Friday, July 13, 2018

Christmas in July!


Still wearing shorts and hitting the sunscreen hard? Good, it’s the middle of summer and everyone should be outside enjoying it! But, if like many of us, you need a brief respite from all that summer living, head inside, pull the shades against the sun, and dream of a winter wonderland for an hour! It’s time for the Fjørn Christmas in July event! Royal Copenhagen as just released hand-painted holiday pieces for this coming holiday season -- and we’ve put together some special extras to go along with them.
Royal Copenhagen started as the only porcelain factory in Denmark, manufacturing fine china products for the Danish monarchy (and the royal families across Europe). The quality of their products grew, as did their reputation across Europe for hand painted, finely crafted china. Every year since 1908, Royal Copenhagen has created a Christmas plate featuring an annual design -- the original plate has now been joined by a cup and saucer set, a “drop” (think Christmas tree ornament) and a porcelain bell. These hand painted pieces are now collector’s items and cherished family favorites around the world.

Bing & Grøndahl started making annual Christmas plates even before Royal Copenhagen -- in 1895. Now owned by the same company, Bing & Grøndahl also produces exquisite china, and their annual plates, cups, and ornaments are no exception. The hand painted designs are beautiful. This year's plate features a fox in a still and snow meadow, and is sure to become a family favorite.
To accompany these pieces of art, Fjørn has also put together an array of holiday items at a great price to help you get a jump start on Christmas preparations! There is the adorable Father Christmas from Kay Bojesen -- this handmade wooden figure keeps us laughing the whole holiday season (seen above!). Also check out these traditional wooden ornaments from all across Scandinavia, perfect stocking stuffers or a great way to decorate a holiday wreath. We are also featuring the best candles we’ve ever found: Liljeholmens and Kanalljus, both crafted in Sweden (and available at a great discount!)
Even if for only an hour, make yourself a mug of glögg (Swedish mulled wine -- maybe serve it over ice this time of year?), put on your Santa hat, and make some preparations while the time is right -- our Christmas in July event! Check out out online at fjorn.com, or come to our beautiful space in sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea, California!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Pappelina plastic rugs: are we sure about that?



The current debate over plastics in the environment might give one pause in thinking about purchasing more plastic. Plastic disposal is a big environmental problem. The bigger discussion shouldn’t be just about plastic: it must be about product lifecycle design. The lifecycle of any item that is manufactured for single use has different concerns than a product that is used for decades (or longer). A plastic sack that carries a few groceries can take hundreds of years to decompose -- this clearly is a poor material choice for a disposable item that could be replaced with reusable or more readily compostable materials!



Pappelina uses only ethically-produced, environmentally-responsible materials. At the most basic, rugs are made by weaving lengthwise fibers (warp) around widthwise fibers (weft). Normally, the weft provides the color, pattern, and texture of the rug -- Pappelina uses the same process (see more here below in a very cool video!) Pappelina weave fibers are produced from pure polyester, manufactured in Germany. The weft is produced from pure PVC ribbons, made in Sweden from virgin materials. Both PVC and polyester are endlessly recyclable -- meaning that excellent quality new fibres can be produced from old materials -- something of which not all plastic materials are capable.

 
 
The best way to recycle is to never have to recycle; building products that last a lifetime means that the energy and materials that are consumed never need to be consumed again. With some simple care (like washing and air drying), Pappelina rugs can last a lifetime. When that lifetime is finished, they can be directly turned into new products.

Award-winning Pappelina designs are manufactured to last and will remain a stylish addition to your home for decades. Right now, during the Fjorn Hello Midsummer sale, you can get your favorite designs on sale, with free shipping. Come see them yourself at our beautiful shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, or online at fjorn.com

So yes, we are sure about Pappelina plastic rugs!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Brush Up on Iris Hantverk

The humble brush seems like the opposite of kitchen luxury, but hold a brush made by Iris Hantverk and you will understand that true value is in function. Iris Hantverk products are handmade in Sweden, by visually-impaired craftspeople -- an interesting twist from an interesting organization.

All of Iris Hantverk brushes are handmade.

The brushes are beautifully made: wooden handles, natural fiber bristles, all assembled with great care. Does it seem crazy to spend as much as a bottle of wine on a dish brush? It won’t once you start using it. The wooden handle and stiff (but not-too-stiff) horsehair bristles on the Long Handle Dish Brush make for easy cleaning of last night's leftovers or a bowl sticky with bread dough.

The Long Handled Dish Brush

We love how these brushes hold soap suds, making it easy to wash a whole sink of dishes without constant re-soaping. The Pan Scrubber has thick, stiff fibres drawn into an easy to hold wooden handle that removes baked-on residue from pans with ease, while the soft bristles of the Table Brush make removing crumbs from the table cloth or flour from the counter top a joy. Their sturdy Bench Scraper and delicate bristle Pastry Brush make handy kitchen partners to any baker.

Love baking? Love these kitchen helpers! From top: counter brush, pastry brush, bench scraper.

In addition to kitchen supplies, Iris Hantverk has a whole collection of brooms, brushes, and dustpans. All of their wet brushes will last for at least a year with a bit of care (all you have to do is lay them bristle down to dry when done with use) and their dry brushes and brooms will last a lifetime.

The original factory building as operated by De blindas förening

Iris Hantverk supports visually-impaired craftspeople by providing access to employment and training. A private company since 2012, it was formed from a cooperative that was supported by the Swedish government that started in 1870 under the name "De blindas förening". Iris Hantverk continues to enable artisans with sight-limitations to earn a living and practice a valuable craft.

Check out our full line of Iris Hantverk products at fjorn.com, and during our Hello Midsummer sale enjoy special sale prices and free shipping!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Glad Midsommar!

Midsommar dancing. Photo: Calle Eklund
At the time when the days are at their longest and the nights the shortest, all of Scandinavia rolls out to celebrate Midsommar. A festival that marks the beginning of summer holidays, Midsommar has its roots in a celebration of the summer equinox. The sun is warm, winter is a far away memory, and the wildflowers are in bloom. From the Atlantic fjords of Norway all the way across to the Baltic beaches in Finland, huge pyres are built for a midnight bonfire. In villages and town squares across Sweden, people gather in the morning to drink coffee, collect wildflowers and erect the maypole. Biscuits are baked and potatoes scrubbed for the afternoon meal, and everyone gets ready for an evening of beer and schnapps and music. In some places, folklore has it that young women collect seven different kinds of wildflowers to hide under their pillows so that they will dream of their future husbands.

A bonfire in western Norway. Photo: Asmund Heimark
It’s an evening meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, enjoying the summer warmth (but don’t forget your wollens: it’s still Scandinavia) and the camaraderie built around fire and food. On the typical smörgåsbord is pickled herring (often served with rye bread, salted butter, and creme fraiche), cheeses, roasted salmon, boiled new potatoes with dill, and maybe some elk or venison if you have a hunter in the family. The efterrätt (dessert) is fresh strawberries, having just come into season around the time of Midsommar, eaten by themselves or heaped onto a sponge cake and lashed with heavy cream.
Cured salmon and new potatoes, and a beer, of course.
After dinner is a time for music and dancing, be it traditional folk music around a maypole, ballroom dancing on a stage by a lake, or friends around a campfire with a guitar. In every Scandinavian country there are drinking songs (the racier the better!) that are sung as the bottle of akvavit or schnapps is passed around. As the hour grows late (but the sky stays light, or depending on how far north you are, it remains daytime), one thing you will notice is your fellow revellers are not too interested in sleep. As one Norwegian friend noted: “Sleep? That’s what you do in winter.”

Come in and say hi!

 Check out fjorn.com during our Midsommar Sale to lay the perfect smörgåsbord or get your garden ready for a party -- or stop into our store at the Pine Inn in sunny Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Glad Midsommar!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A visit to the Pappelina Mill in Sweden

A trip to see where Pappelina rugs are made starts with a train journey out of Stockholms Centralstation. The sleek regional train pulled out into the bright summer morning, the green suburbs of northern Stockholm quickly giving way to woodlands. After changing to a smaller train, and then yet a smaller train (with a few cups of strong Swedish coffee to keep us going), we arrived in the province of Dalarna. 


Lake Smalsjön, Dalarna


Pappelina has been making rugs here since shortly after Lina Rickardsson returned from studies in the US. Lina set out to create modern rugs with stylish designs that still incorporated traditional weaving techniques. As she developed her different styles of rugs, she stumbled upon something special -- using high-quality plastic ribbons, woven on traditional looms, she developed beautiful, durable, weatherproof rugs. 




As Pappelina expanded, they stayed true to Lina's original vision of a quality brand, manufactured in Sweden. All of the materials are sourced from the EU, and Pappelina ensures that everything they use is sustainably sourced. Pappelina rugs are manufactured in a family-owned mill in central Sweden, helping to keep this traditionally important craft alive in Dalarna. The result is delightful! We were given a tour of the weaving floor, and got to see the looms in action (now with computer assist, even for these old wooden looms!).


Weavers at work!


Thanks for the visit, Pappelina! 




These beautiful and durable rugs are all available at fjorn.com -- check them out online or in person at our store in the Pine Inn in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pappelina Rugs: Making the outdoors more comfortable


Pappelina has been traditionally weaving non-traditional materials since 1999, always with an eye to create rugs that are simple, stylish, and functional. Lina Rickardsson returned from studying in the USA in 1999 and turned her lifelong interest in weaving into a business. She started weaving linen rugs on a classic loom in her hometown. In a bit of serendipity, Lina found some plastic ribbons that had been used decades before in an attempt to weave a plastic rug. She took these ribbons and wove them using the same traditional method she used for her linen creations, and a new product was born.


Lina’s original design has expanded to several styles of rugs, all woven in Sweden on traditional looms, with ecologically-produced materials sourced from Sweden and Germany. Pappelina has continued to focus on simple, stylish, and functional rugs, in addition to adding other woven items to their offerings. Pappelina plastic rugs are perfect for indoor or outdoor use: durable, waterproof (but still allowing for water to pass through them), and easily washable. The designs and colors are fresh and current, letting your poolside, patio and porch pop.


 Check out Pappelina rugs from Fjorn Scandinavian -- either online, or at our store in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Stock up for summer now!

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.