: inspired by the Swedish tradition, the Danish people started this as a silent protest against the Germans, who occupied our country for little more than 5 years.

Whooops how did my picture end up here ;o)

At my old school, it was tradition for all the girls in the 5th grade to be part of a Saint Lucia cortege walking through the school ending up at a common room - when we reached the common room the whole school started singing Christmas carrols. Most Danish schools have their traditions on these day - all with Saint lucia corteges.

Apologies for the poor photo quality of the Saint Lucia cortege - pictures taken mid 80s by someone not very interested in photography - and recently scanned in order to get them in "digital" version.


Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12th - Starbucks Annual Christmas Mugs

Guessing this picture reveals how many years, I have been collecting the annual Christmas mug from Starbucks - just got the 2011 (the one to the right) edition earlier today. Did a post on Starbucks' Christmas Mugs last year too, which just seems to underline my facination about them.

December 10th - Christmas Movies

During the season of Christmas I always scout the tv-programme for Christmas movies - do not have the time to see them all, but they are running in the background when I am home.... there is just something about them that gets me in the holiday spirit every time.

"Home Alone" - yes this is one of my favourites - if you are tired of Kevin MacAlister, then don't see the movie, but let it run in the background so you'll hear the music :o) I either hear it or see it, but is is on my Favourite Christmas Movie List.

Other titles on my list:

White Christmas
Snow Wonder
Snow Globe
The Grinch
Miracle on 34th Street
The Holiday
Love Actually
Home Alone 2
A Christmas Carrol (especially the Patrick Stewart version)

So what is your favourite(s) when it comes to Christmas movies?

Due to travelling, this post is late

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11th - 3rd Sunday of Advent

We got the advent light tradition from our Swedish neighbours, so what is more appropriate than this iron candle holder from IKEA with mooses runing around the candles.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9th - Christmas Cookies

These 3 magazine covers arrived at my place within one week - first one is a weekly magazine for women, and the last two, the free magazines of two major supermarket chains. Made me crave for some of the local traditional Christmas cookies, but since I am not going to be home much during December, I have decided against making my own batch of cookies.

So what is traditional Danish? I am giving you the Danish names - just try to google them, and you might get some good descriptions/recipes:
  • Klejner
  • Vanille kranse
  • Pebernødder
  • Honninghjerter