Thursday, December 14, 2017

Swedish dishcloths: A better way to do the dishes

What we love most about Scandinavian design is that it is not all about looks; these are items that are meant to be used and admired every day. So we weren’t surprised when we learned that the Swedes had discovered a more stylish and serviceable way to do dishes!

No one likes sponges. That’s just a fact. They’re boring and smelly, they need to be replaced regularly, and aren’t environmentally friendly. Enter the dry sponge, more commonly called the Swedish dishcloth, to differentiate it from all of the regular fabric kitchen dishcloths out there. They were invented in 1949 by engineer Curt Lindquist, who discovered that a mix of cellulose (made from wood fiber) and cotton could absorb about 15 times its own weight.

Swedish dishcloths make a great ecological substitute for the tired old plastic sponge. They are 7 x 8 inches (17 x 20 cm), and get soft when wet. They are comparable to a super-thick paper towel, more like cloth than sponge. Swedish dishcloths can be used in place of sponges and paper towels, and can be rinsed and re-used, or put in the dishwasher or washing machine for a more thorough cleaning. They’re made from all natural materials and last for up to a year—that’s a lot of sponges and paper towels you won’t need to buy!

Swedish dishcloths have been popular in Scandinavia for years, but are only finally becoming known in the United States. FJORN carries Swedish dishcloths from Klippan, Viskaform by Ekelund Weavers, and Pappelina, all with bright, bold Scandinavian patterns that will liven up your kitchen cleanup.

We’ve even got an entire collection of festive Swedish dishcloths for the holidays! These bright kitchen accessories make a great stocking stuffer.



Friday, December 18, 2015

Late Night Pancakes

When I was six, Grandma Astrid came to live with us full time. I have had the misfortune of being a poor sleeper my entire life. I find it difficult to fall asleep and difficult to stay asleep. My other siblings slept like logs every night. An hour or so after bedtime, I’d wander out to the kitchen where Grandma Astrid spent most of her time. She didn’t seem to sleep much. Not one for too many words, she’d pull a chair over to the counter and I’d knead bread dough with her in silence, or make pancake batter, or pit cherries, or whatever project she had going.

After I had started yawning again, she’d make hot milk with honey. She’d turn the gas burner on and melt a bit of butter into the cast iron pancake pan that she had. It had seven rings to make seven thin crepe-like pancakes. The batter would hiss very quietly as she spooned a bit of batter into each ring and then deftly swirled the pan to coat the bottom of each ring. As the pancakes cooked she’d flip each one with her thumb, somehow not burning herself. She’d place them on my special plate that had a picture of Gonzo the muppet on it and squeeze lemon and sprinkle sugar on them.

I’d crawl back into bed with butter still on my fingers.

Cast Iron Swedish Pancake Pan

Swedish Pancakes

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup whole milk
3 eggs
pinch of salt
optional: zest of one orange or lemon, pinch of cinnamon, or a ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the eggs and flour together until smooth. Add the melted butter and milk slowly while whisking to form a smooth batter. Add the pinch of salt and any optional ingredients. Let batter rest 30 minutes (can be kept in the refrigerator overnight if you wish to prepare it the night before).

Heat Swedish pancake griddle over medium-high heat with a bit of butter in each ring. Add a tablespoon of batter to each ring and swirl pan to evenly distribute. Flip pancakes after about 2 minutes, when they have started to brown a bit. Cook on the second side for a minute or so.

Serve with sugar and lemon, or with lingonberry jam!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Just in Time for Christmas: Fjorn Scandinavian’s 2015 Gift Guide

That familiar seasonal rush is upon us -- time is getting tight, and if you are anything like me, you’ve possibly spent more time putting up the Christmas decorations and choosing the Christmas dinner menu that actually filling up those stockings with gifts. Even if you are a present-warrior who begins preparing in July, there are sure to be a few people who you haven’t found the right thing for! Let us help with the Fjorn Scandinavian 2015 Gift Guides!

For the hard working woman in your life, you can’t go wrong with this iconic pattern beautifully hand painted onto an Iittala Rörstrand Mon Amie Tea Cup. A classic in the world of Scandinavian design, it’s bound to be a classic on her desk as she finishes another project. A generous seventeen ounces, it’s functional but at the same time ever so easy on the eyes. Find more gifts for her here!

And for that constantly good-humored fellow? Make his morning routine a bit softer and more comfortable with a shaving mug and hand-pulled shaving brush. This beautiful black concrete shaving bowl from Iris Hantverk has a fitted lid with a notch for the brush, making a luxurious lather both easy to whip up and easy to stash away when done. We also love Iris Hantverk for their support of visually-impaired artisans who manufacture these products. Check out more gifts for him here!
For the kids in your life, a Danish Pixie Playhouse is the perfect place for imagination to come to life. Or, this Danish Palace Guard Indoor Bowling Set is sure to burn off some of that energy Christmas Day! See all of our ideas for kids here.

Most of us have a friend-family in addition to our biological families -- ours celebrates with dinners and afternoon get-togethers in the weeks approaching Christmas. While we’re always good with a bottle of wine or some flowers, I like to up the hostess gift a notch during the Holidays -- as a group, we don’t do presents, but it’s nice to throw a bit of holiday cheer at those people that help you carry out your old water heater or weed your tomatoes while you are on vacation. Have a look at our ideas for gifts for the home.

Happy Hunting and check out all of our great gifts at Fjorn Scandinavian!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Keepsake Ornaments!

Maileg Pixies, ready to defend your tree!

It’s not a secret that we love Christmas around here at Fjorn. The patient rituals of preparation and anticipation just feel so right as Winter comes. One of our favorite traditions is unwrapping the “special” box of ornaments for the Christmas tree. We’ve got regular decorations for the tree, too -- mirrored balls and candy canes and popcorn garlands -- but the real stars are the special ornaments.

Some were made by our kids and nieces and nephews -- often strange blobs of modelling clay painted bright colors, or macaroni-errata that is loved because we love the person who glued it together. These are hung first.

Following is the jumble that has been collected in twenty-five years of decorating our own Christmas tree -- ornaments bought at Christmas markets in snowy lands, the ones given to us as gifts by grandparents and friends, memorial ornaments, the truly odd Star Wars ornament given to us by a hardcore fan babysitter.

March on, tin soldiers!
Some we bought for ourselves because we liked the look of pressed tin ornaments one year. Others because they were simply the ugliest things we could find at the souvenir shop. Then there are the ornaments that we love because they are beautiful, or whimsical, or just fun. Together, they are probably not going to make the cut for a professional photo shoot of the perfect Christmas tree, but for us they tell a story of Christmas spent together remembering where we came from.

Check out some of our favorite ornaments at Fjorn Scandinavian -- we guarantee that you’ll find something to compliment that macaroni-monster or commemorative Lillehammer 1994 figurine.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent: Now It’s Time to Prepare!

Georg Jensen Season Candleholder

ferm LIVING Candle Holder
As you fly from North America to Copenhagen, a few hours out of Chicago it’s already the wee hours of the morning. The flight passes close to the southern tip of Iceland. In early December, it’s not uncommon to look towards the arctic and see the Northern Lights, shimmering veils of soft blue and green hues seemingly suspended from nothing.

Karen Blixen Advent Candle Holder
After another hour or so, the lights in the cabin will come on, and breakfast will be served, and we will start busy preparation for our arrival. These few minutes, between busy periods of preparation and action, are beautiful stolen moments, and some of my favorites. I’ve stayed awake every time I make the December journey, ever since my Grandma Astrid showed me the Northern Lights on our first trip back to Scandinavia.
Georg Jensen Grethe Meyer Candelabra

As Thanksgiving rolls to Christmas, one of the best traditions of the season is often overlooked: Advent. Advent counts the four Sundays in preparation for Christmas. In Scandinavian homes, four candles are laid out on the table, and one more is lit every Sunday. As the weeks progress, anticipation of the coming holiday builds. I can remember as a child waiting all afternoon as the sky darkened, until at dinner we could light the candles and open another door on the advent calendar. These are stolen moments, too: a few peaceful minutes of contemplations and gratitude in the midst of the busy end of the year.

Wooden Christmas Pig

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Last Chance for Fjorn's Winter Sale!

It's the last day of Fjorn's Winter Sale! 20% off on all Iittala, Arabia, Royal Copenhagen, and Rörstrand -- grab something beautiful before they all fly away, at

Monday, November 30, 2015

Two Days Left to Save!

Only TWO more days in our Winter Sale! 20% off Royal Copenhagen, Iittala, Arabia, and Rörstrand, with free shipping on orders over $95. Don't miss out!